Shooting glass is very tricky. And apparently shooting pouring liquor is even trickier.
This was taken using a technique called “bright field lighting”.
The basic setup is to place a white panel in the background and then place a black panel on each side of it. The black panels are out of view of the camera. I placed a strobe on the floor and pointed it at the white panel. The result, seen at right, is the glass is clear and the edges are darker from the reflection and refraction of the black panels. (Check out the full lighting diagram below.)
Once the glass was properly lit, then the next challenge was to light just the label of the bottle so it would be visible. Up to this point, the only light is pointing at the background, so any objects facing the camera will be dark.
I placed a strobe at camera left and put a grid spot on it to restrict the light to just the area around the label on the neck of the bottle. I then placed another strobe with a shoot through umbrella at camera right to place a soft highlight on the bottle itself.
That was the easy part. Once it all looked good, the biggest challenge became the actual pour. I wanted to freeze the motion of the liquid in the glass and I knew the brief flash duration would take care of that.
In order to align the bottle with the glass, I attached the bottle to the top of a flash bracket that had an angle swivel on it. This was all attached to a light stand to keep it in the same place and hold the bottle steady. I needed one free hand to fire the camera with a wired remote release.
As you can see, hitting the shot glass was a hit-or-miss proposition. After each attempt, I had to wipe up everything, clean the glass, dry it all and replace it for the next “shot”.
(In case you’re wondering, I used tea as a substitute for the rum. The real rum was in a glass on a nearby shelf – and it seems that glass had a small hole in it because when I repoured it into the bottle after the photoshoot, there was quite a bit less than when I started.)
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