Reflection and Shadow in Photographs

I’m no photography expert, let me make that clear right at the start.  But I do like taking photographs which is a good thing as I have to take photographs for my Etsy shop listings.  And I don’t use any fancy camera to take those photos…I just use my Samsung Stratosphere smartphone.  It’s easy and I couldn’t be happier with the results. 

I love using shadow and reflection in many of my photos.  It’s not just for dramatic effect (although the photos are undeniably dramatic).  Take, for example, the photo below.  The camera has not only caught the hammered textured finish of this metal ashtray, it has also captured the slight curved design of the the tray as well.  Available at my Etsy shop here:

ashtray 014-35

And reflection and shadow can illuminate detail that is otherwise difficult to photograph. 

glass 010-35I was having a very difficult time trying to photo this Glastonbury Lotus cut crystal footed tumbler.  I tried natural light, artificial light, light backgrounds and dark backgrounds and just couldn’t capture the beautiful detail to the design.  I finally tried a mahogany table background in a dark room with a flashlight position to both pick up the reflection of the cut crystal design as well as add a little shadow to the background for added interest.  I was most pleased with the outcome.  Available at my Etsy shop here:

Mirrors have served me well on several occasions to serve as a backdrop to the item being photographed.  Below is a photo of hawthorn branches on an old etched and cloudy mirror.  Not only does the mirror add interest to the photograph, it also reflects the back side of the hawthorn branches and thorns so the viewer has almost a 360 degree view.  Although this particular hawthorn listing is no longer available, I do have several other hawthorn listings in the Decorative Arts section of my shop:

hawthorne1 020-35a

I have to admit that I do like to include an element of drama in some photos. asian temple 002-35

And for some reason, necklaces seem to lend themselves to this style of photography.  Again, I used my trusty old flashlight to create this effect.  I’m fortunate enough to have a marvelous antique copper pitcher that stands about 14 inches tall and I either dangle the necklace off the spout of the pitcher or place the necklace around its surface.

tin cup 004-35

Again, this is done in a dark room and it helps if you have someone to assist with holding the beam of the flashlight.  Although my Etsy shop specializes in antique and vintage items, I do like to try my hand at being creative and the Asian Temple shell and bead pendant on leather necklace above is one of my creations.

heart key 013-35The sterling silver and gray pearl station necklace shown above is a vintage necklace as can be found here:

The key to my heart necklace pictured to the right is a vintage key (perhaps to a diary) with a heart shaped bail which I’ve placed on a leather cord.  Available here

And you should consider using this reflection and shadow technique for various items and not just metals and glass.  OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

The photo to the left shows  two old internal thread wood bottle stoppers.  The worn and yet warm wood reflects in the light.  The threading shows beautifully on the stopper and also within the shadow cast by the stoppers.  This photo was taken on a black board with sun light coming through the window.  The window pane cast the dark shadows at the top and bottom of the photo. These are available here:

The Albert Pick & Company silverplate butter pats shown below were photographed outside on an old rusty barrel top right after it had rained.  The water created an interesting reflection and the rusty top complemented the butter pats.  These can be found here:

pick 008-35

If you get it right, or if you just get lucky, glass is a wonderful subject for reflection and shadow photography. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

 The photograph to the right is amazing (in my humble opinion).  This, too, was taken on a black board in the sunlight with the window pane framing the glass stopper.  The exagerated shadow of the stopper is one of those instances where I just got lucky, plain and simple.  It doesn’t happen that often, so enjoy it when it does!  This stopper can be found here:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe stopper to the left was taken on my kitchen counter with an overhead light.  I had a rosemary plant on the counter which cast a wonderful shadow.  I placed the stopper within that shadow and was delighted with the result.  I have to remind myself to always consider available shadows or even created shadows to add interest to a photo.  This stopper is available here:

Sometimes I like a photo to have a shroud of mystery….like what is that?  The dark black background and the light reflecting off the pewter bracelet in the photo below does just that.  Available at: Bracelet (6)-35

And lastly, sometimes I just like to have fun!  These cookie cutters are available here:

cookiecutters2 004-35

Thanks for letting me share!

This entry was posted in Etsy, etsy photography, etsy vintage, glass, photogrophy, queenofsienna, samsung, samsung stratosphere, smartphone, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Reflection and Shadow in Photographs

  1. Barbara says:

    Love the drama in your lighting! Shooting in a light box may be great for product outline, but the sense of atmosphere you create with background and cast shadows is stunning.

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