How to Photograph Glass
Tips from GPSA Members

Wildflower Antiques  Photo Secrets

1. Choose a monochrome, unpatterned, non-reflective base and background.
I use either a bath towel or a sheet, in black or white.  Some sellers use blue felt for clear glass items.  Never choose a background that is the same color as the item, such as the blue background of the cobalt item in the third picture on this page.

Whatever you choose should be large enough to drape both behind and under the object to be photographed.  Never photograph an item on a mirror.  Who can tell where the mirror ends and the item begins?


2. Get a tripod for your camera and use it.
Choose a background in a neutral color that will gently contrast with the item.
Even the slightest movement of the camera can make your photos blurry. This is especially true in close-up shots and when you are using low lighting. Tripods are fairly inexpensive (I bought one for less than $20 at Best Buy) and will quickly pay for themselves in clearer more attractive pictures for your auction listings.

"Glass is both reflective and transparent.  Its reflective properties can pick up the color of the background, and its transparency lets any pattern show through."


3. Try to use natural indirect light.
Many forms of artificial light will alter the color of glass items. I always take photos indoors.  Direct sunlight can also alter the color of some glass in a photo, and will cause unwanted glare.  My favorite time to take glass pictures is on a cloudy overcast day, or either early in the morning or at dusk.  The point is to take them with the lowest lighting  conditions possible to

still get a good photo.  Some sellers have success using flash with clear glass, but, in general, don't use a flash.

Do you need to use artificial light?
Click here for more lighting tips.

Antique glass displayed on a lace tablecloth is lovely in a shop, but the lace can make it impossible to distinguish a glass pattern in a photograph, as shown above.


4. Good editing makes good photos.
Image Editing Software

There are many good software programs to use for editing photos in a wide range of prices.  Like anything else, you get what you pay for, so get the best program you can afford.  I use Adobe Photo Deluxe Business Edition.  Whatever one you choose, it should have the ability to crop, rotate in small increments, adjust contrast and brightness, size the finished image in inches, and save as a .jpg file.  You may also want a feature that puts text into the image.

Editing Steps
1. If your image is crooked, or on its side, rotate the photo until the item looks level to the eye.

2. Adjust the brightness and contrast until the item and its background look pleasing.  Don't change/edit/enhance the color of an item.  This could be construed as a mispresentation of your item.

3. Crop the photo leaving an even margin of background   around the item.  Cropping too close will make the item appear out of proportion and not show off its pretty edges.

DON'T use  distracting or mis-matched background.  It can take away from your photo, like this one.

4. Size the photo.  If you use more than one photo in your auction listings, and they appear stacked one on top of the other, size them all by width.  If you display them side by side, size them by height.  This will give your listing a neat, consistent appearance.  I have found that a 5 inch width works well in my listing format.  You will have to experiment with different sizes to determine what works best for you.

5. If you want to add text to your image, now is the time to do that.

6. Save the image in the .jpg format.  The photo size that  I have described will be around 30k.

7. Your photo is now ready to be uploaded to a hosting site on the internet!

"Whatever background you choose should be large enough to drape both behind and under the object to be photographed."

from Wildflower Antiques
A bath towel was used as background for this shot.  The plain background allows you to see the optic in the bowls of the these goblets.


A Tip From WGPaul to Show Patterns on Glass

I learned this tip by accident one day when reading a book about glass.  The preface said that some patterns had been "highlighted using powder."  I thought "I can do that for my eBay auctions."  I tried it, and here are the results!  If you try it, don't forget to mention that you've used powder in your description.

Before  After 

So, you don't have an expensive light box?

If you have a super color you want to capture in transparent glass, try photographing in front of a window, but tape a piece of wrapping tissue on the window first. I built up a 'platform' so the piece would be silhouetted against the paper. A sliding patio door is good for this, as you won't have to deal with a smaller window frame in the way.

After cropping the original picture to remove the unwanted background, here is the result. It shows the color and molded-in pattern without distracting glare from a flash, or unwanted background detail.

     from covhouseteex

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