Photographing glass objects in a studio setting can be tricky, but there are simple techniques that produce stunning results. Glass objects like faceted crystal, etched glass and bottles can be lighted from underneath to produce dramatic illumination. This effect can be accentuated by placing the objects on a dark background. A light tent and daylight balanced illuminated flat panel are recommended for this table-top setup. I used an EZcube light tent and an old slide sorter light box. Place a large piece of matte black art paper over the light tent’s nylon sweep to create a continuous, seamless backdrop. The glass object is placed over a hole in the black paper that sits atop the light box. When the light box is turned on, the glass is evenly illuminated against the black backdrop.
My post processing involved taking three auto exposure brackets (-2EV, 0EV, +2EV) and merging them using the exposure fusion process in Photomatix. The resulting image created a jet black background and brilliant, crisp glass. Experimenting further, I added some fresh Iris to the apothecary bottle. The flowers needed more illumination, so I added diffused light through the light tent for a soft, even glow. This lighting added some unwanted illumination against the background sweep in the overexposed shot. After performing exposure fusion, I doctored the image using Topaz Remask. This is a great software tool for ridding of unwanted backgrounds. Together with the layer mask feature in Photoshop, I was able to create a composite image with continuously dark background and evenly illuminated flowers. Give it a try and have some fun!