by Florence W Deems

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Clear or light-colored glass introduces additional problems when shooting against either a black or a white background. If we put clear glass against a white background, most of the glass will disappear into it. The same is true if we use a black background. Or for that matter, a colored one. For the most part, the clear glass will not look differentiated against its background.

Let's choose a black background to talk about first. What will differentiate a clear glass object from its background will be white or very light reflections along both sides of the object. (If the glass is placed in front of a white background, just the opposite solution will apply.)

So how do we provide for these white reflections? We place a black piece of background material directly behind the glass vase or bowl so that it is wide enough to cover the image dimensions from side to side. Then on either side of this black background piece we place a piece of white background material! See the image below that illustrates this idea. In this case, the black is the reverse side of a mirror, while the two white pieces are just white matboard. And the reason the black doesn't look black is because of the on-camera flash that was used.

When shooting images such as this, we need to make sure that we do not accidentally shade either of the white panels. The images below show what happens if we allow some shade to fall on one or the other panel. But perhaps we like this effect, so then we can deliberately shade one of the white panels. In the first image below, the left side white panel has been shaded; in the next image, it is the right side white panel that has been shaded.

For a white background with clear glass, then we'd simply use a black panel on either side of the white background. All the above applies in reverse to using a black background.

For more glass images, please check out my project.

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