Photographing Glass at the Museum

Andy Fortune Photographing Venetian Object

You may think taking a picture is easy, but when glass is involved, every little detail counts.

We need pictures of our objects for many uses, including promotion, publications, lectures, and archival documentation. When the Museum acquires a new piece of glass or when someone notes a need for an image of a particular piece, the Registrar’s department carefully delivers the object to the Photography department.

Our photographers then closely examine it to determine if it is something that they can safely clean (no finger prints–all objects need to be squeaky clean for their photo ops!). If it needs extensive cleaning or more serious attention, it is shipped back to the Museum for some TLC from one of our conservators.

Nick Williams Photographing Venetian Object

Once it is sparkling clean, the photographers decide on the type of background to use in order to best display the piece. Most of our object images have a transmitted white or solid black background, but some have different colors to effectively show any subtle nuances. At this point, they also decide what type of lighting to use to achieve the best result, reflecting the light just so to play off the glass’ natural properties. All of this is then fine-tuned based on what they see on the monitor throughout the digital capture process.

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