Yeshen Venema


Workshops, events, the shoot highlights, locations and behind the scenes stories from Photographer Yeshen Venema.

Shoot Story - A Reflective Surface

The surface and the background - two very important elements of product photography. Sometimes you want white. off white or grey with no props, but in this case I was after something different.

Controlling reflections can be a real problem, they can be managed using back lighting or diffusers, however on this occasion we worked with the reflection this lacquered wood table by shooting low and using soft lighting.

The wall is also unusual, as it's covered in real silver leaf. This creates a wonderful soft tone when blurred... combined with the table, this set up was perfect for the ceramic, lacquer and wood products we were shooting.

Sake Cups: Here you can see the wonderful soft tone of both the reflective surface and wall behind. This was shot low with a 50mm lens. The lighting was daylight from two window sources and a soft box positioned to top right. Note how there is no shadow, rather the reflection - on a non-reflective surface you would see a shadow to bottom left due to the soft box.

The Matt Black glaze of this ceramic is particularity suited to this surface.

Here is where the combination of the surface and the soft box light really works, both the interior and exterior of the Coco Bowls are lit evenly and there is detail in the shadows.

This range of Rustic Ceramic has a lighter glaze, with darker brown areas.. again, the colours and tones match the surface and wall behind.

Coco Bowls - appear to be floating due to the low angle and surface reflection.


Here the Matt White glaze of the Elephants works great with the black spoon and soft blur on the foreground. This is one of my favourite shots from the day.


Rustic Tea Mug


Rustic CeramicDip Bowls and Lacquer Tray

Lacquer is notoriously difficult to photograph, it's like a combination of glass and wood. It is particularily difficult to capture silverleaf texture as it often gets washed out.. However, this is effect I wanted for these trays, the UNION design is actually handpainted - beautiful!

Finally, in this shot I went higher up (standing on a stool). This result is bolder colours and a dynamic image.