Some of us like to take ‘before and after’ photos of our renovations. It seems to make our renovation efforts even more worthwhile when we can show other people what we have achieved. And these days the before and after photos often end up on Facebook.
Unfortunately, some materials, like tiles and glass, are tricky to photograph because the shiny surfaces reflect light, and the photos end up with shiny hotspots. If we are to successfully take photographs of these surfaces we need to take the right approach to setting up the light.
It is possible to fix some photo hotspots with Photoshop, but it is preferable to get things right on the initial photo image.
When we look at tiles, glass and other shiny surfaces we usually overlook the bright spots, unless they are very intense. It’s just that our brain tends to tune these things out. But when we see the same scene in a photo the bright spots are all too evident, partly because we are removed from the lighting environment that created those reflections. So the reflections must be avoided when taking the photo image.
Diffuse light will help. Instead of light coming directly from an overhead bulb or an open window you can reflect light off a white surface, like a linen cloth, foam boards, or an inverted umbrella. This scatters light so that it is more evenly spread over the photographic surface.
Try adjusting the angle of the light and reflective surface to get the best results. Look through the camera to find what looks best.
Set up the camera on a tripod so that it is positioned above and angled slightly downward. Our minds tend to imagine things from a slight upward angle so this type of photo is usually a safe bet. Try other angles if you feel they suit that particular situation.
Use white balance on the camera to get the colours right.
Because the camera is on a tripod you can take a longer exposure. This means a moderately lit photo can still look like a standard daylight situation.
As digital memory is cheap you can take several photos and just keep the few that work well. Don’t be afraid to experiment.
Some paintwork and some peel and stick tiles are enough to transform any bathroom or kitchen. And the tiles can be done is an hour or two with virtually no clean-up.