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I'm attempting to take pictures of small lapel pins for a company that I work for, but I'm having a few issues. These lapel pins of chrome silver and gold finishes, so they reflect everything very, very well, which is bad because then the silver parts of the objects reflect as black from my lens and camera. I tried moving the pins at a slight angle to get the reflection of the inside of the light box instead, since it's white and it made the colors spot on, but the angle required to get a perfect reflection makes it impossible to take a picture where the entire pin is within focus.

I then tried taking pictures of the same pin at different focus points and stitching them together in Photoshop, but then they definitely don't look anywhere near as good and clear as some of the other pictures of the non-reflective pins.

What other things can I try to get good, straight on pictures of these reflective pins without losing the quality of the reflective surface?

  • I've already found that, but the suggestions wouldn't be applicable in my situation. – Brian Leishman Oct 23 '15 at 16:20
  • Focal length is one of the biggest keys. What focal length are you using? – Dan Wolfgang Oct 24 '15 at 0:03
  • You could try a polarization filter. These can lower certain reflections. But they could also affect the captured color from metallic surfaces. – Grebu Oct 24 '15 at 13:44
  • Brian, can you elaborate more on why the answers to the other question aren't applicable to your situation? Particularly, a tilt-shift lens seems ideal. – mattdm Oct 25 '15 at 14:17
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"but the angle required to get a perfect reflection makes it impossible to take a picture where the entire pin is within focus."

This sounds more like a lens choice problem, that you do not have a lens that stops down enough or has the right focal length. I would start by measuring the depth of the lapel pin (at an angle) and use a DoF calculator to find a focal length, subject distance, and f-stop (for your camera body) that will give you adequate DoF. You may have to use a large sensor camera but not "fill the sensor" (move the camera further back from your subject, the subject becomes small within the frame) to get the necessary DoF. (Many recent model pro-quality DSLR cameras have more than enough image size that you can crop and crop and still have a large enough image for most purposes.)

You need to focus at roughly the 1/3 point (2/3 of the subject behind your focus point, 1/3 in front) to get the maximum from the DoF available from your lens and aperture. You may find it helpful to use a pointer at the desired 1/3 point and focus on the pointer, then remove the pointer for the shot.

http://www.dofmaster.com

  • This is so far my favorite suggestion. Something that I can really just look up and try to get a mathematically perfect shot. I will definitely try this out later today – Brian Leishman Oct 27 '15 at 12:42
  • That was it. I got the perfect distance with just the right angle and enough room to move to get proper lighting. Thank you so much! – Brian Leishman Oct 27 '15 at 13:16
  • I'm so glad this tip helped you get your shot! – JC DILL Oct 31 '15 at 21:01
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Make a tent using white bedsheet or better white fiberglass curtain material. Fiberglass is fireproof if using hot lights. The object is placed inside the tent and lit from outside. The ideal is the white tent serves to totally diffuse the light so that from the object’s perspective the light is unidirectional. You can use white translucent sheets of plastic from the hardware store. These are diffusers used with recessed florescent fixtures. You can also use a dulling spray on the object. You can use hairspray or matt clear spray. You can make a mix of talcum powder and water. This mixture is sprayed on using a perfume atomizer. Hope this helps!

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You can use a 'shift' lens (perspective control) or bellows to tilt or shift your lens. Lens can be expensive, but you can find adapters such as a 'lens baby' to attach a normal lens. also, Alan's answer (above) will help with lighting the subject.

  • Tilt isn't used for perspective control, and the current lensbaby Composer Pro only tilts, and only uses the lensbaby Optic Swap lenses. And any tilt-shift lens has limited shift capability, ~10mm or so. – inkista Oct 24 '15 at 0:00
  • @inkista I think the Lensbaby product referred to here is probably the Tilt Transformer — but that doesn't shift either. – mattdm Oct 24 '15 at 2:57
  • @mattdm The Tilt Transformer can only take SLR lenses and adapt them to mirrorless mounts. Not an option for a dSLR shooter. Since the OP didn't mention mirrorless or dSLR, Composer Pro seemed to make more sense. – inkista Oct 25 '15 at 13:22
  • @inkista But that's not an "adapter ... to attach a normal lens", so I'm still guessing that's what's meant. – mattdm Oct 25 '15 at 14:13
  • @mattdm, guess it depends on your definition of the 50mm Optic Swap lens. :) – inkista Oct 25 '15 at 14:18

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