Tabletop Reflection Project

I took these photos with the help of the frame pieces of our light tent.  If you aren’t sure what a light tent is, or are interested in building your own, check out our DIY: Building a Light Tent post from earlier this year. The light tent is a useful tool for taking pictures but it has its limitations.

I started this Tabletop Reflection project to test my new glass table top. My goal was to create a strong reflection of a subject and capture it in a photo. To achieve this, I purchased a glass table top for $20 and placed it on top of a black matte board.

Click on “more…” for behind the scenes pictures and “How-To” notes.

For this shoot I wanted to have a pure black background, but our small light tent dosn’t provide enough distance from the subject to the background to achieve this.  I also wanted a good amount of reflection in the picture, which also requires more space.  The pieces of our light tent were never glued together, so I was able to pull them apart and put them together in a different way to create a background frame.

I did this once before when taking some pictures of a mother’s day cake.  The cake fit nicely into the light tent but I was having a hard time creating even light.  I needed more distance between the light source and the subject to create a larger area of even light.  For the cake shoot I used an umbrella with a speedlight off to one side.  For the Tabletop Reflection project I used a soft box positioned above the table.

At first the result seemed to be exactly what I wanted, but I noticed two problems during processing.  The first issue was that the pictures had a strange green colour in places.  I quickly discovered that the glass tabletop has a slight green tint to it instead of being perfectly colourless.  This was easily fixed by reducing the saturation of green in Photoshop.  Fortunately the green tint didn’t create a problem with this shoot, but I  imagine issues could arise with the glass in future shoots.  The second problem was the quality of the reflection.  There is a small double reflection around bottom of the reflected lemons.  I came across a flickr discussion  that will help solve this problem in the future.

Front view of the setup.

Side view of the set up showing the background.

Back view of the set up showing the “L” shape background stand (made from our light tent pieces).


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