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Crystal Glass Photography Tips

Crystal glass photography has its own challenges with all those facets ready to bounce light and pick up reflections from all directions. Not disimilar to the challenges faced when shooting gemstones. Here we’ll show you a few tips on how best to capture this tricky subject.

crystal glass photography banner

Our Facebook follower Ls Chee pointed out we have no examples or posts on how to shoot crystal vases and asked if the Modahaus TS400 was the right tabletop studio for the job. So we dug out our slightly tarnished and dusty claret jug, the nearest we have to a crystal vase, for a quick demo of how we’d tackle this subject.

Crystal Glass Photography lighting

As Ls Chee guessed, we’d suggest the TS400 for larger vases or indeed the TS320 would be suitable for smaller vases.

crystal glass photography two rear side lights


The shot above shows the TS400 in the standard position with the Smartcase used as a light diffusing and reflection control enclosure with the Jet Black backdrop. The lights we used were two LED gooseneck table lamps from Ikea called JANSJO. With crystal and glass the best position for your lighting is often on either side and to the rear of the subject. This light performs in two ways.

crystal glass photography claret jug

Firstly this lighting illuminates the crystal from the rear which helps bring out the facets and clarity of the cut crystal and secondly it illuminates the side walls of the TS400 Smartcase which in turn gives clean white reflections in the crystal especially around the perimeter. A good thing to remember in product photography lighting is ” the angle of incidence (of light) is equal to the angle of reflection”. This is especially so with highly reflective subjects like crystal and gemstones. With multi faceted and rounded subjects it’s often surprising to find how far behind the light source is, that is creating that perfect highlight. To position a light for that perfect highlight I often thing of the beam of light as a rubber ball travelling at speed and guess where it would have to come from to bounce of that part of the subject and be deflected directly towards the camera! An odd analogy I know! But it works for me 😉 Check out how we lit the wine bottle in this post with one LED light. It also shows how to use the additional ‘Bottle Strip’ that comes with the TS400 model.

crystal glass photography pink vase


We don’t have any more crystal to shoot but this one above is a vase.


The shot above shows the Modahaus Tabletop Studio TS400 in the upright position for those taller vases and subjects. You can configure the Smartcase in a variety of ways and this example shows how to diffuse two side lights in the upright position. That’s the new Mid Gray backdrop being used for a post we’re working on right now.

Hope that helps you Ls Chee and hope you can share some of your crystal vase images with us, Lex

Check out our other Guides and Blog posts for more tips on the versatile Modahaus system. You can connect with us via RSS, Email signup, Twitter or Facebook to keep fully up to date.

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