Project 52

Assignment 12 - A Very Shiny Object

There are a lot of “very shiny objects” out there.  And since that was this week’s 52 week project subject, I had my pick of many options.  Always looking to improve my photography of bottles, I decided to try a holiday scene with a bottle that had red, white and green in the bottle and label.  I checked our beer supplies and found Heineken and Grolsch which fit the bill.  I decided on the Grolsch, as I’ve shot Heineken before.  Making a quick detour to the front yard on the way to the studio, I clipped some fresh pine branches and some holly.  I then climbed up to the attic to grab a few Christmas decorations. 

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I arranged the scene on a black table top, with a dark background, but it didn’t feel vibrant enough for Christmas.  I then swapped to a white table, and used a grey background with a red gelled strobe shining on it to get a more holiday feel. 

The initial lighting set up was quick – a softbox to camera left and a strip light with a 2” x 3” scrim to camera right.  After a few test shots, I got the lights in the position I wanted to get the right edges on the bottle.  Behind the bottle I put a gold reflective cutout of the bottle shape, which kicked light from the softbox through the glass bottle to give it some life.  I took a few snaps using a white card in front to illuminate the label and the front edge of the table.  That images is on the right:

I returned the next night to put a glass of beer in the scene.  As I looked at the image above, I realized the liquid in the bottle didn’t glow the way I wanted it to.  I rearranged the reflective cutout to shine more into the bottle and that seemed to do the trick.  I then worked on a similar setup for the glass of beer.  Once the scene was in place, I poured the beer to get a shot with a good foamy head on it.  This is the result:

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Thinking I was done, I pulled down the scene.  However as luck would have it, Doug had a business dinner the next night, so I was free to experiment some more.  I decided to try some close-up shots of the bottle and played with green and red gels on the lights.  I think I prefer these, but you be the judge:

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Next week’s assignment is a close up shot of an electronic gadget.  We just bought an Amazon Echo (think “Alexa, call me an Uber” commercials), so I’ve avoided unboxing it until I get a chance to take pictures of it.  As a side note, I’m starting to get accused of buying stuff just to have product photography subjects, which is wholly untrue, sort of.

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Behind-the-scenes images for full bottle shot (left) and for top down shots (above)

Behind-the-scenes images for full bottle shot (left) and for top down shots (above)