Thursday, March 18, 2010

How to Photograph Glitter on Your Projects

This project was featured:

You have spent a great deal of time on your project and made sure every detail was just perfect, even down to adding glitter so it will sparkle and shine. Now you want to show it off to your friends, submit it for publication, or post on your blog, but the glitter doesn't show up. Well, maybe it does, but it appears to be more "satin" than glitter. Now what? How do you convince the viewer that your project really does sparkle and shine and looks so beautiful?

I have been asked this question a number of times and I have even asked the question myself - especially since I work for a glitter company -  P K Glitz, Inc.! I finally resorted to asking two professional photographers and they were a little stumped and told me it was rather difficult, gave me a few pointers, one of which "make sure you are using direct sunilght. Of course, they were newspaper photographers(nothing wrong with that) and frankly, I don't think they have to worry about photographing glitter all that much. LOL

A few years ago I had purchased a Cross Screen filter for my DSLR so that I could capture the "twinkle" on my Christmas tree lights and decorations. This past Christmas I made some ornaments from acrylic shapes and embossing glitter. When I photographed my tree (using my filter lens), I got this magnificent sparkle on the ornaments I had created!


At that moment I realized I had stumbled upon the solution to my problem! But then I thought, what if someone finds out I am cheating by using a filter? And then I realized I needed to just to get over myself - after all, this is not a professional photo shoot, and I am not a professional photographer, so who really cares? The ideas is to photograph the project so that you (my readers) can get a glimpse of what I am creating, right?

So here is my simple solution. You will first need a photo filter like this one for your SLR camera. Check with local camera store to see which one will work for your camera model.


Next you will need some direct sunlight. I prefer to shoot in the morning, but afternoon sun will work just fine. No sunlight? Try finding a very well lit place in your home and set your project so that you have some good direct lighting on your subject.


Here is my project (above) in the direct morning sunlight without my filter. As you can see, I get a little "bling" but not much. The glitter actually has a more satin finish than sparkle. And believe me, P K Glitz does sparkle!!! (You can click on the photos to enlarge them to see the details)

I left my tin in the same position and retook the photo using my Cross Screen filter. See the difference? Look at that bling!!!

Here is my my finished photograph. Can you just see all of the sparkle??

If you have a point and shoot camera, you might want to check to see if it has a beach/snow setting. This will help pick up some sparkle, especially if you will set it in direct sunlight. Here is what I was able to accomplish with my Xacti Video/Camera using the beach/snow setting.


I hope this tutorial has helped you and that it has answered some of your questions. Please leave your questions in the comment section along with an email address so I can respond. Also, please let me know what you think of the tutorial.

Get your camera out and start capturing that sparkle!!!
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