Glossy Black Guitar Photos Solved!
I used to hate shooting guitar product photos of glossy black guitars.
I used a narrow hallway, a closed door and took advantage of walls, floor and door all being white. That worked ok for light colored and non-glossy guitars, but black glossy guitar photos were impossible!
Like shooting photos of a mirror, everything was reflections. Buyers would have to ask if those were finish mars or reflections, etc. I’d have to smile when taking the photos because my face was going to show in the reflection!
Holey Sheets to the Rescue!
Eventually, we came up with the idea of using a black sheet in front of the guitar, but there would still be a reflected image of the camera on the guitar body. And I’d have to ask my wife to stop whatever she was doing to come and hold the sheet up.
She hemmed one edge of the sheet and ran a curtain rod through so I could hold the sheet up in one hand and hold the camera in my other hand.
We improved on the idea by making a small hole in the center of the sheet, just large enough to go around the camera lens, but it was still awkward and lighting was difficult.
Finally, we came across the ideal solution – a product light box.
It comes with six light strips. One on each side in the rear; one on each side in the front and one on each side at the top.
The two rear lights have translucent covers to soften the glare.
The cover is very heavy-duty and should last a long, long time. The inside of each side, top and bottom of the cover is reflective.
That works great except for the front, facing the product. The silvery reflective surface would just give those old, familiar reflections and we were back to first base.
But wait! Where’d I put that black sheet with the hole in the center??? I folded the heavy front cover part back over the top and clipped our black sheet onto the top and let it fall over the front with the hole positioned in the center.
With my Nikon DSLR secured on a tripod and its lens poking through the hole in the sheet, we were ready to shoot!
The light box came with three vinyl backdrops – white, black and blue. Blue is good for dropping out the background and replacing via Photoshop, GIMP, etc., with a virtual backdrop. A process called blue-screening (green-screening when done with humans since green is easier to remove against skin color).
That was fun, but takes too much post-processing time, so I ordered some other backdrops at about $15 apiece. Those came in 5’x7′ and I had to trim the 5′ width down to 4′ by taking 6″ off each side, because the floor was simulated boards with their lines running at angles to give perspective.
Our two young cats found their way into the box and wrinkled up my backdrop, but they can be ironed to remove wrinkles, though I haven’t bothered yet.
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