How to take photos of framed pictures without capturing the reflections

A friend of mine asked me for a print of a picture I had made a little while ago, and I wanted to show the picture within the frame. I was going to do a quick iPhone picture and put it online, but my dear wife told me off and told me to do it properly. I sulked a bit, then I decided to get on with it.

This is the original file:

Original

This was printed at 20×16″ on glossy paper, then double mounted and put in a brushed metal frame. The first picture I took of this looked like this.

Not so great

which is a lovely picture of the inside of my living room! Not really the desired effect. You can also see the camera. The other issue I had with this picture was white balance: the wall looks yellow when it should be white, and to balance it out, the image has a purple cast to it.

So I had a think about it and the issue is one of balanced light. The light hitting the picture is the same light hitting everything else. So I needed to increase the amount of light on the picture while reducing the amount of light on what would be the reflections. What was that we were saying about problem solving?

So my solution was flashes. I added two flashes, one camera left and another camera right. One flash was set to be wirelessly triggered, the other was set to slave. i think the power output of both was about the same. Here’s a diagram:

lighting-diagram-1422906515

Because this picture was hung in a corner, some of the light was going to bounce out and onto the camera, so I put the 50mm lens on instead of the 35mm, which allowed me to move the camera further away and have less light on it.

Then I switched the light off in the room, set up the ten second timer, and done. The result is below:

Better

You can still see the camera in the reflection, so I reckon to perfect this shot you’d need to go even further with the focal length. The white balance was set to flash in camera so it looked good already and needed no adjustments.

To get this effect without flashes, you’re going to have to find somewhere bright and stand somewhere dark. The glass doesn’t stop reflecting, so you have to stop illuminating the objects that are being reflected. If you had a well lit room and could stand outside the room in a darker area, you may be able to get the same effect.

In case you were wondering, you can’t have the flash on the camera, because then you’d get the reflection of the flash.

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