Photographing silver using natural light - The Silvery keepsakes

Jules Asch at The Silvery plated these five azalea flowers in silver as a keepsake, for a customer.  

Silver is tricky to photograph. It can looks tinny or bleached and often much too contrasty. I experimented with white polystyrene tiles and black cardboard next to a window on a sunny day. The silver and blue flowers are not in direct light, but on the edge of a pool of light, in order to avoid any contrast problems.

No reflection. Black on shadow side. 

No reflection. Black on shadow side. 

The black cardboard is reflected in the sides of the flowers.  The flowers look tinny, more like steel than silver.

The silver looks metallic rather than silvery.

The silver looks metallic rather than silvery.

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White reflection on all three sides is too much. The white is reflected on all sides of the flowers, making them look white and washed out.

Too much. Now the silver looks bleached and flat.

Too much. Now the silver looks bleached and flat.

This was my favourite.  The white polystyrene tiles are propped up above and to the right of the set-up to provide a gleam and highlights for the silver but on the third side (out of sight at the bottom of the image) I moved the tile around, tipped it up and down and side to side until I had a range of highlights and shadows, dark and light. Neither burnt out nor metallic but a gentle range of silvery-grey tones.