This is harder than it looks

I’m working on some Christmas-themed photos for my portfolio, starting with a couple of ornaments I picked up on sale a couple of weeks ago. How hard could it be to photograph a single ornament, right?

Well, I’ve been trying to take this one’s picture … actually, I have been taking its picture … nearly every day since. I’ve tried incandescent light, studio lights, filtered daylight, direct sunlight, flash, and every combination of those that I could think of. I fooled with ISO, aperture, white balance, and exposure compensation. I have shot nearly 200 frames and finally, finally! got one that I’m reasonably happy with tonight.

Santa ornament

It doesn’t really look that complex, does it? Heh. Perhaps you might think, as I once did, that product photography is a cinch because the subjects don’t move. No, but they do present the same challenges as most other photographic subjects: wide variation in light and dark areas, reflective surfaces, irregular edges that defy clipping, and of course three dimensions that make it tricky to get both the front edge and the back edge of a fat little ornament in sharp focus.

I haven’t hit the bulls-eye on this one yet but I got as close as I think I can. For now. As my technique and equipment improve, I will revisit this subject to see if I can’t capture a yet more perfect likeness of it. In the meantime, I am happy to move on to other subjects that I hope will be more cooperative!


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