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Still life “Single Malt”

July 6, 2011

I always thought that portraying bottles is a piece of cake – unfortunately it is not, and I learnt it the hard way once I set things up-

Glass has two features that reveal to be lethal for photography: transparency and reflection.
How to handle these two aspects and obtain a pleasant result?

What was inside my bottle – whisky – was perfect fot two different type of lighting, the clear colour and its transparency

Il contenuto della mia bottiglia – whisky – si prestava a due tipi di illuminazione, il colore chiare e semitrasparente del whisky è infatti sia molto adatto per un risultato in hi-key, sia per uno in lo-key.

Hi-key of the bottle.

I cleansed the bottle, wiping away marks and fingerprints, I took the back label away and set it upon a white board.
Backlighting the bottle I avoided all the problem concerned to reflections.

I placed a 500W Bowens monolight and mounted a 3×3 ft. bank – I also used the inner screen to obtain a more diffuse light
I placed the light right behind the bottle.
I took a metering directly on the background: 1/125″ @ f13

Of course, to get the front label clear, I used a second monolight, mounting a snoot, aimed directly to the centre of the label – 1/125″ @ f8. Using a snoot the light beam was very narrowe, limiting  unwanted flairs.

I set my D700 at 1/125″ f9. Chosing a smaller aperture I kept the label sharp and the border in the shadow.

This is the outcome.
The whisky has a good colour and the soft light of the bank helped to keept the shape of the glass. Two f-stops of difference between the foreground and the background resulted in a white clear background

This is the light set I used, I used no post-production



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