Share Discuss Tabletop Photography Techniques

Joined
Sep 13, 2007
Messages
17,390
Location
Northern VA suburb of Washington, DC
  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #161
I stopped by a pile of wood someone had put on the curb for a trash pickup and got a 2" x 12" x 60" piece of really old wood. I'll cut it into two or three pieces for use as background and tabletop material. The timing is great because I have some wine to photograph that might look really good with that wood. There are more pieces on the bottom of the stack, so I might return and get another piece when I've got the time to wrestle with everything.
 
Joined
Sep 13, 2007
Messages
17,390
Location
Northern VA suburb of Washington, DC
  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #162
where you get your various surfaces (black, white transluscent, etc)
When you first asked about that, I had lost all of my bookmarks pertaining to those types of products. I now have a need for some glossy, black, opaque plexiglass and realized that Amazon has a lot of offerings. You only need 1/8" thick material, not the thicker, more expensive materials. I ordered a 12" x 12" piece priced at $12 including free next-day shipping. That would be large enough for photographing your jewelry. 12" x 24" and 24" x 24" pieces are available, the larger size costing $23 including free shipping (though not next-day shipping).

I was really surprised that 12" x 12" pieces are also available in bright colors for only $13 each. I'm not sure I have a need for those considering that I can fairly easily put up a brightly colored background that is reflected in the black plexiglass tabletop. Even so, that reflection won't be as bright as when the tabletop material itself is a bright color. That might be an interesting look for my drop art photography.

Once in Amazon, search on black plexiglass. Yes, even the brightly colored plexiglass will also be displayed because one of the colors in that offering is black.
 
Last edited:
Joined
Sep 13, 2007
Messages
17,390
Location
Northern VA suburb of Washington, DC
  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #163
While looking for stuff mentioned in my previous post, I came across a set of products I had never heard of that will supposedly remove scratches from plexiglass. The problem with glossy plexiglass, which is used in tabletop photography to produce nice reflections, is that it scratches unbelievably easily. Has anyone successfully used the product shown below or any other product to remove scratches?

https://www.amazon.com/Source-Thick-Acrylic-Plexiglass-Sheet/dp/B07BZQTXX4/ref=sr_1_10_sspa?crid=2YMT6F7O6ZQPZ&dchild=1&keywords=black+plexiglass&qid=1599751895&sprefix=black+plexiglass,aps,214&sr=8-10-spons&spLa=ZW5jcnlwdGVkUXVhbGlmaWVyPUEzS0QyM1NVUDU3TFNTJmVuY3J5cHRlZElkPUEwMzcxMzM3U1BGUEZGVzRMMFVWJmVuY3J5cHRlZEFkSWQ9QTA1OTA0MzAxSThEUUdCQk8xMUMzJndpZGdldE5hbWU9c3BfbXRmJmFjdGlvbj1jbGlja1JlZGlyZWN0JmRvTm90TG9nQ2xpY2s9dHJ1ZQ&th=1
 
Some time ago I bought some floor tiles in different colors and a couple of plexiglass squares in black and white at Home Depot, and I also have a bright orange plexiglass square that I got at Amazon, which I've used a few times as either backdrop or surface. Yes, plexiglass does scratch easily and the black in particular also shows dust easily, too!
 
Joined
Oct 9, 2005
Messages
27,740
Location
Moscow, Idaho
While looking for stuff mentioned in my previous post, I came across a set of products I had never heard of that will supposedly remove scratches from plexiglass. The problem with glossy plexiglass, which is used in tabletop photography to produce nice reflections, is that it scratches unbelievably easily. Has anyone successfully used the product shown below or any other product to remove scratches?

https://www.amazon.com/Source-Thick-Acrylic-Plexiglass-Sheet/dp/B07BZQTXX4/ref=sr_1_10_sspa?crid=2YMT6F7O6ZQPZ&dchild=1&keywords=black+plexiglass&qid=1599751895&sprefix=black+plexiglass,aps,214&sr=8-10-spons&spLa=ZW5jcnlwdGVkUXVhbGlmaWVyPUEzS0QyM1NVUDU3TFNTJmVuY3J5cHRlZElkPUEwMzcxMzM3U1BGUEZGVzRMMFVWJmVuY3J5cHRlZEFkSWQ9QTA1OTA0MzAxSThEUUdCQk8xMUMzJndpZGdldE5hbWU9c3BfbXRmJmFjdGlvbj1jbGlja1JlZGlyZWN0JmRvTm90TG9nQ2xpY2s9dHJ1ZQ&th=1
I have used something like that to successfully remove a lot of scratches from the instrument panel of a couple of cars.
 
Joined
Aug 18, 2011
Messages
681
Location
USA
This may be of interest.

Regarding dust, I once read of a technique that used a thin sheet of glass over black paper or foam core, the theory being that glass was easier to clean and keep that way. If you dust glass with care, it won't build a static charge as readily as plastic will. There are also DIY dust repellent solutions -- no idea if they work. Finally, if you know an audiophile, maybe you can borrow their Zerostat for you photo session. :)

Tabletop photo surfaces (just passing along the link, certainly not an endorsement). I got my white plastic sheet out of the scrap bin at a supply house for next to nothing.
 
Last edited:
Joined
Sep 13, 2007
Messages
17,390
Location
Northern VA suburb of Washington, DC
  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #169
Good stuff, @Lucky Duck ! I do remember the Zerostat product. I look forward to reviewing everything in great detail that you provided.

I once read of a technique that used a thin sheet of glass over black paper or foam core, the theory being that glass was easier to clean and keep that way.
Just be aware that glass is a reflective surface that produces a reflection unlike glossy black acrylic or a mirror. It can work great if the reflection style is what you want; otherwise, not so.
 
Joined
Aug 18, 2011
Messages
681
Location
USA
Just be aware that glass is a reflective surface that produces a reflection unlike glossy black acrylic or a mirror. It can work great if the reflection style is what you want; otherwise, not so.
Good point. I never tried it myself. I suppose there might be ways around it, like dulling spray, but I've never used that either. I worked with either a matte surface or dark granite for what little I did.
 
Joined
Sep 13, 2007
Messages
17,390
Location
Northern VA suburb of Washington, DC
  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #171
This may be of interest.
It's rare that we have to photograph black glass, but the principles can be applied to any opaque glass regardless of the color. The big question in my mind: why did the photographer leave the tiny, bright reflections of the light source in the images? They don't reveal the color, shape or texture of the image (they actually disguise the color) and they would be so easy to remove using a clone tool. My guess is that the photographer feels that they reveal the shiny surface, but that's questionable at best in my mind. Moreover, using a white reflector to add a reflection to the subject would have both revealed the shape and shiny surface of the subject, so I don't understand why that wasn't done.

I actually have some materials that can be used as tents as explained in the tutorial, so hopefully I'll remember to try using them the next time I photograph dark, opaque glass.
 
Joined
Aug 18, 2011
Messages
681
Location
USA
It's rare that we have to photograph black glass, but the principles can be applied to any opaque glass regardless of the color. The big question in my mind: why did the photographer leave the tiny, bright reflections of the light source in the images?
I wondered that as well, but I posted the link more for the techniques illustrated rather than the results. Maybe the final images weren't posted? I didn't read it that carefully.

Here are a couple from a presentation I gave. I left the reflections in the center of the glass because it was not important to remove them in this case.

_DSC9870.jpg
Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)
_DSC9869.jpg
Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)
 
Joined
Sep 13, 2007
Messages
17,390
Location
Northern VA suburb of Washington, DC
  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #174
Those products are interesting because they provide a reflective surface on one side and a matte surface on the other side for the same price as products that provide a reflective surface on both sides. I would tend to buy the kind that has reflective surfaces on both sides. That's because when the first surface becomes too scratched, I begin using the other surface. It's really easy to keep black or white materials with matte surfaces handy, so there's huge benefit to me to buy a material that is reflective on one side and matte on the other side.
 
Joined
Sep 13, 2007
Messages
17,390
Location
Northern VA suburb of Washington, DC
  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #177
I now have a need for some glossy, black, opaque plexiglass and realized that Amazon has a lot of offerings...I ordered a 12" x 12" piece priced at $12 including free next-day shipping.
The piece arrived. It's 12" x 12". It's black. It's got small imperfections and it's NOT glossy. To be fair, the description of it doesn't say that it's glossy. It actually produces a soft reflection, so considering that it was inexpensive, I'll keep it just to see what it's like working with this type of material.

I won't be surprised to learn that glossy acrylic is more expensive. It has been so long since I've ordered acrylic that I don't know what it generally costs.
 
Joined
Jan 22, 2019
Messages
1,880
Location
Jupiter, FL
Real Name
Andy
Has anyone successfully used the product shown below or any other product to remove scratches?
This looks similar to an automotive product that works wonders to restore various kinds of surfaces that have become scratched or fogged due to sun exposure and/or abrasion. Perhaps not economical compared to simply replacing the material, but I do like the idea of keeping reusable things out of the landfill.
 
Joined
Sep 13, 2007
Messages
17,390
Location
Northern VA suburb of Washington, DC
  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #180
Links on this page may be to our affiliates. Sales through affiliate links may benefit this site.
Nikon Cafe is a fan site and not associated with Nikon Corporation.
Forum post reactions by Twemoji: https://github.com/twitter/twemoji
Copyright © 2005-2019 Amin Forums, LLC
Top Bottom