How to make dark background professional catalog photographs ?
February 2, 2013 8:47 AM   Subscribe

Hi, My wife wants me to take professional catalog photographs for her blog (she builds earrings) where the objects are seen over a black background with a similar effect to this one: sample photograph After asking google and going through lots of info on catalog photographs I believe I know how to more or less get this done but for the mirror effect on the floor. If you see the image they get the product reflected on the floor. How could I get this same effect? Thanks
posted by chrishead to Work & Money (12 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Could that be photoshop? It isn't making sense to me that the "reflection" would appear that way (straight down, not angled the way a floor would be) naturally. Then again, haven't had any coffee yet, maybe it will make sense later. In any case, you could certainly do this with photoshop if you don't feel like setting up a reflecting surface to photograph.
posted by coupdefoudre at 8:54 AM on February 2, 2013

When my mother has done this, she's used a shiny black plastic tray with good lighting. This will work for smaller items, it's more complicated with larger ones.
posted by jessamyn at 8:54 AM on February 2, 2013

Yep, this can be done w/ Photoshop. (Google "reflection in photoshop" for tons of tutorials.)
posted by nosila at 8:56 AM on February 2, 2013

It's done in Photoshop or any other image editing software - GIMP, for example, which is free.
posted by DarlingBri at 9:02 AM on February 2, 2013

Could that be photoshop? It isn't making sense to me that the "reflection" would appear that way (straight down, not angled the way a floor would be)

Real reflections don't angle with the floor, dude.

It's possible to do it in Photoshop. It's also possible to do it with some black velvet and a pane of glass.
posted by Sys Rq at 9:11 AM on February 2, 2013

If you want to do this in a photograph (and not resort to photoshop) you need a flat black lightbox with a reflective (or semi-reflective) floor.
posted by Kid Charlemagne at 9:14 AM on February 2, 2013

At the auction house where I worked, this is how we often photographed the jewellery. We used a glass plate. That way I could use snot tape or hot glue to hold items in place if I was photographing a group, and if I had a small decorative object that needed a certain angle or an item that needed to be displayed upright, I could re-adjust it several times if needed after looking at the shots without ruining a paper backdrop. This blog post talks about using a plexi plate under food photography. You'll see that the reflections are the same.
posted by peagood at 9:19 AM on February 2, 2013

This is often done with a glossy black acrylic sheet. Alternatively, a sheet of regular glass or frosted plexiglass (for a softer reflection) is placed over an opaque flat black surface. The item to be photographed is placed top of the reflective sheet inside of a flat black lightbox (on preview, I see this has been mentioned already).

You can buy items intended specifically for this kind of product photography (although the item I linked doesn't have very good reviews).
posted by RichardP at 9:22 AM on February 2, 2013

Very probably this was done with a black roll of backdrop paper that is hung up behind and above the table, and rolled down and over the top of the table. A sheet of glass is placed on top of the paper on the table for the reflection. As you can see in your example, lighting is very restricted.
posted by Thorzdad at 10:32 AM on February 2, 2013

Yup, as RichardP said, acrylic or plexi is the way to go. You can spend your photoshop time cloning out the scratches and dust but the reflection will look like a million bucks!

You can probably get some at your local glass shop.
posted by eatcake at 6:27 PM on February 2, 2013

In the past, I've successfully done it exactly the way that Thorzdad described. I don't have any examples online, but careful lighting led to it coming out extremely clean and crisp.

One point to note - if your subject is a good distance from the background, it really helps to keep it tidy.
posted by Magnakai at 5:05 AM on February 3, 2013

A little bit late, but I think this illustrates what you're wanting to do.
posted by dave*p at 6:01 AM on February 4, 2013

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