How to build a small business with the help of photography and science

One of my favourite photography techniques is called photoelasticity (foh-toh-i-la-stis-i-tee).

[Definition: the phenomenon of double refraction of polarized light by transparent substance 

under elastic stress, used to measure strain inelastic, transparent materials.]

It is a method used mostly to determine material durability, by big aircraft or car manufacturers for example.

You can easily see the results of photoelasticity application and most importantly, take some very impressive shots.


This is the equipment you will need to setup:

– your camera on a tripod

– two polarizing filters aligned with the lens

– a good macro lens (or a cheap alternative: a reverse adapter)

– a source of light also in the same line (even from a lighter or your smartphone flash),


– your imagination!

You will need that last “element” to think of every possible transparent material available.

That is what you will place between the polarizing filters, and possibly put some stress on it, and there it is:

Magic happens!

Experiment by making minor changes in the setup, or slight twists to the polarizing filters or angle changes, and you will get infinite image variations.


The image below is an example of this specific method.

I used an aircraft canopy from a 1/72 plastic model and a handmade “flower” made of plastic film (food wrap).


A greek photographer based her whole career on this remarkable technique; she built a mini studio in her home,

let her imagination run wild and with the help of  photoelasticity, she made a business of striking wrapping materials!




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