Shooting Items on a Reflective Surface

One great trick up any product photographer’s sleeve is shooting items with a natural reflection. It makes whatever you’re shooting pop that much more and it’s a little trick that looks cool and wows the senses. This technique makes items richer looking, a little sleeker, and aren’t your average product on #255 white background photo.


Now what I did was pick up a 12 inch by 12 inch piece of reflective black acrylic. The reflective surface gives a fantastic reflection. This is a natural reflection and you would have to be careful about where the light source is coming from. If you shoot the item with direct light you would lose the reflection. I suggest to play around with your positioning before you decide to shoot. For something like this I would also recommend using a tripod as you may need a steady camera position.  Here is the before:


This is the unedited version of the photo. It looks…alright. Taking the original image into Lightroom let me crop the foreground area and tweak the image settings to crisp the item, make the colors pop, and one trick I like to use for an image like this is a tad of a post-crop vignette. You can mess around with the vignette setting for product shots because it yields some great results without much additional post production work. For this shot I had my camera settings at 1/60 , f2.8, and ISO of 640 using a 100MM lens. The camera settings plus the natural light in the room yielded great results.

Here is another example using the same settings but with a different item:


I shot this using natural light with an additional black felt mini background. In case you are wondering – Yes – that is my couch I used as a table. This was a knickknack that was on my shelf that I figured would be good as an example as it’s a nice looking piece that looks great mixed with a black reflective surface. As of now the image doesn’t look like much but after some post processing we get something visually stimulating.


Once again using Lightroom I made the colors pop plus crisped up the image. I then transferred the file into Photoshop to clone out the border between the stand and background (notice the beige line in the original)

Buy Acrylic Board on

This is a very meager setup that achieves some excellent results. Many times it’s not how you get the image but the final product itself. Don’t get discouraged if you don’t have all the elaborate equipment some photographers may have. Use your head and think about the final piece as opposed to what gets you there.

You can pick up the reflective surface on Amazon for a pretty great price. The rest is up to you. Create some magic out there!

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This entry was posted by Richard Storm.

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