Do you remember how I treat device called shooting tent or lightbox? Every time readers were asking about lightbox (light tent, shooting box, etc) I was saying that it is very limited and useless thing in our studio.
But now you can see yourself what unprincipled person I am: I just finished a shoot completely done in that light cube! What a joke:-)
The idea was to shoot 100% opposite (by the lighting) from what I had recently posed on my Pixiq blog: Studio product photography tips&tricks: Shooting glassware on black background. and the follow-up shot. This time we were repeating the same composition on a white background. Sort of high-key in product photography (not sure if such term applicable though).
Below is the result:
Lets see how it was completed…
Because of the lighting tent, the lighting setup was not complicated at all: I have 4 light sources around the box, each pointed to a corresponded side of the cube:
Fifth strobe (not visible here) was on the floor in front of the shooting table, highlighting the label on the bottle. Exactly the same way it did it on the “black” photoshot. As you can see, I’ve used softboxes on each monolight, as a standard 7” reflectors tend to make spots on the lightbox, and I was needed more uniform light spread.
If you wonder why I have a separate light for each side of the cube, the answer would be the same: uniform light filling of the cube. More lights allowed me to balance strobe ratios the way I want.
Also, both side light were pointed to the rear part of the cube: I need rear area to be much brighter than the front of the cube. The “rule” (I hate this word:-) is the same for the glass and other transparent subjects: lit the background, not the subject.
Ok, when I’ve got my lights balanced, the outcome was this:
Glass on white
This is as-is image from RAW converter, and background is not completely white. It is easier to fix such image in a post-processing in RAW converter rather to shoot it overexposed to something like this:
Martini glass is almost invisible, and this is not good at all. I would need to dial exposure down (it will bring brightness to a previous shoot level), or… retoucher will say me something very unpleasant:-)
Now we were need to add black edges to our subjects to separate them from the white surrounding.
I’ve used 2 pieces of black cardboard, inserted into the box to be behind the bottle:
Narrow black screens inside:
You can see the how the bottle looked at 100% crop in a corner of each setup. We can manipulate with the thickness of the edge lines by changing size of the black screens or/and their position:
Wider black screens inside, wider lines on the subject:
The full image below, move slidersto see before and after the insertion of black screens:
The result, correctly exposed, converted and cleaned during the post-processing is on top, at the beginning of this article. When we got our desired photo, it looked nice, but somehow plain, even considering that this was not an artistic shot.. So, we added few drops of the syrup to a table and it was that last but very essential “drop” which finished the composition!
BTW, I did not give up my idea of NOT using a light tent, and tried alternative way to get the same result by building this:
An alternative to a lighting tent.
The same idea, but with little less control of the brightness, as I’ve removed 2 strobes from both sides, replaced by white screens. In general, this produced the same result, but it was easier to work using the shooting box. I still think that light box is not good for the most of my studio work, but sometimes it can be very helpful. Cases like this, when I need to fill everything with the light. So, we do not listen to anyone, and use whatever will work the best for a given task… agree?
At the end I’d like to show you one more shot.
I’ve done it with a very simply modification of the lighting setup above, but the outcome was changed dramatically, check this out:
Truly speaking, I like this image more than the white one. Smooth gradient is more pleasant to my eye, and I like how bottle had this gradient “reversed”. Glad I spent those few extra minutes to get it done!
I think it will be very easy to guess what was changed to get such result, and I do not want to post the lighting setup right now. I want you to try to guess and shoot me your ideas in a comment section under this post: it will be more interesting to see the actual setup later. Ok?
You may also like to check out an update to my low-key article on Pixiq, I’ve got an interesting solution for that glassware shot on black: he follow-up shot: an easy way to shoot glass on a black
Lighting, light modifiers and accessories:
Exposure specification: shutter speed 1/250 sec, F18, ISO 100