Brass name plates to photograph!

M
Posted By
mrcycleuk
Jun 10, 2006
Views
1056
Replies
9
Status
Closed
Hi all, I want to photograph some large brass engraved name plates. Some have been cleaned and are brightly polished!

I realize I should be able to tone down the brightness after taking them, with Photoshop,
But would welcome any idea’s anyone can give to photographing them and adjusting the image,
Thanks,
Mick.

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MH
Mike Hyndman
Jun 11, 2006
"Mick" wrote in message
Hi all, I want to photograph some large brass engraved name plates. Some have been cleaned and are brightly polished!

I realize I should be able to tone down the brightness after taking them, with Photoshop,
But would welcome any idea’s anyone can give to photographing them and adjusting the image,
Thanks,
Mick.

The brightness is dependant on the ambient light level/source, I doubt if the name plates generate their own light.
I would use a camera on a tripod without flash to shoot the plates and bracket the exposures. If the plates are outside, shoot on an overcast day or use a reflector. A bigger problem than "brightness" in a polished surface is reflections, you don’t want yourself and the camera to be in the picture! A polarizing filter will help in this situation.
If get all the above right, there should be nothing to do in PS.

MH
DA
Duncan Allan
Jun 11, 2006
If you have to photograph them then use an anti reflecting spray from a good photo store. It will stop the problem at the outset and avoid having to run hoops in Photoshop.

Use a light tent to even the light and stop the reflections too.

Prevention is better than a cure.

Duncan

"Mick" wrote in message
Hi all, I want to photograph some large brass engraved name plates. Some have been cleaned and are brightly polished!

I realize I should be able to tone down the brightness after taking them, with Photoshop,
But would welcome any idea’s anyone can give to photographing them and adjusting the image,
Thanks,
Mick.
M
mrcycleuk
Jun 11, 2006
Thank you Mike and Duncan, I put a sheet over the window, took them in the bright but shadow less light.
I am pleased with the result.

Will have a look for the spray though,
Mick.
"Duncan Allan" wrote in message
If you have to photograph them then use an anti reflecting spray from a good photo store. It will stop the problem at the outset and avoid having to run hoops in Photoshop.

Use a light tent to even the light and stop the reflections too.
Prevention is better than a cure.

Duncan
MH
Mike Hyndman
Jun 11, 2006
"Mick" wrote in message
Thank you Mike and Duncan, I put a sheet over the window, took them in the bright but shadow less light.
I am pleased with the result.

Will have a look for the spray though,
Mick.

Mick,

You’re welcome 😉

Mick H
"Duncan Allan" wrote in message
If you have to photograph them then use an anti reflecting spray from a good photo store. It will stop the problem at the outset and avoid having to run hoops in Photoshop.

Use a light tent to even the light and stop the reflections too.
Prevention is better than a cure.

Duncan

J
jeffc
Jun 11, 2006
Try pump, not aerosol, hairspray. It will dull the finish and clean off with water.
Buster
On Sun, 11 Jun 2006 21:24:35 +0100, "Mick"
wrote:

Thank you Mike and Duncan, I put a sheet over the window, took them in the bright but shadow less light.
I am pleased with the result.

Will have a look for the spray though,
Mick.
"Duncan Allan" wrote in message
If you have to photograph them then use an anti reflecting spray from a good photo store. It will stop the problem at the outset and avoid having to run hoops in Photoshop.

Use a light tent to even the light and stop the reflections too.
Prevention is better than a cure.

Duncan
C
Clyde
Jun 12, 2006
People, people! Don’t spray it with anything. Learn to control the light right and make it look better rather than worse.

For bright, shiny, reflective objects the key is to aim lights so the reflection off the object doesn’t bounce into the camera lens. The usual solution is to put the lights to the sides and aim them in at 45 degrees. Then the light bounces off the object and mainly out 45 degrees on the other side. If you use two lights from either side, everything is lit pretty even without the blinding highlights.

This works no matter how big the light is. Working under an overcast sky, north windows, light tent, large umbrella or softbox will give you big lights with softer edges to the shadows, but they are still directional. (OK, overcast skies and light tents are not very directional, but give really boringly flat lighting.) It may make your problem harder to shoot. By making the light bigger, you have more angles of bounce to consider. i.e. The right side of your light may be bouncing light past the lens while the left side is bouncing light into the lens.

Naturally, it often isn’t quite as simple as this. The reason is based on the amount of "shiny". If something has a mirror shine to it, you can bounce most or even all of the light off the flat surface right past the lens. That may be a problem in that the object never gets lit for the picture. (How do you take a picture of a mirror?)

The less "shiny" the object is, the more light will bounce off it at angles not considered in your geometric calculations. That means that more light will bounce into the lens. That is the reason for the spray suggestions for a shiny object. Of course, it is no longer a shiny object then; it is a matte object. That may make a easy picture, but it probably is not be the picture that is needed.

Matt or semi-shiny objects also work pretty well with the big light solution. It easy to just light the whole thing evenly and shoot. Actually you can do that with flat shiny things too. Just bounce all the light right into the lens. Your exposure will have to change to get it looking right, but it works just fine. However, the text or anything else that is there will be solid black. That’s not necessarily bad, but must be considered.

The nice way to shoot really shiny things is to make sure that the lights are reflected in the object. When the whole light or the edges of the light can be seen reflecting, the object really looks shiny. However, this is very hard to do creatively to make the object look it’s best. It take a lot of trial and error experimenting. It can often take a lot of lights too.

In my experience, most brass plaques are pretty shiny, but not full mirror shiny. I would use my studio lights without softboxes or umbrellas. I would put one on each side at 45 degrees to bounce past the lens. The direct lighting would highlight the text or whatever very nicely and give some light to the flat brass. I would want to do this in a white room that isn’t too big. That would give me secondary lighting from the bouncing flashes that would more evenly light the brass. If your room is too big or you need to play with how big, setup some white sheets or large paper around you and the lights. Try to keep the white stuff out of the direct angles of the flashes, but pick up the bounced light of the flashes.

Of course, you don’t have to use flashes either. Hot lights would work find too and you could better see what is going on.

Clyde

Buster wrote:
Try pump, not aerosol, hairspray. It will dull the finish and clean off with water.
Buster
On Sun, 11 Jun 2006 21:24:35 +0100, "Mick"
wrote:

Thank you Mike and Duncan, I put a sheet over the window, took them in the bright but shadow less light.
I am pleased with the result.

Will have a look for the spray though,
Mick.
"Duncan Allan" wrote in message
If you have to photograph them then use an anti reflecting spray from a good photo store. It will stop the problem at the outset and avoid having to run hoops in Photoshop.

Use a light tent to even the light and stop the reflections too.
Prevention is better than a cure.

Duncan
J
jeffc
Jun 14, 2006
Ok, your lighting is terrific. Now how do you deal with the reflection of your camera plate? I have had to shot some that were mirror polished.
Buster
On Mon, 12 Jun 2006 10:36:11 -0500, Clyde wrote:

People, people! Don’t spray it with anything. Learn to control the light right and make it look better rather than worse.

For bright, shiny, reflective objects the key is to aim lights so the reflection off the object doesn’t bounce into the camera lens. The usual solution is to put the lights to the sides and aim them in at 45 degrees. Then the light bounces off the object and mainly out 45 degrees on the other side. If you use two lights from either side, everything is lit pretty even without the blinding highlights.

This works no matter how big the light is. Working under an overcast sky, north windows, light tent, large umbrella or softbox will give you big lights with softer edges to the shadows, but they are still directional. (OK, overcast skies and light tents are not very directional, but give really boringly flat lighting.) It may make your problem harder to shoot. By making the light bigger, you have more angles of bounce to consider. i.e. The right side of your light may be bouncing light past the lens while the left side is bouncing light into the lens.

Naturally, it often isn’t quite as simple as this. The reason is based on the amount of "shiny". If something has a mirror shine to it, you can bounce most or even all of the light off the flat surface right past the lens. That may be a problem in that the object never gets lit for the picture. (How do you take a picture of a mirror?)

The less "shiny" the object is, the more light will bounce off it at angles not considered in your geometric calculations. That means that more light will bounce into the lens. That is the reason for the spray suggestions for a shiny object. Of course, it is no longer a shiny object then; it is a matte object. That may make a easy picture, but it probably is not be the picture that is needed.

Matt or semi-shiny objects also work pretty well with the big light solution. It easy to just light the whole thing evenly and shoot. Actually you can do that with flat shiny things too. Just bounce all the light right into the lens. Your exposure will have to change to get it looking right, but it works just fine. However, the text or anything else that is there will be solid black. That’s not necessarily bad, but must be considered.

The nice way to shoot really shiny things is to make sure that the lights are reflected in the object. When the whole light or the edges of the light can be seen reflecting, the object really looks shiny. However, this is very hard to do creatively to make the object look it’s best. It take a lot of trial and error experimenting. It can often take a lot of lights too.

In my experience, most brass plaques are pretty shiny, but not full mirror shiny. I would use my studio lights without softboxes or umbrellas. I would put one on each side at 45 degrees to bounce past the lens. The direct lighting would highlight the text or whatever very nicely and give some light to the flat brass. I would want to do this in a white room that isn’t too big. That would give me secondary lighting from the bouncing flashes that would more evenly light the brass. If your room is too big or you need to play with how big, setup some white sheets or large paper around you and the lights. Try to keep the white stuff out of the direct angles of the flashes, but pick up the bounced light of the flashes.

Of course, you don’t have to use flashes either. Hot lights would work find too and you could better see what is going on.

Clyde

Buster wrote:
Try pump, not aerosol, hairspray. It will dull the finish and clean off with water.
Buster
On Sun, 11 Jun 2006 21:24:35 +0100, "Mick"
wrote:

Thank you Mike and Duncan, I put a sheet over the window, took them in the bright but shadow less light.
I am pleased with the result.

Will have a look for the spray though,
Mick.
"Duncan Allan" wrote in message
If you have to photograph them then use an anti reflecting spray from a good photo store. It will stop the problem at the outset and avoid having to run hoops in Photoshop.

Use a light tent to even the light and stop the reflections too.
Prevention is better than a cure.

Duncan
C
Clyde
Jun 14, 2006
"Camera plate"? I don’t know what you are referring to.

Mirror polished metal should be shot like a mirror. You can’t really light the metal because all the light is reflected. So, you have to reflect all or some of the light into the camera or just light the engraving.

You could use a big light source like an umbrella or softbox or overcast sky and aim it so all the light is reflected into the lens. The whole brass plaque will look like a light source. Your exposure will have to be real short and with a high number f stop to avoid completely blowing out that light source. That should give you a bright plaque with darker engraving.

You could use multiple lights of different sizes and shapes and have them reflect into the camera in creative and artistic ways. In a way you would be taking a picture of a creative lighting arraignment that is framed by a brass plaque. Of course, your creative light arraignment might overshadow the subject of the picture – the brass plague.

You could aim the lights so they light up the engraving. This would be fairly low angled light that would really light up the edges of the engraving and make it pop out of a dark background. If it really is a mirror polish on the plaque and you have no ambient light, the plaque would be dark. However, it is pretty hard to get a brass plaque to a true mirror finish. So, some ambient light should light up the plaque enough to show. For example, you could put the plaque by a north window and then light from the side. Once you got the different light exposures right it should look pretty good.

If by "camera plate" you mean the reflection of the camera in the brass plaque, you solve that by making the light around the camera the same as the camera. If your camera is dark, make sure no light is coming from around the camera. You may have to cover the camera with a dark cloth. The camera should disappear in that darkness. The alternative is to make is all light around the camera. Then you usually have to cover all but the lens with white to make it even. The lens does have to stick out, but you can try to place its reflection in the least objectionable place in the plaque.

Clyde

Buster wrote:
Ok, your lighting is terrific. Now how do you deal with the reflection of your camera plate? I have had to shot some that were mirror polished.
Buster
On Mon, 12 Jun 2006 10:36:11 -0500, Clyde wrote:

People, people! Don’t spray it with anything. Learn to control the light right and make it look better rather than worse.

For bright, shiny, reflective objects the key is to aim lights so the reflection off the object doesn’t bounce into the camera lens. The usual solution is to put the lights to the sides and aim them in at 45 degrees. Then the light bounces off the object and mainly out 45 degrees on the other side. If you use two lights from either side, everything is lit pretty even without the blinding highlights.

This works no matter how big the light is. Working under an overcast sky, north windows, light tent, large umbrella or softbox will give you big lights with softer edges to the shadows, but they are still directional. (OK, overcast skies and light tents are not very directional, but give really boringly flat lighting.) It may make your problem harder to shoot. By making the light bigger, you have more angles of bounce to consider. i.e. The right side of your light may be bouncing light past the lens while the left side is bouncing light into the lens.

Naturally, it often isn’t quite as simple as this. The reason is based on the amount of "shiny". If something has a mirror shine to it, you can bounce most or even all of the light off the flat surface right past the lens. That may be a problem in that the object never gets lit for the picture. (How do you take a picture of a mirror?)

The less "shiny" the object is, the more light will bounce off it at angles not considered in your geometric calculations. That means that more light will bounce into the lens. That is the reason for the spray suggestions for a shiny object. Of course, it is no longer a shiny object then; it is a matte object. That may make a easy picture, but it probably is not be the picture that is needed.

Matt or semi-shiny objects also work pretty well with the big light solution. It easy to just light the whole thing evenly and shoot. Actually you can do that with flat shiny things too. Just bounce all the light right into the lens. Your exposure will have to change to get it looking right, but it works just fine. However, the text or anything else that is there will be solid black. That’s not necessarily bad, but must be considered.

The nice way to shoot really shiny things is to make sure that the lights are reflected in the object. When the whole light or the edges of the light can be seen reflecting, the object really looks shiny. However, this is very hard to do creatively to make the object look it’s best. It take a lot of trial and error experimenting. It can often take a lot of lights too.

In my experience, most brass plaques are pretty shiny, but not full mirror shiny. I would use my studio lights without softboxes or umbrellas. I would put one on each side at 45 degrees to bounce past the lens. The direct lighting would highlight the text or whatever very nicely and give some light to the flat brass. I would want to do this in a white room that isn’t too big. That would give me secondary lighting from the bouncing flashes that would more evenly light the brass. If your room is too big or you need to play with how big, setup some white sheets or large paper around you and the lights. Try to keep the white stuff out of the direct angles of the flashes, but pick up the bounced light of the flashes.

Of course, you don’t have to use flashes either. Hot lights would work find too and you could better see what is going on.

Clyde

Buster wrote:
Try pump, not aerosol, hairspray. It will dull the finish and clean off with water.
Buster
On Sun, 11 Jun 2006 21:24:35 +0100, "Mick"
wrote:

Thank you Mike and Duncan, I put a sheet over the window, took them in the bright but shadow less light.
I am pleased with the result.

Will have a look for the spray though,
Mick.
"Duncan Allan" wrote in message
If you have to photograph them then use an anti reflecting spray from a good photo store. It will stop the problem at the outset and avoid having to run hoops in Photoshop.

Use a light tent to even the light and stop the reflections too.
Prevention is better than a cure.

Duncan
J
jeffc
Jun 15, 2006
Yes , that’s what I meant. Sorry, I was typing too fast. On Wed, 14 Jun 2006 09:12:03 -0500, Clyde wrote:

"Camera plate"? I don’t know what you are referring to.

If by "camera plate" you mean the reflection of the camera in the brass plaque, you solve that by making the light around the camera the same as the camera. If your camera is dark, make sure no light is coming from

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