Tabletop lighting

Spend a few hours doing some table top stuff. The first subjects were a crystal vase and a small glass. Both being highly reflective. The important thing was to avoid any of their surfaces from reflecting any objects (including the light source) and giving away the shoot.

I got a large white mounting paper sheet for the ‘white seamless’ background and added another one at the base. The table was of rubber-wood which has a natural yellowish brown texture. Added 2 black sheets on either sides for negative fill (I could have added white sheets as well but after exprement, that wasnt working to my taste).

Vase and glass

Canon 7D. EF 85 1.8 at f2.5, 1/125

Used a single light – 580 exII at 1/128th power with a 5cm straw snoot (homemade – check DIY). The light was incident, vertically on the background and the white sheet was letting it spill over almost upto the base. Mounted on a Manfrotto tripod – in the boom (horizontal) mode.

The vase and glass were about 1.5′ away from the background. I was quite satisfied with how it came out. Ofcourse theres always room for improvement.

I received the Alcatel-Lucent IPD quality award for my work last year. Thought of making use of the crystal jar and glass (same from the Vase shoot). Heres they are with two A4 size print papers doubled over their long side and the pairs placed side by side for background.

IPD Quality Award

Canon 7D. EF 85 1.8 at f2.0 1/250

It may not seem like, but they are resting on a chair with a white sheet for positive fill from camera right. The lighting is the same as the one above. Just that its moved (off center) a lil to camera left.

The third subject was a steel flask, orange colored and semi smooth steel finish. It was still quite fine to reflect things kept around. So care had to be taken there.

Setup was same as that for the Vase. There were two lights this time. One was the SB600 with a 5cm snoot right over the cap of the flask (notice how the cap has some hot spots) and second was a homemade 18″ beauty dish (with a 580EXII at 1/128) placed very close to the flask on camera left and diffused with a white cloth. The flask was placed almost at the base of the white seamless. You can see how it creates a shadow at the bottom of the flask surrounded by a halo.

Sleek Flask

Sleek Flask: Canon 7D. EF 85 1.8 at f5.6, 1/160

The next one is Alcatel-Lucent’s coffee mug. This was lit up with a 580 exII with a 5cm snoot over it, from camera left. The light was directly hitting the cup on the side. On camera right was a white reflector kicking back the same light into the cup’s other side. The colorful circles in the background are created by colored light bulbs (those used for Diwali lighting).

twinkle cup

Canon 7D. EF 85 1.8 at f1.8, 1/200.

And last but not the least is this silhouette of a toy WW-II Mustang bomber – with no flashes at all. Just the light emitted by those tiny bulbs was enough for this one.


EF 85 1.8 at f1.8, 1/100

My deepest regards to product photographers who make every picture a unique experience with their ideas and their understanding of different material properties which make it so very different from portraiture.

← Previous post

Next post →


  1. Uday Mullangi

    I liked the alcate-lucent quality award mug pics !…Esp the bluish background…The pebbles add more value to the pic…nice shot!

  2. quality award :))
    What have you gotten yourself into 🙂
    just kidding – great pics.
    Your submit comment button was missing for some time now, hence I did not comment on your earlier ‘outings’

    • Thanx a lot Mahesh.. Perhaps the missing button was a bug. But then I didnt do anything to fix it now.. :).. well thats what you call ‘software’ 🙂

  3. Nice experiment and surprised to see that paper and one light can produce such effect. I work in Alcatel_lucent Sydney and liked A-L mug picture. Awesome work. Thanks for sharing.

  4. Bharath

    Exquisite.. The detailing adds lot more value to the pictures..

  5. Keep up the good work, I like your writing.

  6. Thanx folks.. I appreciate



  8. Martins


    I wonder how did you made diy beauty dish?

    • Made it with a bunch of disposable tetra-pack plates. One place at the center and adding cut sections to its sides to increase the diameter. This is light enough to go over my 580 EXII without making me nervous of any overloads on the lens head.

Leave a Reply