How to Photograph Glass
Photographing an object made of glass, whether it's a figurine, a wine bottle or anything reflective, can cause the novice photographer trouble. However, with a few simple tools and practices, taking pictures of glass items without glare is easy.
Before you can begin the process of taking pictures of glass objects without glare, you will need a few items. First, you'll need a camera. While any camera will do the job, you can achieve better results with a Single-Lens Reflex, or SLR camera.
In addition to your camera, a tripod is very useful. When photographing glass objects, it's best to use a higher aperture to keep the image clear and in focus.
However, this will slow down the shutter speed, leaving the chance of having a blurry or fuzzy picture. Using a tripod will eliminate this problem.
The next item you will need is a softbox. A softbox is a box fitted over a lamp used to diffuse lighting. The sides of the softbox are typically black, and the insides of the box can be silver or white. They come in various sizes and are very popular for portrait photography. The light from a softbox doesn't create hot spots of light because it evenly distributes the light over the intended area. You can use several of these to light the object from multiple angles.
Another tool you can use is plexiglass. A thin sheet of black plexiglass can be slightly bent and placed behind the object to provide a sleek black background. A white sheet of plexiglass can provide a white background, which is excellent for photographing clear glass products, like wine glasses. Using sleek plexiglass will give off a reflection of the product, and frosted plexiglass will prevent a reflection from appearing.
Using a graduated background is an excellent technique for photographing glass objects without glare. A graduated background makes a picture look like all the light is fading off into the distance, leaving the object fully in focus and producing a professional looking picture.
For a dramatic effect, use an underlighting technique. By placing the light source underneath the object, the light filters evenly through the object and to its top, illuminating every detail of the object. This technique is best for showcasing clear glass objects.
Backlighting is another excellent technique for photographing clear glass objects. As with underlighting, backlighting will draw attention to the object's natural lines. Using your softbox is the easiest way to achieve this method.
Always be sure that your background, whether you use a graduated background or a background strip in your softbox, completely covers the area you will be photographing. Otherwise, your picture will look uneven and you may end up with glares.
Putting It Into Practice
Now we'll take all this information and put it to work and describe how one might take pictures of a bottle of wine.
First determine the scene. Decide if you want a graduated, black or white background. Next, set your stage with props, but don't use so many that the focus is taken off the wine bottle. Once you have your scene arranged, set up your softboxes. The softboxes can be placed on either side and in back of the image. Then pick an angle and take a picture. Getting creative with your angle, props and backgrounds can make a picture more interesting.
The background and lighting are the most important parts of taking a picture of a glass object and not getting a glare. It may take a bit of experimenting to get it just right, but it's easy with these steps.