Skip to main content

Shooting Reflective Items

Lesson 31 from: Craft Photography Fundamentals

Candice Stringham

Shooting Reflective Items

Lesson 31 from: Craft Photography Fundamentals

Candice Stringham

buy this class


Sale Ends Soon!

starting under


Unlock this classplus 2200+ more >

Lesson Info

31. Shooting Reflective Items


Class Trailer

Session 1


Introduction to Craft Photography Fundamentals


What Your Visuals Say About Your Brand


How to Become a Photographic Author


How to Use Natural Light for Your Product Photography


Setting Up Your Photo: The Basic Rules


Becoming the Viewer to Take Better Photos


Shooting 3 Setups: Creating the Backstory with Images


Lesson Info

Shooting Reflective Items

Next we're gonna shoot a cake stand, because it is just clear glass. And I know that that is hard for a lot of people. And I'm gonna show you of my favorite things to do as well. So we're gonna use the wood that we've stained in a previous course, lesson. And I'm just lining them right up, right to the edge of my table. And I'm okay if they don't line up perfectly, because I want them to look like an old, kind of rustic table. So we're just gonna line these up. And, I'm lining them up vertically, so the lines lead in to my product. And I'm gonna take this big cake. (laughs) And we're gonna put this right on here. 'Kay. And I'm gonna grab a couple items that I know I love for styling cakes. These are one of my favorite propping items that I use all the time. These are from My Mind's Eye, these are mini fan banners and one of the reasons I love them is because I shoot so many things that are square and they're round. And they automatically say party to me. And so I love using them on the...

edges, coming outside of my frame, a lot, I'll just crop in on them and have them at the edge of a frame to just sort of add a little party, festive feel. So, we're actually photographing multiple things that are reflective here. Which is okay. We can do it. And then, I'm gonna show you my very favorite thing to do for backgrounds. I really, really love Rifle Paper, I don't know very many people who don't love Rifle Paper right now. And they make really beautiful wallpaper, but it's very expensive for a roll. They also make really beautiful wrapping paper, which is not as expensive. And so, we will line it up, and you can see we do have a seam, I'm okay with that, because wallpaper has a seam as well. As long as you line it up pretty well. And in the same way, that we just put our fabric in, we then put our backdrop in. Kay? And I'm gonna line this up. It'll just bug me. Because it's pretty symmetrical, if it wasn't symmetrical, on the seam... Okay, so I'm gonna shoot a picture I already know this is not gonna be good. But I want you to see it the way that I see it. Because it's gonna show me the reflection of the window and I am not gonna like that. But, let's do a test. So, what I'm doing right now, is just trying to get a good perspective on the cake. Trying to just kind of decide how high I want to be. Okay. And I'm gonna do it on zero. (camera shutter closes) I'm gonna meter on zero, first, so that you can see what that looks like. Not good. It's not good. So, do you see how I see the trees outside, I see the buildings across the street? It's natural for glass to have a reflection. That's natural. I don't want people to be so distracted by that reflection that they aren't even looking at what I'm photographing. And so, I want to do a couple things about that. First of all, I'm gonna switch lenses. And that is not because of the reflection, that is because, when you use a longer focal length, this is a big tip when you're using a small background, that compression will make the background sort of appear bigger, if you use a wide-angle lens, it's gonna show the edges more. So let me just show you the difference. So look at that. I'm gonna try to make the cake the same size. Probably should take off the lens cap, right? Within the image. (camera shutter closes) 'Kay, now we'll look at the difference, in perspective. Do you see how that fills a little bit better? 'Kay, it makes it so like if I had a really narrow background and I needed it to fill the whole entire back, switching to a longer lens is gonna help it fill more space. I'm gonna, I actually like it cropped in a little bit. So, let's do that. 'Kay, now let's fix that reflection. Now that we've got kind of where we want to be at, I'm gonna go a little bit brighter on my exposure. (camera shutter closes) Then I think it'll be better. So, now we've figured that out, let's figure out the reflection, 'kay? Now it's really bad because we've brightened it up and it's really showing up. So, I'm gonna have my assistants, we might need two people on this, because we don't want you to stand in front of the light. Yeah, trust me. Okay, and I'm gonna kind of adjust them until I can see the reflection right now, So I'm gonna have you guys come in even closer, closer, a little higher, right there. And then pull it as tight as you can, 'kay? So this is just a sheer piece of fabric that goes on front of a soft box. But, any sheer piece of fabric would work in the same way. (camera shutter closes) 'Kay, so now it's not showing the building across the street, and it's a lot better. But I'm still not loving it, so I would probably actually adjust my angle a little bit. (camera shutter closes) 'Kay, do you see how that's getting better? It's less distracting. Right there, there we go. It's much less distracting when it's just a white reflection, than when we have like really dark things coming in. Now the other thing that we can do, leave that white there, but now I want to get rid of even more. Sometimes that's just enough, like just having the reflection be plain white is enough. Sometimes it's not enough, it's still distracting. So, now, let me see this... Okay, can you come in, just right there? Yup. So I'm blocking a lot of my light, I just am. That's the way it is, but remember, I can have a long shutter speed and still get a good exposure. (camera shutter closes) Let's see that. 'Kay, so do you see how I can manipulate where the highlights really are? Where the reflections really are? To sort of create a much better image in the end? And actually, since it's blocked this way now, I could come from any direction, really, and take the photograph, and it's gonna look better than before. And I'm still, okay, so there's another reflection that's sort of right in the center of the cake, that's coming from back here, because we have white behind us, and so if I had another black board, I would hold it up from this direction, just to block whatever that white reflection is that's coming in. But we don't-- Actually, we have some. Oh we do? Well lemme grab it. It's just right over there. Okay, and I literally have photographed rooms where we have like five boards, like blocking reflections from different ways. So, that one, let me see... It's right over here. Let me see this. I'll grab it. It's gonna be... We've already sort of taken care of a lot of it, I think it was me. (audience laughing) It was me. It was me, I'm reflecting. Okay, so I'm gonna focus it, and then I'm gonna kinda hold it in front of me. (camera shutter closes) Then take it. If we blew that up you'd probably see like, my checkered, ahh... We've got it, look at that. Okay, so I'm good with this. We're gonna leave this at that. So, I think I actually kind of like, love this stuff. Like, it's super exciting to me to be like ooh, look at this problem and then fix it. And be like, I am awesome because I fixed that problem, right? I can't fix a lot of things in life, but I can fix this, and it really is just playing with black foam core board to sort of block it. Another option is, and I know a lot of people have asked about this, should you use a light tent? And if you're photographing a lot of small, really reflective material, a light tent is an amazing option. I am not teaching that in this class because I don't personally use them and I don't want to teach you anything that I don't really know. I'm gonna tell it to you straight, 'kay? Don't know how to do it any other way. I'm just a straight shooter kind of person, whether it's good or bad. And so, and I never want to be dishonest and be like yes, do this because I do. I've never really had the reason to use a light tent, I haven't photographed a lot of things like that. But, if you're photographing something small, that is super reflective, a light tent can be really helpful. And you don't just have to use it with lights, you can take it outside, or you can put it by your window and use it in a very similar way to the way we're photographing today, but then all of your reflections are white. Kind of the same thing we did with that white piece of fabric. You're basically just protecting it from showing anything, and that's how they photograph cars as well. In a white room, everything is white, and then they surround it by white fabric. And that's how they keep it from having weird reflections.

Class Materials

Bonus Materials with Purchase

Creating Visuals For Your Brand Assignment
Slide Presentation for Lessons Part 1
Slide Presentation for Lessons Part 2
Prop List

Ratings and Reviews

a Creativelive Student

This class taught by Candice was amazing. She teaches in such a step-by-step, easy to understand pace. She shares so much of her own tips and tricks she uses to create beautiful images without spending a fortune or having all kinds of expensive equipment. Having the DSLR lessons included was really great for anyone who wants to do more than the camera phones are capable of. Learning the basics of how to use a DSLR is confusing for most people, but Candice broke it down in the simplest way possible. Social media is all about imagery, so if you want to put out the most beautiful eye-catching photos, then you want to learn how to use more than the camera phone. I don't have a business where I need to take photos of things I sell and I still enjoyed her class so much. As a photographer, I am going to use her ideas and insight when I photograph things for fun. There is so much to gain from this class. I would highly recommend taking her class. She is a wealth of great ideas and information and has that friendly personality of someone you'd want to sit and have coffee with.


A wonderful class to get you going with craft/product photography. Candice provides (and shows) fantastic examples and it's really fun to watch her work through a shoot, moving items, etc. to create the final image. She also covers some basic photography tips which is very helpful. Great class! I definitely recommend to others!

Melinda Malamoco

I loved this class! Candice is so personable, clear and relatable. I would want to hang out with her and be creative! I have been taking pictures for YEARS, and for my Etsy store for over two years, and I still learned a lot in her class. The lessons are set up in a way that you can follow, take what you want and don't worry about what you don't need. I will say that I got a TON of ideas for how to better display my brand, what my personal style is and how to be consistent with it. I so recommend this class for anyone who has small business or just wants to be able to take better pictures of their products. Okay, off to build a prop kit!

Student Work