Shooting Glass

This week in my advanced studio class, our assignment was to shoot glass and show “black line” and “white line” technique. These different shooting styles are extremely popular and used in most all advertising shots of glass. With “black line,” the glassware is placed on a bright background and shot with the flash going directly through the subject from behind. This produces sharp black lines on the edges of the glass.  White line is shot much the same, only you need a dark background. The light then goes around the sides of your background and wraps around the glass, giving it a nice white, defining line.

Sounds easy, right? Wrong.

If you have never photographed glass, then you don’t know how insanely hard it is to shoot. You have to have everything right, be at the precise angle, hold your breath, stand on one foot, and say a prayer that it will work. 

I bought a glass vase/possible wine decanter at Hobby Lobby and thought it would be an interesting subject. I didn’t take the shape of the vase into account and was soon encountering all sorts of problems in the studio. The bulbous base kept caching reflections of the rafters in the ceiling, and since it was so orbicular, my classmate’s red jacket kept showing up too. I ended up having to craft an extremely elaborate set and it took me almost an hour to just get one good white line shot. I was about to give up, but then I decided to switch to black line.

It was like the clouds were lifted and suddenly I was hitting it out of the park. It turns out that black line was much easier to do with my subject since it minimizes surface reflection. Anyway, here are a few of my final photographs. I will also include a couple production shots so you can see how I had my set built.

White Line © Holly Hildreth 2011

White Line © Holly Hildreth 2011

Production shot for white line

Production shot for white line

The above is my set up for the white line shot. Notice how I had to make a tent out of paper to eliminate the reflection of the ceiling and rafters on the surface of the glass. The black poster-board on the left was a small cut out to put my lens in to reduce lens flare since you’re shooting directly into a huge light.

Black Line © Holly Hildreth 2011

Black Line © Holly Hildreth 2011

Black Line © Holly Hildreth 2011

Black Line © Holly Hildreth 2011

Black Line © Holly Hildreth 2011

Black Line © Holly Hildreth 2011

The above image is my favorite of the shoot and will be the one I turn in.

Production shot for Black Line

Production shot for Black Line

Above: my setup for Black line. As you can see, it’s basically the same as white line, except there’s no black background and you’re shooting directly into the diffused light source.

Anyway, I hope now you have a new understanding and appreciation for how difficult it is to shoot some of the simplest objects.

All Images © Holly Hildreth 2011 | hhildrethphoto.wordpress.com

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