Product photograph – wine

Wine bottle
Wine bottle

Photographing products is one of my specialities. I take great care in making sure the image looks exactly like the client wants it. Today’s case in point – a bottle of wine out of a case.

If you click on the image, you’ll see a higher resolution sample of the work. This bottle had quite a few wear marks on the label as well as dings in the actual glass. It added to the post-processing time but the final result is well worth the effort.

The actual photography of the bottle didn’t take too long. But the bottom label gave me some trouble because it has gold foil. As soon as I lit the bottom label for the gold foil, it ruined the dark color of the black, making it an ugly hazy gray. That required some extra work that I would have prefered to avoid doing, but doing all the usual tricks to lighten up the gold foil ended up making other problems worse. So, a little magic and voila.

Original image
Original image

As you can see in the picture on the left, the original, there is quite a bit of damage on the label and some in the bottle. That caused some extra trouble, too. The bottle was very dirty and the cleaning process left the edges of the label shredded. The holding stand is of course visible and the left side of the image isn’t perfectly white.

As I was able to make the background around the bottle 255 white, I didn’t have to do any time-consuming (and sometimes miserable) post-processing select, trimming, pen tool, or other work. It’s just such a joy to get the area around the product white enough that I don’t have to do anything more with it. So often, masking the product out of the background vaporizes more time than anything else. So if I can get it white, I do it.

The super clamp came in handy to hold the wine bottle on the light stand, as I didn’t have my regular platform. This worked out okay, though it was a little precarious. Nothing bad happened in the end.

Now it is time to open that wine.

Beautiful butterfly lighting

While working on a full product catalog photography shoot, one of the fun things I’ve

Beautiful light for beautiful products
Beautiful light for beautiful products

been able to do is use some classic portraiture lighting techniques, like the butterfly lighting in the photo on the right.

Many times, photographers will use light tents for their shoots, giving their products a certain look.  And that look is just like everyone else’s look.  Although light tents are very handy, there is only so much you can do with them.

You can place lights all around them, chose to use just one light, and add variations on variations.  That seems great, but the surrounding darkness looks the same.  And with very reflective objects, you can see the box frame.  It requires lots of post-production work in photo editing software to fix that.  I very much prefer to get the image right in camera, as I don’t like wasting mine or my clients’ time correcting errors out later.

I don’t want my client’s products to look like everyone elses.  They hire me because I

Crystals at By Nature Gallery
Crystals at By Nature Gallery

give them a unique look with very high quality.

When photographing crystals with light tents, the highlights become very mushy in the translucent stone.  Soft light removes the texture of the crystal surface.

Instead, I use hard lights to make the image pop.  It takes more work but the results are better.  The are reflections and hot spots to deal with – that’s the challenge and where practiced skill comes in.  Strip boxes, light tents and umbrellas take away those hot spots but they also soften the texture.  Texture is very important in these images, as it really gives feeling to the crystals.  Without those hard edges, the above piece would look like plastic.  People don’t go into By Nature Gallery to purchase fake plastic rocks – they want the real thing.

I do my best to deliver the real thing.