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I would like to shoot playing cards (a deck of 60 cards and a big deck of 120 cards) and have questions regarding lighting and composition:

What are good camera angles? Would you lay them flat on a surface or prop them up somehow?
How do I avoid glare/reflections from the surface of the cards?
With a budget of around $50, what equipment (light tent, flash, diffusor) would you recommend (assuming I only have a camera, a tripod and one lamp/softbox)?

Only 1-3 cards need to be visible, the other can be spread out in some fashion.

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2 Answers 2

I don't think anyone here can tell you how you should compose the image -- that's entirely up to you and how you want to present the cards. If you're looking for inspiration, though, there are plenty of images of playing cards on image sharing sites like Flickr and stock photo sites like Getty Images.

How you deal with glare will depend on how you set up the shot. Perhaps the most expedient thing is to try a shot, and adjust either the cards or the light if glare is an issue.

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500px is usually an other nice source of inspiration: 500px.com/search?q=playing+cards. –  Emile Nov 22 '13 at 8:01

You can avoid glare by positioning the lights so that they don't directly light the camera lens. For example, you might put card (often called a gobo) between the light and the lens.

You can avoid reflections by positioning the lights outside the angles that they will reflect light back at the camera. I can highly recommend reading the book Light: Science and Magic by Hunter, Fuqua, and Biver. Among other things, it specifically covers how to light surfaces like this.

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