Mirror, Mirror, On the Set

When I first posted about using mirrors to accentuate available light for photography instead of adding in more light sources, there were a lot of requests for side-by-side comparisons. As a visual learner, I couldn’t have agreed more that it would be helpful to see this difference, so here’s a shot I took yesterday, with and without a mirror.

(Yes, the angles are slightly different, but I wasn’t using a tripod.)

Admittedly, it’s a very small change here, and those who skim quickly over their pictures will easily miss it, but it makes a world of difference to my eyes. Before adding a single mirror right in front of the plate, the close side of that pie was plunged into darkness, obscuring details, lacking color, and hiding texture. It makes the whole picture look very dark to me, since it’s already on a black background. With the mirror in place, it just seems to brighten up the whole composition, and really put a spotlight on the pie at the same time.

I wouldn’t blame you if you’re not dying to run out and buy a mirror after seeing this, but if you ask me, it’s worth the [very small] investment. This is just one mirror- Imagine what a handful of them could do for a dark set. It’s the small details that count, right?

Oh, and that pie right there? That will be part of an e-book I’m working on, which you’ll be hearing more about very soon…!

21 thoughts on “Mirror, Mirror, On the Set

  1. You’re right–I wouldn’t have really noticed the difference until you pointed it out. But what a difference it makes to the side of the pie (all the more for us to see those marbled details and drool a little in anticipation of that e-book!) :)

  2. Well, that really illuminates things for me! Yeah, I know – bad pun! LOL. But it really makes a difference for ME to see them side by side since I barely know how to operate a point and shoot camera. This is great to see and a really wonderful and inexpensive tip for people to know! Thanks so much for sharing, Hannah. I’m glad to hear your e-book will be featuring your food photography as well. :) Can’t wait to hear more about it!

  3. I actually prefer the left hand picture – it’s got more depth to it.

    What I’ve been using (no examples, sorry) is tin foil instead of a mirror. Because you can’t get it to reflect light as straight as a mirror, the reflected light is more diffuse, and achieves a more subtle effect.

    If you want something semi-permanent, cover one side of a flexible piece of cardboard with tinfoil. Make the cardboard as large as you want it. Then you can also experiment with bending the cardboard, and see how that changes the lighting situation.

  4. that looks great! both pictures.. who care about a little darkness when you have a piece of pie in front of you???

    i cant wait for the E-book!

  5. I dont know what I like more- the drool-worthy pictures, your extremely pretty creations (both edible and otherwise) or your lovely posts! I am so glad you blog! :)

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