Posts Tagged ‘Art’

There’s a direct relationship to how much depth of field is created in a photo to the focal length of the lens, the aperture at which the photo is made, how close the subject is to the background, how far away the subject is from the camera, and how much the subject is magnified.

Focal Length – the more telephoto the lens, the less potential for near to far depth of field. The wider the lens, the greater the potential. For instance, an image made with a 28mm lens will inherently display more depth of field than a 100mm lens. So if you want to create shallow depth of field and you’re using a wide lens, it may not be possible. If you’re using a telephoto lens and you want to a subject close to the lens and a distant object to both be in focus, it may not be possible.

The Aperture – the wider open the lens, the less depth of field. The more it’s stopped down, the greater the depth of field. In other words, f4 will net shallower depth of field than f22 based on a given focal length. It’s important to realize the connection to focal length as explained above. If you’re using a telephoto lens, even though you set it to f22, you still may not be able to achieve near/far depth of field. Understanding how focal length and aperture go hand in hand is key!

Proximity to the Background – The farther away the subject is from the background, the more the background can be thrown out of focus. If the subject is very close to the background, it’s not possible to make the background go very soft even if you use a super telephoto lens and set the aperture to f4.

Distance From The Camera – If the subject is very close to the camera and the focus point is placed on the subject, there’s more potential to create shallow depth of field than if the subject is 25 or more feet away. Again, there’s a relationship to the focal length of the lens, the aperture at which it’s set and how far the background is from the subject.

Subject Magnification – The more macro the subject, the less depth of field. This area of depth of field is more specialized and it really is a subject unto itself but I just wanted to bring it up to let you know it’s a variable.

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Horse etched wineglass back-lighted on black background.

Photographing glass objects can be quite challenging, but there are some basic techniques that can be used to achieve fantastic results and with limited effort. Photographing glass doesn’t require expensive equipment for backdrops or even cameras themselves; it simply takes a basic understanding of how light disperses through glass and the best techniques for capturing that light in the most flattering way possible.

Graduated Background


A continuous tone background, also known as a graduated background, is a method for photographing glass objects that is popular with many industry professionals. A close examination of  any trade magazine or other publications will reveal how effective and simple this technique is. The continuous tone background allows the photographer to create an illusion of light fading into darkness as it moves away from the glass art piece. These backgrounds can be created or used independently, but they are most effective when used in conjunction with an art photography cube. The glass object is placed within the cube among the background that is curved outward and upward to create the deeper illusion of surrounding the glass object itself. These photographic cubes are relatively inexpensive and make the process of photographing glass art much more effective.

Under-lighting for Special Effects


Using a light panel beneath the glass art will have a dramatic and lasting impact on the images that are created of the glass object. This technique is ideal for clear glass objects that allow light to penetrate and travel up and through the glass to illuminate the artwork evenly. A panel light can be used independently of a cube, but is recommended that the two be used harmoniously. Under-lighting will create a natural graduated background that will bring out the natural tone and texture of the clear and transparent glass object.

Back-lighting with a Black Background


If the glass object that you have is clear, then a strong back-lighting with a black background (see photo of the Horse Etched Wineglass) will highlight the sensitive textures, cuts, and lines of the glass-work. Again, a photographer’s cube is the best solution for bringing this technique to its highest measure and achievement. Place a small black background strip in the center of the cube and add a strong lighting source behind it. Within the cube, the light will capture the best essence of the glass art. These are just a few of the techniques for photographing glass objects that I’ve tried.

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