How to Light Metal for photography

Metal and glass are the trickiest products to light when it comes to commercial photographer. You have to think about it differently, not only do you have to light your subject, but you need to light the metal’s reflection. Sounds simple enough, but it’s not. You almost always will need someone to hold a white card or reflector or have it clipped to a stand. Remember, one you have your reflection light, you can’t move. As soon as you move you see a different angle and the reflection has changed. The angle the light is hitting the subject, will be the same angle the reflection. If none of that made sense, maybe these photos will help..

Using a LED light to light my subject, my friend Gerardo Sumano helped me hold a white card… (torn paper cup) to light and reflect onto the fork.

Alli Brock - How to light metal for photography


In the first salad image, the metal fork is dark and reflecting the room and tables in the restaurant. The second image is light with the reflector card. It makes the fork look clean and compliments the main subject.

Here’s another example, in this image, the metal is just in the background, so it doesn’t take priority over the subject. The reflection of the food in the metal is fine, but I made sure there was good sepperation of the metal, meaning you can see all the edges of the subject, it doesn’t disappear in the dark background.

Alli Brock - How to light metal for photography

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