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Photo Craft Technique How to photograph (wine) glasses

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Old Jun-11-2007, 12:56 PM
#1
Snapper is offline Snapper OP
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How to photograph (wine) glasses
I will soon be doing a shoot for a friend of his engraved wineglasses and wonder if anyone has any tips?

It strikes me that trying to capture something that is almost completely transparent could be difficult! We want it to look like a classy product shot, with sparkling glasses and the engraving nicely contrasted. I've thought about filling the glasses with wine, but we would prefer to leave them empty.

I have a D80 plus 1 SB-800, and some natural light.

Many thanks in advance!
Old Jun-11-2007, 01:38 PM
#2
Stu Engelman is offline Stu Engelman
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Hi Snapper,

Stu here again.

I have experience doing product shots with shiny objects (diamonds), and I think I can help you here.

You will be dealing with two issues. First, this is macro photography, with all it's usual implications. Second, scintillation (reflections) from the glasses may bring up some additional technical hurdles, particularly if the glasses are cut crystal and the reflections cross each other in space.

You probably want a normal or medium telephoto macro lense here, maybe 25mm or 50mm. This should permit full capture of the subject at normal macro focusing distance, without requiring any big investment. Also, you should place your glasses on a nice background (possibly a patterned muslin sheet below and behind) to make the shot really look professional. Also, I think having dark, red wine in the glasses would be a plus (pretty, and may make the engaving stand out), maybe with a lighted candle nearby to add ambiance and extra reflection.

Scintillation may make auto-focusing difficult (or impossible). Be prepared to focus manually if necessary, trying to capture as much twinkling light bouncing off the glass as possible.

Stu
Old Jun-11-2007, 02:00 PM
#3
LiquidAir is offline LiquidAir
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There are two standard ways to light glass: either the glass looks dark against a white background or the glass looks light against a dark background. For your case where you want the engravings to show up, I think using a black background will work better.

I took a bunch of shots of martini glasses a while back.



Link to a gallery of samples.

Link to a blog entry I wrote about the lighting setup for it.
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Old Jun-11-2007, 05:17 PM
#4
Snapper is offline Snapper OP
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Thanks!
Thanks to you both - great ideas and food for thought. Can't wait to try things now!
Old Jun-11-2007, 07:13 PM
#5
HiSPL is offline HiSPL
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Go to your local library and check out this book, Light: Science and Magic by Fil Hunter and Paul Fuqua.

It explains this very situation in detail. You might be surprised to find out that it requires less light and more reflectors to get it right! You have to give the glass something favorable to reflect. White foam board is cheap and does a great job for this type of thing. Alternatively you could build a light tent with a dark background in it....


Good luck, and post the results!
Old Jun-11-2007, 07:43 PM
#6
digismile is offline digismile
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I was going to suggest the exact same book! Don't be fooled by the somewhat "dated" look of the images. Light is light. Lots of examples of how to light various products.


Quote:
Originally Posted by HiSPL
Go to your local library and check out this book, Light: Science and Magic by Fil Hunter and Paul Fuqua.

It explains this very situation in detail. You might be surprised to find out that it requires less light and more reflectors to get it right! You have to give the glass something favorable to reflect. White foam board is cheap and does a great job for this type of thing. Alternatively you could build a light tent with a dark background in it....


Good luck, and post the results!
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Old Jun-12-2007, 01:37 AM
#7
badtz is offline badtz
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There is also an updated light: science and magic, the content is mostly the same as physics hasnt changed. They have a great chapter on exactly the type of photography you are talking about, well worth the cover price.
Old Jun-12-2007, 10:11 AM
#8
Nikolai is offline Nikolai
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Quote:
Originally Posted by badtz
There is also an updated light: science and magic, the content is mostly the same as physics hasnt changed. They have a great chapter on exactly the type of photography you are talking about, well worth the cover price.
Seems like a very nice book, thanks for the pointer, fellas!
Ordered.
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Old Jun-12-2007, 11:17 AM
#9
LiquidAir is offline LiquidAir
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nikolai
Seems like a very nice book, thanks for the pointer, fellas!
Ordered.
Yes indeed. It is the textbook on photographic lighting. The technique I used for the martini glasses was derived from Light, Science and Magic. However, I had to improvise a bit on their strategy to get the effect I wanted with hotshoe strobes.
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Old Jun-12-2007, 12:23 PM
#10
Nikolai is offline Nikolai
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LiquidAir
Yes indeed. It is the textbook on photographic lighting. The technique I used for the martini glasses was derived from Light, Science and Magic. However, I had to improvise a bit on their strategy to get the effect I wanted with hotshoe strobes.
For me life would be a bit easier, since I have both hotshoe (plus cord) and pw-controlled strobes, which makes it much simpler to control...

I love your Making Of series
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Old Jun-12-2007, 05:12 PM
#11
LiquidAir is offline LiquidAir
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nikolai
For me life would be a bit easier, since I have both hotshoe (plus cord) and pw-controlled strobes, which makes it much simpler to control...
I use the ST-E2 to fire my two strobes and it works fine for most studio work, albeit I used a cord to trigger the flash for On Edge because the flash was located where the IR don't shine. The Light, Science and Magic strategy for white on black glass requires a fairly large softbox which I don't have. While I could have probably rigged something with a white sheet, there still remains the issue of flash power. I needed a fairly small aperture to get enough DoF for those shots and my 580EX can't drive a big softbox that hard. The other advantage of bouncing the light off the foam core was it put the light source perpendicular to the plane of the lens which fairly dramatically reduced lens flare and eliminated the need for the added complexity of gobos to protect the lens.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nikolai
I love your Making Of series
Thanks. Over time I plan to write up something about each of my LPS shots along with other notes about various photography projects.
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Old Jun-13-2007, 12:09 PM
#12
dlscott56 is offline dlscott56
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HiSPL
Go to your local library and check out this book, Light: Science and Magic by Fil Hunter and Paul Fuqua.
Which one would you recommend:
Light: Science and Magic: An Introduction to Photographic Lighting

Focal Press; 5 edition (February 26, 1997)
or
Focal Press; 3rd edition (April 15, 2007)
I think this one has an additional author listed
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Last edited by dlscott56; Jun-13-2007 at 12:27 PM.
Old Jun-13-2007, 12:23 PM
#13
dlscott56 is offline dlscott56
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That's very cool. Thank you and can't wait to see the others. I have to try this out. I don't have all of the lighting required though. Do you think this would work with some halogen lights positioned in place of the off camera flashes?
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Old Jun-13-2007, 01:18 PM
#14
LiquidAir is offline LiquidAir
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dlscott56
That's very cool. Thank you and can't wait to see the others. I have to try this out. I don't have all of the lighting required though. Do you think this would work with some halogen lights positioned in place of the off camera flashes?
In principle sure but there are a couple issues you'll need to work through. First is that the halogens won't be as bright so you will need to control the ambient light well. I do all of my studio work with the camera set to manual. Once you have the exposure dialed in, take a shot with the halogens turned off to make sure the frame is dead black. If it isn't, hunt down the offending light and get it under control.

The other issue you'll face is scatter. The fresnel lenses on the flashes do a pretty good job of creating directional light and it is not to hard to columnate it more with a cardboard snoot or a sligtly more sophisticated homemade spot grid (at some point I'll blog about the spot grids I made). The halogens will be less directional which means you'll face more potential for room scatter which will spoil your blacks. Since the halogens are hot and will burn nearby cardboard or plastic, you'll have fewer choices for how to control the light.

That said, I am sure that with some effort all the problems can be worked out and you can make it work with halogens.
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Old Jun-13-2007, 01:26 PM
#15
LiquidAir is offline LiquidAir
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dlscott56
Which one would you recommend:
Light: Science and Magic: An Introduction to Photographic Lighting

Focal Press; 5 edition (February 26, 1997)
or
Focal Press; 3rd edition (April 15, 2007)
I think this one has an additional author listed
I have the 2nd edition. The 3rd edition is just out and I haven't seen it yet. My impression is the major update in the 3rd edition is that is in color (the 1st and 2nd are entirely B&W) and covers some more modern lighting hardware. The priciples are going to be the same between all the versions, but there may be some substantial new content for color in the 3rd edition so it is probably the best choice. Next time I am in a bookstore, I'll page through the 3rd to decide if it is worth upgrading.
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Old Jun-14-2007, 11:48 AM
#16
dlscott56 is offline dlscott56
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LiquidAir
I have the 2nd edition. The 3rd edition is just out and I haven't seen it yet. My impression is the major update in the 3rd edition is that is in color (the 1st and 2nd are entirely B&W) and covers some more modern lighting hardware. The priciples are going to be the same between all the versions, but there may be some substantial new content for color in the 3rd edition so it is probably the best choice. Next time I am in a bookstore, I'll page through the 3rd to decide if it is worth upgrading.
Thanks. Ordered the book yesterday and just got notice it's been shipped
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Old Jun-28-2007, 09:48 PM
#17
Nikolai is offline Nikolai
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What an awesome book!
Just finished the 3d edition of the Light - Science and Magic. What an awesome book!
I wish I bought it few years ago - I would avoid so many silly and stupid errors
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Old Jun-28-2007, 10:10 PM
#18
Snapper is offline Snapper OP
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nikolai
Just finished the 3d edition of the Light - Science and Magic. What an awesome book!
I wish I bought it few years ago - I would avoid so many silly and stupid errors
My copy arrived today! Can't wait to get started!
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Old Jun-29-2007, 08:03 AM
#19
dlscott56 is offline dlscott56
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Snapper
My copy arrived today! Can't wait to get started!
Got mine about a week ago but am just getting started on it. Looks like I'll be learning alot!
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