Best way to photograph glassware?

Daisy7December 19, 2009

I have some glass ware from my MIL, and it turns out sis has her husbands greatgrandmother's glasses which are the same.

I plan to give her my pieces at Christmas, but want pictures to compare in case I find more in the future. I could always add to her set.

They have very delicate etching on them. Nothing that will show up well on camera.

A black background didn't work. Neither did filling one with milk. Any ideas on how to photograph these things?


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I find a white background works best for me, and I never use flash - that just blows out all the detail. If you can manage to have diffused light from the sides that helps. Get as close as you can without using a zoom feature and still stay in focus, sometimes a macro setting helps but not always. Oh, and try to photograph head on, or from a bit below, not from above. Hope that helps.

    Bookmark   December 19, 2009 at 12:16PM
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A set up as simple as a plain off-white tablecloth rigged three sides around a glass, you can let it flow or snap it tightly to whatever framework you made. The light sources are outside and a short distance from the fabric. Ideally, you want the entire fabric to 'glow', not just one bright spot where the light is. Place the glass on a pedestal (a cake stand under the cloth works well). Place the contraption in natural light if you can. If you must use room lights, diffuse them by putting a fabric between light and glass. If you use a flash, only use remote flash-don't use flash that's built onto the camera.

I have successfully highlighted etching by stuffing a sock into the glass. It looks really strange but the fabric gives light and shadow a place to rest. And it's easier to upend the glass (rest it on its rim instead of its pedestal) and focus down onto the outside of the bowl. You'll pick up more detail.

    Bookmark   December 19, 2009 at 3:02PM
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It's not easy....that's why a lot of the pictures on replacements are drawings of the pattern.
Linda C

    Bookmark   December 19, 2009 at 4:06PM
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white background (i usually use parchment paper), natural lighting, macro setting and tweak the definition, contrast and highlights in iphoto

Here is a link that might be useful: my blog/not related so much to this post

    Bookmark   December 24, 2009 at 8:31AM
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Hello all, I have a bunch of glass that I need help researching however there is so much out there. Is there a web site that shows how to identify unmarked glass. My camera is charging up right now as soon as it charges up. I'll post some pics of what I need help with. Thanks

    Bookmark   February 20, 2010 at 3:01AM
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If none of the above works, take a couple pieces to a professional that specializes in that type work.

My father is a jeweler and creates original pieces in yellow gold and white gold.
To get the detail needed, he takes his pieces to a professional.
It's not very expensive.
The photographer puts the images on disk and then Dad prints copies as needed.

    Bookmark   February 20, 2010 at 3:48PM
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