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Photographing Your Artwork? Bounce Cards Add Light and Fill in Deep Shadows

I have asked my photographer, Philip Cohen of Philip Cohen Photographic, to write a Guest Post about his #1 favorite pro-photographer trick. It costs pennies, requires no fancy equipment, and can really improve your photographic images. Use this tip with either natural, diffuse daylight (on an overcast day) or with your photo lights.

Note: The opinions expressed by the author, Philip Cohen, in this post are his and his alone, and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of ASKHarriete or Harriete Estel Berman. No endorsement or refutation is intended or implied.

From the pen of photographer Philip Cohen.
Bounce cards are made of white foam core or mat board. You can make a brighter bounce card by gluing silver mylar to the foam core.

Philip Cohen example photography with No Bounce Cards Setup: Start with a white background and some soft light from above. The smooth background focuses attention on the subject and bounces some light onto the underside of the subject.

Problem: The background alone provides pleasant but dull lighting with deep shadows at the bottom.

Philip Cohen photography tip #1 with bounce Cards Solution: Add bounce cards! In this second photo, I used both white and silver reflectors on the side (outside of the camera's view) to illuminate and define the artwork. The bounce cards ease up the shadows and create reflections that show off the lines of the piece. 

Final Image: The softened shadows anchor the artwork in the photo and the plain, uncolored background doesn't conflict with the color of the piece.


Philip Cohen Photographic image of Zahava Sherez ceramics
Zahava Sherez © 2010
 Photo Credit: Philip Cohen

Featured artwork by Zahava Sherez.

Harriete Estel Berman

For additional photography tips, Steve Meltzer authored two books that can help your photography efforts. They are both shown in the right column of this blog. His information is always practical and relatively easy to follow. CLICK ON THE BOOKS Capture the Light: A Guide for Beginning Digital Photographers and Photographing Arts, Crafts & Collectibles: Take Great Digital Photos for Portfolios, Documentation, or Selling on the Web (A Lark Photography Book) to see if Amazon.com has a used copy to save you some money.

You can also refer to two documents in the Professional Guidelines with helpful image information.

  Guide TO Professional Quality Images

  Working with Digital Images Effectively

*The books in the right column and listed above are affiliate links. Clicking on the links and buying through Amazon.com could possibly provide this blog with a few pennies to keep on going. Thanks for your support.

This post was updated on January, 13 2022.