We use Lloyd's mirror to modulate electron photoemission in photoemission electron microscopy. This results in the projection of Lloyd's fringes on to three-dimensional (3D) surface objects. An iterative reconstruction method is used to correct for distortions in the fringe pattern due to the cathode immersion lens, thereby providing a quantitative interpretation of surface shape. It is therefore possible to extract 3D height information directly from a two-dimensional, plan-view image. The technique is of sufficient intensity and contrast to study real-time changes in surface topography and we apply the method to study unusual contact-line dynamics during the reactive wetting of metal droplets.