A Short Course Book
Digital Desktop Studio Photography
The Complete Guide To Lighting and Photographing Small Objects with your Digital Camera

Case Study—A Transclucent Bottle

When the bottle is shot with the light father from the background sweep, there is no top shadow to visually contain the image.
When photographing glassware and other transparent objects, one of the goals is to show the object's transparency by letting the light shine through it. To do this you can place a light behind the subject, or bounce light off the background. In either case the glassware looks like it's lit from within.

The Assignment

The assignment is to photograph a glass bottle so the translucent quality shows while detail is retained on the embossed surface.

1. Composition

The bottle is placed on a curved background and set at an angle to show it has dimension. The camera is set to photograph it almost head on. Although the bottle is square, the camera is rotated to a vertical position to leave room in the image for the shadows at the top and bottom of the image.

2. Lighting

One light is placed behind the subject and close to the background. This does two things. First, it bounces light off the background and through the bottle to show its translucence. Second, it creates the top shadow on the background in the image that contains the bottle and draws the eye to it.

3. Camera Settings

Aperture is important because we need enough depth of field to keep the entire bottle sharp. White balance is also set to accurately retain the colors in the glass.

The setup uses one light behind the subject and a sheet of poster board arranged in a curved sweep.

The light creates a hot spot on the background that bounces light through the bottle, showing its translucent quality and color. Because the bottle is set at an angle, dark shadows form at certain places to add depth and interest.

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