Project 52

Week 8 - Bottles

A business trip to India prevented me, or at least gave me an excuse, to miss week seven.  I may go back and try to make up that assignment, as the theme was "A Cook In The Kitchen."  I've actually reached out to a chef / food stylist to work with in the new year on some new food images, so I may ask her to pose when we are working on those shots. 

This week's assignment was to shoot bottles without labels.  Since I'd love to shoot for wineries, breweries, etc., I decide to play around a bit with this getting practice with bottles of different shapes and sizes.  I surveyed the house assessing my options - we have plenty of glassware so there was no need to buy something.  I have a lot of decanters, and I "inherited" some beautiful bottles from my grandparents, so I brought them all to the studio and played around a little.  I had been wanting to work with gels on my lights for a while, so this assignment gave me a good excuse.  In my mind, plain white light on these bottles would be a bit dull, so I played around quite a bit on these images.  

My lighting set up was pretty simple - a strobe in a reflector projecting through a scrim, covered by a colored gel.   [Behind the Scenes shot at bottom of blog post]  The first thing I tried was using a white background with a strobe flashing on it to keep it white.  I started with one color gel in various configurations - one color on each light, one light gelled and one light bare, using only one light, etc.  Here is the result of those tests that I like the best:  

P52 Assignment 8-0027.jpg

I then decided to play with two lights, which should give a colored strip down the side of the bottle.  I tried different colored gels on the lights but nothing was giving me the vibrant colors I was seeking.  The more I experimented, I realized that this was because too much light was bouncing off the backdrop and onto the scene, thereby washing out the colors. 

I then switched my background to dark grey and black to see the effect and I turned off the strobe that was shooting into the backdrop.   The black background did the trick.  It killed all the light spilling onto the bottles and allowed the gels to show up very strongly.  After various combinations of gels, I settled on the red-orange and blue as the images I would submit for the assignment.  I personally like how the colors show up in the patterns on the cap on the right in both images.  Here are the submissions:   

Similar lighting setup as the picture on the left

Similar lighting setup as the picture on the left

I wanted to do some more experimenting with colors, and my supposition was that if I dyed water using food coloring, that the colored gel would mix with it and change the color.  So for example, if I used yellow water and hit it with a blue light, the water would appear green.  Not so much.  But I did play around with the setup and came up with another picture I liked, but not as much as the black ones. 

Next week's assignment is "Air," but I decided to go off topic to focus on some portfolio building instead, to tie up with a marketing idea I have.  I'm shooting some more "flying food" similar to the kohlrabi I shot during assignment 5, which I guess could qualify as "air."  Come back next week to see what I got up to or enter your email address and hit the subscribe button to the right.

Behind-the-Scenes for this week's images

Behind-the-Scenes for this week's images