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Old 06-14-2009, 11:37 AM
 
Location: NY
1,416 posts, read 3,422,247 times
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Default How to photograph something framed behind glass??

I have three framed (behind regular clear glass) items that I want to sell on either eBay or Craigslist, but for the life of me I simply cannot get a decent photograph of any of them because of reflections from the glass.

All the items have been professionally mounted and framed with sealed backs, and one of them is a fragile antique medieval manuscript page, so disassembling them in order to remove the glass is not an option.

I have a Nikon CoolPix digital camera with the flash turned off but no matter what kind of lighting, lighting-source postioning, and camera angles I have tried, I still get so much reflection of the surroundings that it makes the item look terrible.

How do professional photographers get such clear photos of behind-glass items with no reflections? Please share any hints, tips or tricks you can think of.... many thanks!
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Old 06-14-2009, 11:45 AM
 
Location: Lemon Grove, CA USA
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Usually a good light source and no flash will do it for me.
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Old 06-14-2009, 12:01 PM
 
Location: Dallas, TX
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Ideal would be to use a circular polarizer but you camera probably doesn't have threads. You can try to achieve similar effect using a polarized sunglass, although it is likely to be trial and error.
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Old 06-14-2009, 12:24 PM
 
Location: Wyoming
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The glass will reflect just like a mirror, so what you need to do is eliminate anything that can reflect light. I'll assume you want a direct frontal shot of the frame, so you'll want the camera directly in front of it, not tilted in any way. A tripod is about the only way to manage this. Plan on it being directly in front, with the lens at the same height as the center of the picture, and use a little zoom. A long lens is better than a short one for this.

I'd light it with two lights placed the same height as the center of the picture and at 45 degrees from it. If you have any kind of reflectors, position them so they direct all the light at the pictures. If you don't have reflectors, maybe you can make some out of white cardboard or tinfoil. The goal here is to get light on the pictures but keep the rest of the room dark.

But that won't be completely possible. Light will bounce off your picture, the frame, probably the wall around the picture, etc., and it'll light up the back wall, the camera, the tripod, yourself, etc., and those things, if in front of the glass, will show up as reflections. So, what you'll likely need to do is hang a dark cloth (like black) in front of the camera with a hole in it to shoot through. If the cloth is big enough and the lens hole small enough, you should have no problems. Remember, NOTHING should be in front of this cloth.

Pros who do a lot of this probably have a studio with black walls. I only have one studio, and it has white walls, so the above method is what I've used many times. I also use polarizer filters over my lights and on my lens, but that shouldn't be necessary for eBay pictures if you follow the above steps. If you happen to have a polarizer, use it.

Here's a little illustration. Let me know if you don't understand any of this.

Good luck.

http://www.photoz.net/no_reflections.jpg (broken link)

Last edited by WyoNewk; 06-14-2009 at 01:11 PM..
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Old 06-14-2009, 03:20 PM
 
Location: "The Sunshine State"
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A well lit room with the light above and behind you. No flash. I took some a while back like that. A flash will reflect like a mirror, also any light to the side of the pics will cause reflections.
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Old 06-14-2009, 09:37 PM
 
Location: Wyoming
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Blondie621 View Post
A well lit room with the light above and behind you. No flash. I took some a while back like that. A flash will reflect like a mirror, also any light to the side of the pics will cause reflections.
Only if that sidelight falls onto what's being reflected (camera, photographer, tripod, back wall). A "well lit" room will do the same thing. If it reflects light (anything that's not black) and it's in front of the glass, it'll be reflected.
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Old 06-16-2009, 08:21 AM
 
Location: NY
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Thanks so much for all the replies! At one point I did try hanging a dark blue (almost black) bath towel across from the framed art but of course as soon as I placed my camera in front of it, THAT got reflected! It never occurred to me to do the cutting-a-hole thing!

I'll go to the local fabric store and buy some cheap black cotton; the only challenge is finding a way to hang it at a workable distance from where the art is placed.

Thanks again!
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Old 04-18-2013, 09:18 PM
 
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My alternative method is to place the object almost flat on a chair near a window, so that it is being well lit. Hopefully you have a flat white roof, which will be reflected in the photo. Rather than be directly above the photo, I take the photo, usually with a small amount of zoom, from just below the photo so that the camera is not reflected. Of course, the image is now trapezoidal rather than square ie /_\ but that is easily corrected in PhotoShop or similar applications. The one thing to watch for of course is that you might blur part of the image since one part of the object will now be closer to the camera than the other. Using a small amount of zoom seems to reduce this effect.
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Old 04-24-2013, 10:36 PM
 
Location: Where Trolls get BBQ'd
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Never tried it but a photography instructor told me a light coating of hair spray will stop the reflection. Now the question is can you remove the hair spray without any damage to the said work?
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Old 05-28-2013, 02:59 AM
 
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i know that when capture a glass photo flash light is off .......but some camera are not best work with out flish light and some lance is not work well done ...i have sony WX7 camera .
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