Dark Field Lighting Technique

Dark Field Lighting Technique. Its not some evil Star Wars hocus pokus. Its a lesser known method for dramatically lighting glass and liquids.

I first blogged about Dark Field Lighting way back in 2010. Since then I have had the conversation with so many people that I thought I’d repost it again, with a few edits here and there.

Have you ever tried to photograph something thats made of glass? If you have you’ll know the problems with reflections, it usually results in your mugshot in one of the reflections possibly grining, or the window with the number 7 bus driving by! Not wholly professional and certainly it wont be of a standard that a client is willing to pay for.

Your solution therefore is the dark field method, before I get flamed by those in the know, yes there is an opposite technique called, yes you’ve guessed it Light Field Photography. Its a bit like the Ying and Yang of product photography lighting!

Dark Field Lighting

Firstly and most surprisingly theres no direct light and only one strobe used here, you could use a second snooted strobe camera left or right to pick out any detail if you felt like it.

The glass subject sat on something black I used foam core with glass ontop for that shiney look. A further piece of foamcore just big enough to fill the frame.So here’s the set up and its really simple.

Dark Field Lighting

The strobe is set below the table pointing directly at a white wall immediately behind all this. The room needs to be very dark to eliminate any reflections. In a small room you will have problems with reflections from the walls etc.

My product studio is small so to get round this I used reflective umbrellas black side out to both left and right nice and close in any other black ‘flag type’ props will do the job.

Heres a less styled shot with a bit more colour.

Dark Field Lighting

That is all there is to it, give it a go. I would be interested in hearing how any of you get on.

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