glass, rather than as they appear to the eye from the
camera position. Attempt to arrange them so they fill the
picture area in an interesting manner. Do not arrange
them in a long, narrow line with black space above and
below them.
Exploded view photographs provide the viewer
with positive identification of the many parts and pieces
that make: up a given machine, instrument, or
manufactured assembly. When photographed on a light
box, you can illuminate the shadows. The various parts,
shown in order of assembly, appear to float in the air in
correct alignment and perspective.
A substitute for the light-box background is a sheet
of plate glass firmly supported approximately 20 or 24
inches from the floor. Two floodlights, directed from
either side of the glass, bounce light evenly from the
white seamless paper on the floor up through the glass.
Preparing the Parts
Disassemble the parts carefully so they can be laid
out in order of assembly. Clean each piece thoroughly,
removing any lubrication or foreign deposits. Lay the
parts out as they are to be photographed, and study each
piece before you proceed. Large areas of stainless steel
or bright metal should be sprayed with a dulling spray
to prevent objectionable "hot spots." Smaller areas can
be treated with an eyeliner.
Where edges or screw holes do not show readily,
they can be edged with a black grease pencil.
Conversely, when the part is dark, white pencil or chalk
can be used to define it.
Setting Up the Parts
Place the parts on the glass in order of assembly. To
stand small parts up, mount them on a small strip or
square of acetate with a little beeswax supporting the
piece from behind. Even the smallest screw should be
mounted on a base so it can be slid into exact position
later. The base should be cut as small as possible so it
does not interfere with other parts lined up close to it.
Heavier pieces can be mounted on small squares of
To obtain an illusion of height, you can move the
parts away from the camera There is a limit to this
procedure, however, and when a part becomes too small
in relation to others, it should be elevated. Various size
blocks (painted flat white) and, in some cases, glass
shelves or long, narrow strips of glass are sometimes
Camera Angle
For the majority of subjects, the most desirable
camera angle is 45 degrees above and to the side of the
assembly. From this vantage point, you can see the top,
side, and end of most parts.
In photographing glass, it is the background and
reflections from the background that light the glass.
Glass objects can be pictured clearly by lighting them in
such a way that they stand out as dark outlined shapes
against a light background or as a light outlined shape
against a medium or dark background. These techniques
of lighting are actually variations of a basic silhouette
The Set
The setup for photographing glass products consists
of white seamless background paper. The background
paper is curved forward on the floor so it is completely
underneath the area containing the setup. Place two
supports, such as sawhorses or tables, on the forward
part of the background paper. The supports should be
spaced to hold a sheet of plate glass. The plate of glass
gives you a transparent worktable through which light
bounced off the background paper in back of and
underneath the glass product will pass. Strips of colored
or black paper can be attached, out of camera view, to
the background paper for edge effects to the glass
Because the light reflected from the background is
usually the only source of illumination, the film
exposure is relatively long. Proper camera equipment
and a sturdy tripod are necessary to prevent movement
during the rather long exposure.
The height or camera angle varies for different
subjects and showing the ellipse or oval of the rim adds
depth and roundness to the picture, since most glass
items you photograph are three-dimensional.
You should be able to darken the studio completely.
An overhead light, an exit sign, or even a light leak
around a door can cause problem reflections. And not
eliminating unwanted reflections results in much time
and effort wasted.
of personal taste. It can be learned by practice and by

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