Last year I made an article about getting good gradient reflections on surfaces, but after a while of using this that I’ve come to realize that I actually get slightly better (and easier) results with a different technique.
You can consider this as he second part of the How To Get Gradient Reflection On Surfaces tutorial.
I bought a piece of acrylic sheet and having a play with it lately, but this is the first time I will be using it in one of my articles.
1. Like in the previous tutorial the first thing to understand when working with reflective surfaces is that they behave like mirrors. This means the actual view is not just set by what you shoot, but it also depends on the camera position, and what it makes the surface reflect.
The best thing to do to plan this is to place your camera on a tripod, and use your lights (or even your hand) to see where the reflection of the subject is pointed.
2. For this technique, we will be using a scrim to get a smooth gradient light.
For the scrim, I used a white acrylic sheet. If you do the same and am using a scrim, you need to make sure that is has no creases. Otherwise they might show in the reflection; this is why I prefer to use a white translucent acrylic sheet for this technique. Acrylic = no seems and creases.
Using a Strip box
I placed a cheap $40 studio light with a strip box on the right of the acrylic sheet to get a gradient from one side of the scrim to the opposite side.
You can see that you get a linear gradient effect also on the glossy reflective surface of the iPad.
Using a speedlight diffuser
Now for this shot I placed an sb-600 with a Stofen omnibounce diffuser directly at the back of the acrylic sheet.
For this shot I used a strip light at the back of the acrylic sheet as a main light, after I placed a few small DIY boards with wrapped with foil to bounce the light back to the subject and get some highlights on the side of the phone.
For this iPad shot I used the same setup but I placed an omnibounce’ed sb-600 on the back of the scrim to get a different gradient effect.
Same setup of using an sb-600 with stofen omnibounce but to get a smoother transition, I placed another acrylic sheet in front of the scrim.
Acrylic sheet on the left side of the subject with a strip light, white illustration board on the right for the fill light, and an sb-600 with small softbox above the camera to get lights on the logo of the glass.
This is it for this time, no go practice…