Sunday, February 14, 2010

Part 11 - Photographing Silverware

Although it doesn't quite fit in to the subject of food photography, a table setting is often included in a closeup food photo.

Flatware can be a difficult subject to photograph due to the reflective surfaces, especially when dealing with spoons, where the room surroundings are often reflected in the bowl. I'm going to show examples taken in daylight by a window using white and black backgrounds, with and without a tripod.

Here is my setup, using one and later two styrofoam reflectors on the dark side.

photo 1 table
Here below are examples using a black velveteen background.
The first photo shows a bad example of how a handheld camera shot at this arrangement of three spoons reflects my hands and camera.

hands & camera
In the next two photos, the spoons have been arranged differently so they reflect more the surrounding room.

collage 1

Here below on the left is another example of a bad reflection. Although the pattern of the silverware shows up nicely, the bowl again reflects the photographer.
The photo on the right shows a closeup using macro mode where the pattern is the prime object.

collage 2

The picture below is not a photo at all, but was rather a scan done on a flatbed scanner.

For posting to auction sites a scanned image may serve your purpose.

Using the Tripod and Self-Timer

When you have your camera set up on a tripod you will surely be able to take clear, sharp images of something as fine as silverware, where you want to display the pattern clearly.
In order to keep yourself and your hands out of the picture, using the tripod and the self timer allows you to duck out of the way so you are not reflected in the silverware.

Here below is the sequence for doing this:

1) Photo left - set up the flatware on black velveteen, black or white paper or cloth and with camera on the tripod, adjust the level of the view and zoom a little until you are happy with the image in the viewfinder or LCD screen.

2) Photo right - Set your timer for the delay in seconds, enough for you to move away from the camera. Press the OKAY button to confirm your choice.


3) Press the shutter halfway and when the green focus light gives a small beep and a steady green light... press the shutter the rest of the way down.

hand on
You haven't yet taken the picture but the camera is now counting down the number of seconds you have set, so move yourself out of the way. The shutter will open and the camera will take the photo without your touching it.

Remember that if in step 3 the green focus light blinks rather than stays steady, the camera can't focus at the distance you have set.
Change your zoom level (more zoom or less zoom) or if necessary, move the tripod further away.

Here's the photo just taken in the example above using tripod and timer where the reflection in the spoons is that of the window.

window reflec

I hope you understand all and if you have questions please ask here or PM me.
Thanks for joining me.


(All text and photos copyrighted.)


da coach said...

some very good ideas,especially with the photo shoot box

Lalit Panwar said...

beautiful shots, good behind the scence


Ajay Walia
Indian Food Photographs

Estate Sterling said...

Stunning Collections! I love these elegant collections of sterling silver pieces. Forks, knives and spoons in the sterling style tend to have delicately sculpted designs on the handles that add texture and complexity in a subtle way. Sterling Silver Flatware is a timeless option that complements other vintage dining room décor.

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