Project 52

Assignment 13 - A Product Shot

This week’s assigned subject gave a bit of freedom – there were no specific guidelines, no defined layout, image orientation, or color / black & white requirements.  I decided that I wanted to work on photographing more “shiny objects,” so I decided to create an image of a wine bottle with some other props for context. 

My initial thought was to shoot the bottle in our wine cellar, using some full wine bottle racks as an out of focus background.  I spent some time bringing all my equipment downstairs and getting set up and was focused on using the lessons learned from assignment 11 (shiny objects) and applying them to this shoot. 

I started with the white outlines on the sides of the bottle.  Instead of using lights directly pointed at the objects, I bounced flashes into white cards on either side.  The trick was getting the angles correct in order to eliminate a reflection of the flash on the bottles.  After some experimentation, I opted for a light on only the left side and just the white card on the right side of the bottle.  I then moved on to the overhead lighting.  I put a medium-sized softbox over the top of the bottle, but I was unhappy with the way the reflection appeared on the image, so I ended up using the softbox to illuminate the background instead.  I placed a large white card in various places around the front of the bottle and used a flash to light it to get some light on the front / label.  The resulting image is a blend of two shots and some work in photoshop. 

I decided to try some different options, as I didn’t feel the scene really reflected the right image for this product, which is one of the most expensive wines in Australia, Penfold’s Grange.  I kept a similar lighting set up, but I experimented with a couple background options.  I inserted black and white foam core boards as backdrops and put a dark red gel in the softbox.  The softbox / gel combination formed a vignette around the outside of the scene, and I think the less distracting background draws more attention to the product.  The black background worked much better for this product, and here is the resulting image:

Behind the scenes of Assignment 13

Behind the scenes of Assignment 13

One thing I didn’t try was to put a different bottle in front of the wine rack scene – I think it would’ve worked for a different wine brand.  I definitely plan on trying that at some point in the future, as I’ve gotten a bit obsessed with perfecting images of bottles. 

Next week’s assignment is a free shoot – we can have a “do over” of a previous assignment, practice some skills from a previous assignment, or use it as a portfolio building opportunity.  While there are a few assignments I wouldn’t mind re-shooting, I may just take the opportunity to do another product shot.  Come back next week to see what I decided!