How To Light a Bottle – On Location

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When I was hired to photograph 125 different wine and liquor bottles (at a wine shop) in a 4-hour period, I knew I had to keep my lighting setup simple and unobtrusive. I’m going to explain my lighting setup as well as camera settings on how I was able to achieve this look quickly and easily

Lighting a wine bottle, or any glass object for that matter, can be a bit tricky due to the fact that the bottle will reflect everything that is in front and adjacent to it, at about 180 degrees. The most noticeable reflection will be your light source, so how do you make your lights visually appealing? Use a large light source! Unfortunately I was confined to a small, high traffic area and using large light modifiers was out of the question. I needed a device that is capable of not only making a small light source BIG, but also softens the light too. That’s when I reached for my 1- stop diffusion panel. Using a diffusion panel as a gobo (go between), would achieve the effect I required.

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As you can see in the photo above, a speed light was mounted on a light stand, and placed to the left of the bottle. I then positioned the diffusion panel between the flash and wine bottle, making sure to keep the diffusion panel as close to the bottle as possible in order to create a larger and softer light source. Rounding out my setup, I placed a strobe/softbox combo behind the bottle, to create a completely white background. In addition to providing a white background, the light also illuminated the bottles beautifully. White seamless paper was used beneath the bottle to complete the set.

Before shooting, a spike mark was drawn on the paper, so I would know where to place every bottle. Using spike marks sped up my workflow dramatically. Without the marks I would have had to position and reposition every bottle in order to match shots.

Camera settings are as follows:

Shutter Speed – 1/60th

Aperture – F/7.1

ISO: 200

Gear Used:

Yonguno 560-III Flash

Impact Collapsible Oval Reflector Disc

Elinchrom D-Lite 400W/s

Impact Softbox

Nikon D810

Sigma 70-200 2.8

TetherPro USB 3.0 SuperSpeed Micro-B Cable

The TetherBoost™ USB 3.0 Core Controller

JerkStopper Tethering Kit

Capture One

www.andrewfoordphotography.com

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New Year, New Gear

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!

With the new year brings new gear… specifically new gear for my 4 year old son, Johnny. I… I mean Santa, went out and found this awesome blue Kidizoom camera by VTech, which can be purchased here. If you read the specs you see that this beast is a WHOPPING 1.3 megapixels that can be reduced to .3 should you desire. It has built in memory, but I opted to insert a 16 gig microSD card, purely for comedic effect!

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new camera!

I took to the streets of NYC with my friend and model Cheyenne Lutek because lets face it, if you walk around with a toy camera anywhere else in the world you will get lots of strange looks, but not in NYC.

Below are a few shots from Johnny’s camera taken on the streets of NYC in broad daylight! All retouching was done in Alienskin Exposure 7 using the Wet Plate Destroyed filter.

The first 2 photos I had Cheyenne stand behind a plastic sheet which we found on the street. The buildings you see are a reflection on the plastic NOT a double exposure.

 

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http://www.andrewfoordphotography.com

There are NO lighting tests in my studio

You heard right, there are NO lighting tests when I shoot. The second my subject steps in front of my camera I immediately start shooting, no light testing necessary. I will however meter the light using my Sekonic L-758DR, but as far as telling my model to “relax i’m just testing the light and checking exposure” just doesn’t happen anymore. I’ve taken many AWESOME photos right out of the gate that its far better to have your subject pose rather than have them just stand or sit there, you might catch something awesome! It’s far easier to check that your lights are positioned correctly and re-adjust than it is for the model to make that once in a lifetime face and pose.

My advice… Set-up your lights, take a meter reading, position your model and start shooting… if something looks a little off, don’t let your model know! Just take a few more shots and say something like “good” or “beautiful” after each shutter press. After you take maybe 5-6 photos, tell your model they’re doing great, but you want to try to add a bit more “spice” (use your own words here) and then re-adjust your lights if needed.

In the photo below I asked my model to stand on his mark and adjust his glasses. While he was doing so I released the shutter. Initially I thought the rim lights were too blown out, but the pose was AWESOME. I was able to pull down the highlights in Lightroom and recover details. I then retouched the image in Photoshop and toned it using Alien Skin Exposure. Out of all the photo I took, this was by far the most interesting! Had I asked the model to stand there while I adjusted lights, then kept asking him to adjust his glasses, I would have lost this genuine look.

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http://www.andrewfoordphotography.com

Make Your Models ANGRY

Ok not really, but there are times during a photo shoot when you need to change things up. My favorite thing to do is ask my model to “give me the finger.” They usually giggle, or depending on how the shoot has been going will oblige. Either way this loosens things up and gets you some great images!

In addition I would recommend coming up with some phrases that you can say to get a natural reaction. Here are some of my favorites:

“Put your feet closer to the floor”

“Look right slightly, up, back down a little, clench your ball sack”

“Make love to me… I…I mean the camera”

Most importantly HAVE FUN!

 

http://www.andrewfoordphotography.com