photographing plexiglass (no kidding)

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by Cat, Sep 13, 2004.

  1. Cat

    Cat Guest

    This is my first post of any kind to any photography group so please
    be patient. I need to take photos of plexiglass product display
    stands.

    I take product photos for a manufacturing company. I use a Coolpix
    995, 2 250W static studio lights and a white tent.

    Most of my photos are of faucets - highly reflecting. I manage alright
    although in future posts, I hope this group will help me improve.

    Right now, I have 6 stands to photograph, They sit on a shelf a
    display a faucet. So, they are made of clear plexiglass and have
    predrilled holes. I need to have them in my tent so I get no
    background. But, they disappear. The edges are impossible to find and,
    of course, they look white.

    I need some suggestions on exposure, light placement..... anything at
    all that might actually produce a realistic looking photo. Thanks
     
    Cat, Sep 13, 2004
    #1
    1. Advertising

  2. Just guessing...as I have yet to do a job like this...but the tent is to
    remove shadows and reflections....and with plexi that is all you will have
    to show in the photo. Try this set-up. Curved white card for
    background....glass at 15 degrees away....lights far wide...this should
    prevent reflections but for the edges. And keep shadows far behind.

    See if you can get a book from a competitor and see what you can tell from
    their work. See what edges reflect.
     
    Gene Palmiter, Sep 13, 2004
    #2
    1. Advertising

  3. Cat

    Bert Hyman Guest

    (Cat) wrote in
    news::

    > I need some suggestions on exposure, light placement..... anything at
    > all that might actually produce a realistic looking photo. Thanks


    Inject a ->little UV to make the plexiglass fluoresce blue?
    Use a black background?

    --
    Bert Hyman | St. Paul, MN |
     
    Bert Hyman, Sep 13, 2004
    #3
  4. Cat

    Hunt Guest

    In article <>, says...
    >
    > (Cat) wrote in
    >news::
    >
    >> I need some suggestions on exposure, light placement..... anything at
    >> all that might actually produce a realistic looking photo. Thanks

    >
    >Inject a ->little UV to make the plexiglass fluoresce blue?
    >Use a black background?
    >
    >--
    >Bert Hyman | St. Paul, MN |


    The black background is the best way to go. What you have is a white object (
    clear showing the white tent, and then shades of very light grey, kinda' like
    a shot of a polar bear eating vanila ice cream in a blizzard. If your company
    insists on a whte background, then going line-art, rather than photography
    would solve the problem. Besides the UV mentioned, you might want to get
    polarizing gels for your lights, and a polarizing filter for the camera. Plex,
    when under stress will show some interesting patterns when polarized light is
    upon it. This, however, might well be too "arty" for some marketing types. One
    additional note, the cut edges of the plex should be your highlight area, and
    the flat portions rendered in tones of grey. You could also use colored gels
    for the product, but again "arty" rears its ugly head.

    Good luck,
    Hunt
     
    Hunt, Sep 13, 2004
    #4
  5. Cat

    JeffTaite Guest

    On 13 Sep 2004 14:03:58 GMT, Bert Hyman <> wrote:

    > (Cat) wrote in
    >news::
    >
    >> I need some suggestions on exposure, light placement..... anything at
    >> all that might actually produce a realistic looking photo. Thanks

    >
    >Inject a ->little UV to make the plexiglass fluoresce blue?
    >Use a black background?


    Along with that tip, I might suggest a similar one. I do some
    photomicrography. Various lighting methods are used to induce colors
    and shades into perfectly transparent specimens of varying
    densities. You might try adding intense, narrowly focused, colored
    key-lights to light the plexiglass from within. Providing for
    brightly lit colored edges as the light becomes entrapped within the
    layers of plexiglass and spills out the edges. Keep the path of the
    colored lights out of the view of the camera (both their entry and
    exit paths) but passing through the clear plastic shelving. I will
    use up to 4 to 6 different contrasting hues of light to refract off
    of, and through, clear micro-crystals to show their facets and
    surfaces this way. Snowflakes being one of the more interesting
    subjects to photograph with this method. 6 contrasting colors
    symmetrically showing off their intricate microscopic structures.

    Another method is "dark-field illumination", where the light paths
    are set up outside of the field of view (the main field of view
    being completely black), but the light paths pass through the
    transparent subject, lighting it from within. Which is similar to
    the above suggestion.

    Both methods rely on the refractive properties of the subject, and
    keeping the varying light sources out of the field of view. Except
    for what might be trapped and refracted by the subject.

    One thing to keep in mind when using these methods: your clear
    subject will have to be impeccably clean. Any fingerprints, dust,
    smears, etc. will show up, they provide something for the trapped
    light to "catch on" (for lack of a better term at the moment).

    Another method you might try (again taken from microscopy
    techniques), is to use polarized light sources. Light the subject
    with polarized light from behind, and put a polarizer on the lens,
    oriented 90 degrees in polarization from the source light. Your
    field will be dark gray or black, but the plexiglass will be filled
    with rainbow hues and patterns from any stressors in the plastics.
    This might detract from an advertising point of view because many
    people know this shows the stresses and defects in the plastics.
    Though it looks interesting. If you want to try this, and you don't
    have a large enough sheet of polarizing material for your light
    source, you can create polarized light by reflecting it off a flat
    smooth surface behind the subject at a shallow angle. (If memory
    serves, I think it is a 23 degrees angle from the surface imparts
    the greatest polarization?) It's the same way that light becomes
    polarized when reflecting off of the surface of a lake or window.
     
    JeffTaite, Sep 13, 2004
    #5
  6. (Cat) writes:

    > This is my first post of any kind to any photography group so please
    > be patient. I need to take photos of plexiglass product display
    > stands.
    >
    > I take product photos for a manufacturing company. I use a Coolpix
    > 995, 2 250W static studio lights and a white tent.
    >
    > Most of my photos are of faucets - highly reflecting. I manage alright
    > although in future posts, I hope this group will help me improve.
    >
    > Right now, I have 6 stands to photograph, They sit on a shelf a
    > display a faucet. So, they are made of clear plexiglass and have
    > predrilled holes. I need to have them in my tent so I get no
    > background. But, they disappear. The edges are impossible to find and,
    > of course, they look white.
    >
    > I need some suggestions on exposure, light placement..... anything at
    > all that might actually produce a realistic looking photo. Thanks


    This sounds like a case for chapter 7 of _Light -- Science and Magic_
    (Hunter & Fuqua). (Chapter title: "The Case of the Disappearing
    Glass"). "Bright-field" lighting gives you the transparent glass
    against a bright background (with dark edges). "Dark-field" lighting
    gives you the transparent glass against a dark background (with
    *bright* edges).

    For bright-field:

    Very roughly (much easier to see with the diagrams), you want a lit
    background directly behind the transparent subject, but *only*
    directly behind it; the rest of the background (out of camera, but
    reflected/refracted in the object) dark.

    This book is really *really* useful. It teaches basic principles
    *and* the practical applications built on them.

    A quick googling seems to come up with web articles mostly in the
    field of microscopy, rather than for larger objects, though.
    --
    David Dyer-Bennet, <mailto:>, <http://www.dd-b.net/dd-b/>
    RKBA: <http://noguns-nomoney.com/> <http://www.dd-b.net/carry/>
    Pics: <http://dd-b.lighthunters.net/> <http://www.dd-b.net/dd-b/SnapshotAlbum/>
    Dragaera/Steven Brust: <http://dragaera.info/>
     
    David Dyer-Bennet, Sep 13, 2004
    #6
  7. Cat

    John Doe Guest

    Can you use something like a white board market and color the edges of the
    stands so that they will photograph better. This type of marker should wipe
    right off when your done. Blue, Red or Green should do nicely with the while
    background.

    John


    "Cat" <> wrote in message
    news:...
    > This is my first post of any kind to any photography group so please
    > be patient. I need to take photos of plexiglass product display
    > stands.
    >
    > I take product photos for a manufacturing company. I use a Coolpix
    > 995, 2 250W static studio lights and a white tent.
    >
    > Most of my photos are of faucets - highly reflecting. I manage alright
    > although in future posts, I hope this group will help me improve.
    >
    > Right now, I have 6 stands to photograph, They sit on a shelf a
    > display a faucet. So, they are made of clear plexiglass and have
    > predrilled holes. I need to have them in my tent so I get no
    > background. But, they disappear. The edges are impossible to find and,
    > of course, they look white.
    >
    > I need some suggestions on exposure, light placement..... anything at
    > all that might actually produce a realistic looking photo. Thanks
     
    John Doe, Sep 13, 2004
    #7
  8. Cat

    Colin D Guest

    Cat wrote:
    >
    > This is my first post of any kind to any photography group so please
    > be patient. I need to take photos of plexiglass product display
    > stands.
    >
    > I take product photos for a manufacturing company. I use a Coolpix
    > 995, 2 250W static studio lights and a white tent.
    >
    > Most of my photos are of faucets - highly reflecting. I manage alright
    > although in future posts, I hope this group will help me improve.
    >
    > Right now, I have 6 stands to photograph, They sit on a shelf a
    > display a faucet. So, they are made of clear plexiglass and have
    > predrilled holes. I need to have them in my tent so I get no
    > background. But, they disappear. The edges are impossible to find and,
    > of course, they look white.
    >
    > I need some suggestions on exposure, light placement..... anything at
    > all that might actually produce a realistic looking photo. Thanks


    Interesting stuff there. On studying most of the shots, I think your
    problem is not one of focus sharpness, but camera movement. On most of
    the images, there are some edges sharp, and others not, which points to
    panning technique, in that the camera is not keeping the aircraft
    stationary in the viewfinder, but is allowing what looks like camera
    shake in some direction to occur.

    This can be well seen in the last shot, of the 640mph pass, where the
    leading edge of the fin is sharp, but the fuselage is blurred in a
    vertical direction. This implies that the camera was moving down and
    left, along the line of the fin so the leading edge is sharp, but the
    downward movement has blurred the fuselage.

    Noting that the lens was at > 200mm, and your shutter was about 1/250
    IIRC, it's not surprising, and certainly not a criticism of the camera.

    You need a better day, shutter speeds of 1/1000 or greater - except for
    helos - and then I think you will see better results.

    Colin D.
     
    Colin D, Sep 14, 2004
    #8
  9. Cat

    Hunt Guest

    In article <>, says...
    >
    >Cat wrote:
    >>
    >> This is my first post of any kind to any photography group so please
    >> be patient. I need to take photos of plexiglass product display
    >> stands.
    >>
    >> I take product photos for a manufacturing company. I use a Coolpix
    >> 995, 2 250W static studio lights and a white tent.
    >>
    >> Most of my photos are of faucets - highly reflecting. I manage alright
    >> although in future posts, I hope this group will help me improve.
    >>
    >> Right now, I have 6 stands to photograph, They sit on a shelf a
    >> display a faucet. So, they are made of clear plexiglass and have
    >> predrilled holes. I need to have them in my tent so I get no
    >> background. But, they disappear. The edges are impossible to find and,
    >> of course, they look white.
    >>
    >> I need some suggestions on exposure, light placement..... anything at
    >> all that might actually produce a realistic looking photo. Thanks

    >
    >Interesting stuff there. On studying most of the shots, I think your
    >problem is not one of focus sharpness, but camera movement. On most of
    >the images, there are some edges sharp, and others not, which points to
    >panning technique, in that the camera is not keeping the aircraft
    >stationary in the viewfinder, but is allowing what looks like camera
    >shake in some direction to occur.
    >
    >This can be well seen in the last shot, of the 640mph pass, where the
    >leading edge of the fin is sharp, but the fuselage is blurred in a
    >vertical direction. This implies that the camera was moving down and
    >left, along the line of the fin so the leading edge is sharp, but the
    >downward movement has blurred the fuselage.
    >
    >Noting that the lens was at > 200mm, and your shutter was about 1/250
    >IIRC, it's not surprising, and certainly not a criticism of the camera.
    >
    >You need a better day, shutter speeds of 1/1000 or greater - except for
    >helos - and then I think you will see better results.
    >
    >Colin D.


    Colin,

    I think that you posted to the wrong thread. That, or I'm much more dense,
    than my friends tell me.

    Hunt
     
    Hunt, Sep 14, 2004
    #9
  10. In article <>,
    (Cat) wrote:

    > This is my first post of any kind to any photography group so please
    > be patient. I need to take photos of plexiglass product display
    > stands.
    >
    > I take product photos for a manufacturing company. I use a Coolpix
    > 995, 2 250W static studio lights and a white tent.
    >
    > Most of my photos are of faucets - highly reflecting. I manage alright
    > although in future posts, I hope this group will help me improve.
    >
    > Right now, I have 6 stands to photograph, They sit on a shelf a
    > display a faucet. So, they are made of clear plexiglass and have
    > predrilled holes. I need to have them in my tent so I get no
    > background. But, they disappear. The edges are impossible to find and,
    > of course, they look white.
    >
    > I need some suggestions on exposure, light placement..... anything at
    > all that might actually produce a realistic looking photo. Thanks



    Try using spot lights to illuminate the edges and UV to illuminate the
    flat panels. You'll have to find an angle where the glowing edges give
    all the visual cues needed to see the shape.
     
    Kevin McMurtrie, Sep 14, 2004
    #10
  11. Cat

    Colin D Guest

    Hunt wrote:
    >
    > In article <>, says...
    > >
    > >Cat wrote:
    > >>
    > >> This is my first post of any kind to any photography group so please
    > >> be patient. I need to take photos of plexiglass product display
    > >> stands.
    > >>
    > >> I take product photos for a manufacturing company. I use a Coolpix
    > >> 995, 2 250W static studio lights and a white tent.
    > >>
    > >> Most of my photos are of faucets - highly reflecting. I manage alright
    > >> although in future posts, I hope this group will help me improve.
    > >>
    > >> Right now, I have 6 stands to photograph, They sit on a shelf a
    > >> display a faucet. So, they are made of clear plexiglass and have
    > >> predrilled holes. I need to have them in my tent so I get no
    > >> background. But, they disappear. The edges are impossible to find and,
    > >> of course, they look white.
    > >>
    > >> I need some suggestions on exposure, light placement..... anything at
    > >> all that might actually produce a realistic looking photo. Thanks

    > >
    > >Interesting stuff there. On studying most of the shots, I think your
    > >problem is not one of focus sharpness, but camera movement. On most of
    > >the images, there are some edges sharp, and others not, which points to
    > >panning technique, in that the camera is not keeping the aircraft
    > >stationary in the viewfinder, but is allowing what looks like camera
    > >shake in some direction to occur.
    > >
    > >This can be well seen in the last shot, of the 640mph pass, where the
    > >leading edge of the fin is sharp, but the fuselage is blurred in a
    > >vertical direction. This implies that the camera was moving down and
    > >left, along the line of the fin so the leading edge is sharp, but the
    > >downward movement has blurred the fuselage.
    > >
    > >Noting that the lens was at > 200mm, and your shutter was about 1/250
    > >IIRC, it's not surprising, and certainly not a criticism of the camera.
    > >
    > >You need a better day, shutter speeds of 1/1000 or greater - except for
    > >helos - and then I think you will see better results.
    > >
    > >Colin D.

    >
    > Colin,
    >
    > I think that you posted to the wrong thread. That, or I'm much more dense,
    > than my friends tell me.
    >
    > Hunt


    Yes, my apologies. can't think how it happened, though A senior moment,
    I guess!

    Colin D.
     
    Colin D, Sep 14, 2004
    #11
  12. Cat

    Ken Tough Guest

    JeffTaite <> wrote:

    >Another method you might try (again taken from microscopy
    >techniques), is to use polarized light sources. Light the subject
    >with polarized light from behind, and put a polarizer on the lens,
    >oriented 90 degrees in polarization from the source light. Your
    >field will be dark gray or black, but the plexiglass will be filled
    >with rainbow hues and patterns from any stressors in the plastics.
    >This might detract from an advertising point of view because many
    >people know this shows the stresses and defects in the plastics.
    >Though it looks interesting. If you want to try this, and you don't
    >have a large enough sheet of polarizing material for your light
    >source, you can create polarized light by reflecting it off a flat
    >smooth surface behind the subject at a shallow angle.


    Or maybe shoot with a relatively slow shutter, with polarized
    light as you describe followed by a set of regular diffused
    flash, to get a kind of colour super-position?

    --
    Ken Tough
     
    Ken Tough, Sep 14, 2004
    #12
  13. Cat

    JeffTaite Guest

    On Tue, 14 Sep 2004 13:24:15 +0200, Ken Tough <>
    wrote:

    >Or maybe shoot with a relatively slow shutter, with polarized
    >light as you describe followed by a set of regular diffused
    >flash, to get a kind of colour super-position?


    This is how innovative new ways are found ... try it, see what
    happens. That's the wonderful thing about digital. You can take
    photos from the same perspective under many lighting conditions.
    Then layer them in your editing software, changing their
    transparencies, luminance levels, shifting their hues, etc. You
    might come up with something that nobody's yet done and it will be
    the next fad for displaying/photographing clear subjects. Not unlike
    the one creative method invented long ago, of submerging clear (or
    opaque) things in carbonated water and then letting the tiny bubbles
    that formed on their surfaces define their shapes. That was an
    advertising fad for quite some time. Flowers photographed in this
    way were quite interesting. That too is another option for you if
    you have a clear tank large enough, and enough bottles of carbonated
    water. Combine that with the indirect colored key-lights while
    you're at it.

    Experiment. Don't worry about making mistakes. That's how new ways
    are found.


    How about this method:

    http://www.mediachance.com/digicam/rgblights.htm

    Can you do anything with that?
     
    JeffTaite, Sep 14, 2004
    #13
  14. Cat

    Gadgets Guest

    Now you've read all that...!

    Besides an all-black background, strips positioned to suit may also work for
    you

    Cheers, Jason (remove ... to reply)
    Video & Gaming: http://gadgetaus.com
     
    Gadgets, Sep 14, 2004
    #14
  15. Cat

    Hunt Guest

    In article <>, says...
    >
    >Hunt wrote:

    [SNIP]
    >>
    >> Colin,
    >>
    >> I think that you posted to the wrong thread. That, or I'm much more dense,
    >> than my friends tell me.
    >>
    >> Hunt

    >
    >Yes, my apologies. can't think how it happened, though A senior moment,
    >I guess!
    >
    >Colin D.


    Heck Colin, I thought I had cornered the market for senior moments in this NG
    - welcome on board sailor! <G>

    Hunt
     
    Hunt, Sep 14, 2004
    #15
  16. Cat

    Matt Guest

    On 13 Sep 2004 06:40:04 -0700, (Cat) wrote:

    >This is my first post of any kind to any photography group so please
    >be patient. I need to take photos of plexiglass product display
    >stands.
    >
    >I take product photos for a manufacturing company. I use a Coolpix
    >995, 2 250W static studio lights and a white tent.
    >
    >Most of my photos are of faucets - highly reflecting. I manage alright
    >although in future posts, I hope this group will help me improve.
    >
    >Right now, I have 6 stands to photograph, They sit on a shelf a
    >display a faucet. So, they are made of clear plexiglass and have
    >predrilled holes. I need to have them in my tent so I get no
    >background. But, they disappear. The edges are impossible to find and,
    >of course, they look white.


    I'm thinking laterally, since water is a factor in the products,
    sprinklle them with water droplets, or chill them so that they fog
    with condensation.

    The first thought, dust them with talc.

    If the task warrants a special lighting rig, I'm wondering what effect
    firing a string of blue or white LEDs into an edge would have.

    Maybe forget the tent, and use a white ceiling with it standing on a
    black background - illuminate the ceiling, and walk round it until you
    see something you like - this technique works very well for book
    covers with metallic lettering, which foxes most scanners, and all
    direct lighting. For the metallics, allyou really have to do is avoid
    shadowing, and then apply keystone correction.

    In fact, for difficult reflective subjects, I'd suggest excpeing to
    use keystone correction, as if you are square to it, you reflect in it

    --
    I may be dozzzy, but take the ZZZ's out to mail me
    http://www.junkroom.freeserve.co.uk/jvc2080.htm - 2x2x24 CD-RW troubles

    If you drop a cactus, don't try to catch it!
     
    Matt, Sep 14, 2004
    #16
  17. Cat

    KarlC19880 Guest

    << This is my first post of any kind to any photography group so please
    be patient. I need to take photos of plexiglass product display
    stands.

    I take product photos for a manufacturing company. I use a Coolpix
    995, 2 250W static studio lights and a white tent.

    Most of my photos are of faucets - highly reflecting. I manage alright
    although in future posts, I hope this group will help me improve.

    Right now, I have 6 stands to photograph, They sit on a shelf a
    display a faucet. So, they are made of clear plexiglass and have
    predrilled holes. I need to have them in my tent so I get no
    background. But, they disappear. The edges are impossible to find and,
    of course, they look white.

    I need some suggestions on exposure, light placement..... anything at
    all that might actually produce a realistic looking photo. Thanks>>

    Cat-
    Sorry for coming so late to the thread- hopefully my advice can still be of
    help...

    In my experience with trying to light transparent subjects such as crystal,
    glassware & acrylic, I found that using a light tent was (usually) not the way
    to go. Tenting will work for highly reflective *metallic* surfaces to eliminate
    reflections, but as you discovered, transparent subject matter tends to
    disappear.

    As others have suggested, if you can lose the tent & use dark field lighting
    you will probably get better results.
    I have posted an image of a piece of crystal on a black suede & brushed
    stainless steel base an example on my website at:
    <http://homepage.mac.com/karlcook1/Mypix/PhotoAlbum4.html>. Its at the bottom-
    "Crystal Award"

    Using a dark, unlit background & a light from low & behind causes the crystal
    to glow from within as it transmits the light (& in this instance refracts some
    to show the objects facets), this also defines the edges and can give you some
    specular hilites to help jazz things up a bit. The low lighting angle in this
    instance also shows the texture of the suede.
    A white card placed opposite the light, to the right of the camera bounced some
    fill onto the metallic surface to bring out the engraving.

    I hope you got pleasing results in any event!
    Karl Cook

    -Every day it's the same thing -- variety. I want something different!
     
    KarlC19880, Oct 7, 2004
    #17
  18. In Message-ID:<> posted on
    06 Oct 2004 23:55:01 GMT, KarlC19880 wrote:

    >I hope you got pleasing results in any event!


    Sites that use javacrap never give pleasing results.
    --

    JK
     
    Justín Käse, Oct 7, 2004
    #18
  19. Cat

    Frank ess Guest

    Justín Käse wrote:
    > In Message-ID:<> posted on
    > 06 Oct 2004 23:55:01 GMT, KarlC19880 wrote:
    >
    >> I hope you got pleasing results in any event!

    >
    > Sites that use javacrap never give pleasing results.


    Sad to say, my browsers don't want me to look at sites with "mac.com" in
    the URL.

    --
    Frank ess
     
    Frank ess, Oct 7, 2004
    #19
  20. Cat

    KarlC19880 Guest

    << >I hope you got pleasing results in any event!

    Sites that use javacrap never give pleasing results.
    --

    JK >

    JK-
    I directed that comment to the OP (Cat), and will gladly accept constuctive
    recommendations on upload sites that do not use Java if you could be so kind to
    provide one or two.

    In any event, here's the image.
    KC

    <IMG WIDTH="320" HEIGHT="312" ID="61330784" DATASIZE="85217" BORDER="1"
    SRC="0010a.jpg">
     
    KarlC19880, Oct 9, 2004
    #20
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