“A photographic challenge”: how to shoot objects in silver and in glass/plate glass.

Some days ago, we thought about throwing down a gauntlet in photography.
We wanted to prove ourselves in shooting some elements that are the hardest ever to be represented through the camera.

So, we decided to focus our attention on silver and glass/plate glass.

Silver is one of the most “reflecting surface” ever, while glass/plate glass in addition to being reflecting is also transparent.
For this challenge, we asked the kind support of the Sovrani/Valenti Group from Recanati, which we heartily must thank for having put at our disposal some of the pieces of their collection which we then used for our challenge.
Challenge within a challenge, the company wanted to prove our skills by providing us with three frames belonging to their current offer which turned to be the most unusual and decorated ones, in addition to a very elegant and ethereal vase in plate glass with border in silver.
We must say that shooting reflecting objects is not extremely difficult, you simply must know how the surface of the object reacts to shoot it properly.
An interesting challenge if we consider the high multiplicity of embossing, engraving, perforations, metal recesses and so on of our objects.
The aim we set was to realize final photo shots on a white background, to imagine a finished product (picture) that could be used both in the pre-press process of catalogues/leaflets, etc… as well as directly on all web channels used by the company.

The issues that we had to take into consideration during our challenge have been numerous, to be exact:

1. Preventing the objects from reflecting the set;  
To ensure this, we surrounded the objects that we individually shot with white surfaces.
From the one hand, this allowed us to avoid reflections and from the other hand we set the conditions to keep the “natural colour” of the subject unaltered therefore enhancing its main characteristics regardless of its specificity. 

2. Lighting up both frames and vase in glass/plate glass and silver respecting their characteristics and enhancing their unique features.
To properly light up frames in silver we had to point a beam of light on them that had to be a reflection of light rather than a direct light. Instead, the vase in glass/plate glass and silver which is also transparent, needed a backlight enhancing and not flattening its being transparent. 

3. Conveying shape and depth to the objects.
For both silver frames and vase in glass/plate glass and silver we used a black Bristol cardboard which was very useful to block the reflection of light by the material depending on the position.
This process is very important to enhance the different textures of any kind of surface regardless of its being glossy or matt. 

For the border of the vase, we used the same technique however with the aim, this time, to enhance both profile and shape of the subject.

During the post-production stage, in addition to improve the shots, we “overlapped” on one another the pictures that we considered as the most useful to achieve the final goal.
The result of our challenge can be checked here, where, according to our taste and without any pretense, we tried to enhance the products also by tilting the frames differently, which allowed to increase the depth and to intensify the importance of the material in all shots on white background.

All the steps of our challenge, from the picking up of the products to the test shots including the return were the subject of a short story available on our social channels Facebook, Instagram, Twitter;


the final shot delivered the highest satisfaction since the Sovrani /Valenti Group recognized the impartial skill of being able to “represent in a shot” its products in silver and glass, thereby certifying that “we won the challenge” that we decided to face together.

At the end of our challenge, we must make some important considerations; concerning the printing of this type of shots, and even though we already adjusted and edited them, they needed a further photolithography rework and colour tests in order to adjust the photograph quality to the type of paper support, printing and planned graphic design.

As far as the final rendering of the finished shot is concerned, we can say that this type of still-life shots is further enhanced if we see them on a screen or on a digital device (smartphone or mid-high-quality tablet).
The brightness and the depth of the pictures is given right by type of lighting of the digital tool used.
The same pictures that on paper, apart from specific and very expensive reworks, would probably and with great difficulties reach the same level of rendering and emotional involvement.

Thanks to this experience, we feel that we can suggest to all those producing and offering this kind of products to start considering an increasing use of digital channels and tools to present their products.
This would represent not only a considerable and concrete economic saving as well as a rapid way to update the portfolio of products, it would also ensure an absolute and higher output photograph quality of the products proposed.
Furthermore, this same quality would prevent the customer from blaming the supplier that the products proposed on the paper catalogue are far from their real appearance.

At this point, we can say that, the photograph quality being equal, all those producing or having to do with silver and/or silver and glass/plate glass should think about investing less but better; maybe they can smoothly move from the paper catalogue and replacing these huge and heavy “volumes” with digital ones.
Which differs completely from the publication of posts on a website or on other social channels.    
    • The potential customers would easily enjoy a much more realistic (and why not interactive) picture of
silver and glass/plate glass objects.
    • In few years, the company would benefit from considerable savings which could then allow to invest
    • The updating of the catalogues would be much easier and faster, ensuring a constant up-to-date.
    • Last but not least, the environment would be thankful.

After our “photographic challenge against silver objects”  with Francesco (to whom a well-deserved applause goes) we are ready to face a new one … what will it be?

Diego Ciarloni



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328.7310369 diegociarloni@kontagio.eu