Monthly Assignment #1: Bottles

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Comments

  • SnakerootSnakeroot Big grins Registered Users Posts: 43 Big grins
    edited August 27, 2007
    Frustrating...
    Well, I couldn't find a "sexier" bottle, so I gave the same ole bottle a boa :)

    I tried the lighting from underneath as suggested and I really like the way the bottom is lit up. I tried different variations of flashing the front of the bottle so that the top of the bottle can be seen as well as the label on the front.

    My setup just isn't cutting it. Every time I flash with the handheld flash, the reflection of ceiling fans, etc. show up on the bottle. I really need a closed environment like some of the other setups shown.

    I'm not giving up on this. I'm determined to get at least one good shot :) I'll think about how to get this setup tomorrow. Hopefully I'll have time to shoot this week after work.

    Here are the best 2 from tonight:

    188370623-M.jpg




    188370957-M.jpg


    I flashed this one once from almost directly overhead and the strobe light is underneath. I think I if can get a white background inside an enclosure and light from top and bottom that it'll turn out well.

    I tore my setup apart before realizing I should have taken a picture of it. oops... it's essentially the same setup, except as suggested, I split the tv trays and put the strobe underneath, covered it with a piece of paper. I wrapped a boa around the bottle for lack of a better background. I used the same black box as before. This time I shot the bottle vertically and aligned with the box as suggested (figured out a way to do it with my tripod, although it's a real pain).

    I think the white backgrounds others were using give the shot a much cleaner look. I'm not diggin' my black box background. I'll keep an eye out for a way to get a white background setup.
  • NikolaiNikolai Darth SLR Registered Users Posts: 19,035 Major grins
    edited August 27, 2007
    Snakeroot wrote:
    Well, I couldn't find a "sexier" bottle, so I gave the same ole bottle a boa :)
    I'm sure Ken will pitch in, but in the mean time...
    With the glass you pretty much cannot have the primary light in front of it AND have a background at the same time. YOu can have SOME light next to the camera to light up a label, but the main idea is the have it some place else - especially with the back b/g.
    I'd like to mention Da Book again - it's awesome, simple and very practical. deal.gif
    "May the f/stop be with you!"
  • SnakerootSnakeroot Big grins Registered Users Posts: 43 Big grins
    edited August 28, 2007
    Yes... me again :)
    Nikolai wrote:
    I'm sure Ken will pitch in, but in the mean time...
    With the glass you pretty much cannot have the primary light in front of it AND have a background at the same time. YOu can have SOME light next to the camera to light up a label, but the main idea is the have it some place else - especially with the back b/g.

    For some reason, what you said there clicked for me Nikolai... thank you. I went back and re-read some posts and looked at some of the other setups. I think I got some pretty good results this time. There are still a few flaws... mostly with my wrinkly background, which I'm not sure how to fix. I'm not sure I can iron the material and it wasn't mine, so I was afraid to ruin it.

    I COMPLETELY forgot to take a picture of my setup :( but I can describe it. I used a light small light tent (borrowed from work) as my backdrop. I put my strobe light behind the light box, so it was diffused by two sides of the tent. I put my objects up on tupperware covered by white material once, a piece of tile on a kleenex box another time, and a plastic container that my .45 rounds come in. In place of the strobe on a couple of shots, I flashed the SB-800 inside the tent.

    Hopefully you guys aren't sick of me trying yet :) I scrounged for some new subjects.. I was getting sick of the same old bottle (I'm sure you were too!)

    188929433-L.jpg


    188929481-M.jpg

    188929530-M.jpg

    188929708-M.jpg

    188929618-M.jpg
  • NikolaiNikolai Darth SLR Registered Users Posts: 19,035 Major grins
    edited August 28, 2007
    Snakeroot wrote:
    For some reason, what you said there clicked for me Nikolai... thank you. I went back and re-read some posts and looked at some of the other setups. I think I got some pretty good results this time. There are still a few flaws... mostly with my wrinkly background, which I'm not sure how to fix. I'm not sure I can iron the material and it wasn't mine, so I was afraid to ruin it.

    I can see the improvement! thumb.gif
    The major issue now becomes the size of the BG. It should be only big enough to fill the frame. You need this to create distinctive lines in the bottle. deal.gif
    And you can shoot the setup again later mwink.gif
    "May the f/stop be with you!"
  • SloYerRollSloYerRoll Major grins Registered Users Posts: 2,788 Major grins
    edited August 28, 2007
    Don't look at these attempts as failures. Look at them as all the different ways you know how to not light glass. (If it worked for Thomas Edison, I'm sure it will work for you)

    If you'd like, I'll set up my rig again and take some more detailed shots so you can really disect it. I genuinely think you don't need this though. You're starting to get the theory, now just take your time and really dial all those details in.

    A LITTLE LIGHTING OT:
    As a note so you can better controll your lighting:
    Your Aperture controlls your strobes.
    Your shutter speed controlls that ambient light.
    This is one of those aha! facts that will help you take your photog skills to the next level. So memorize it now.

    If you want to leave your strobe at the same power but want it to be "darker" in your shot. Adjust your Aperture to a smaller fstop (increase the f number)

    Example/quiz:
    3rd shot from the bottom.
    I've taken the shot and everything looks good but the background is a little bit bright and I want to dim it down.

    My camera settings are:
    ISO 100
    1/500
    f27

    What setting should I change to make the background darker? look below AFTER you have answered the question.




    change the f stop to a higher number. This closes the diaphram that lets the light in hitting the sensor.

    You can also change the distance of your strobe to subject distance. But when you do this you also change the dynamics of the light since it is now hitting the subject differently (which isn't bad. it just changes more than the ammount of light hitting y our sensor)

    A LITTLE MORE LIGHTING OT:
    This is also a great way to conserve your strobes power. If you have your strobe set at 1/16 and you have your aperature set to f27 (one sixteenth of your strobes capacitors energy will be used w/ each shot so in theory you can hammer on it 16 times before it has to recharge). This is equivelant to having your strobe set to 1/4 power and your aperature set at f11 in reagards to lighting. (one quarter of your strobes capacitors energy will be used w/ each shot so in theory you can pop the strobe on it 4 times before it has to recharge).
    So opening up your aperature can give you more bang for your buck. In this situation it makes almost no difference what you do. But when you are in a situation where you need to get allot of shots in short periods of time. THis can make the difference between sucess and failure.
  • SnakerootSnakeroot Big grins Registered Users Posts: 43 Big grins
    edited August 28, 2007
    Nikolai wrote:
    I can see the improvement! thumb.gif
    The major issue now becomes the size of the BG. It should be only big enough to fill the frame. You need this to create distinctive lines in the bottle. deal.gif
    And you can shoot the setup again later mwink.gif

    I'm having space issues with that concept. However, in looking back at other people's setup's they have black material directly on the side of their subject (i.e., Antonio's trashbag and a couple others'). I wonder if I put black objects on either side of my bottles if the lines of my bottle would be better?

    Thanks again for the feedback...
  • SnakerootSnakeroot Big grins Registered Users Posts: 43 Big grins
    edited August 28, 2007
    SloYerRoll wrote:
    Don't look at these attempts as failures. Look at them as all the different ways you know how to not light glass. (If it worked for Thomas Edison, I'm sure it will work for you)

    If you'd like, I'll set up my rig again and take some more detailed shots so you can really disect it. I genuinely think you don't need this though. You're starting to get the theory, now just take your time and really dial all those details in.

    A LITTLE LIGHTING OT:
    As a note so you can better controll your lighting:
    Your Aperture controlls your strobes.
    Your shutter speed controlls that ambient light.
    This is one of those aha! facts that will help you take your photog skills to the next level. So memorize it now.

    If you want to leave your strobe at the same power but want it to be "darker" in your shot. Adjust your Aperture to a smaller fstop (increase the f number)

    Example/quiz:
    3rd shot from the bottom.
    I've taken the shot and everything looks good but the background is a little bit bright and I want to dim it down.

    My camera settings are:
    ISO 100
    1/500
    f27

    What setting should I change to make the background darker? look below AFTER you have answered the question.




    change the f stop to a higher number. This closes the diaphram that lets the light in hitting the sensor.

    You can also change the distance of your strobe to subject distance. But when you do this you also change the dynamics of the light since it is now hitting the subject differently (which isn't bad. it just changes more than the ammount of light hitting y our sensor)

    A LITTLE MORE LIGHTING OT:
    This is also a great way to conserve your strobes power. If you have your strobe set at 1/16 and you have your aperature set to f27 (one sixteenth of your strobes capacitors energy will be used w/ each shot so in theory you can hammer on it 16 times before it has to recharge). This is equivelant to having your strobe set to 1/4 power and your aperature set at f11 in reagards to lighting. (one half of your strobes capacitors energy will be used w/ each shot so in theory you can pop the strobe on it 2 times before it has to recharge).
    So opening up your aperature can give you more bang for your buck. In this situation it makes almost no difference what you do. But when you are in a situation where you need to get allot of shots in short periods of time. THis can make the difference between sucess and failure.

    It's funny that you expounded on that because I was noticing some odd things while I was shooting. I started out with the strobe on full blast, which gave me a very white background and I liked that. Then I changed bottles and I wanted to decrease the light a bit, so I thought by turning the frequency of the strobe flash down that my shots would get darker, but it actually had the opposite effect. That really surprised me.

    I also switched from Aperature priority to Shutter priority and the results were not what I expected either. Since I had already used A so much and felt like I was getting the hang of changing settings, I just went back to A :)

    Thanks for the deeper explanation... I'll try to get that to sink in.
  • QuicklebeQuicklebe Big grins Registered Users Posts: 25 Big grins
    edited August 29, 2007
    Beer bottle - light background
    Here is one picture I did with a beer bottle. I like having a white background. However the labels are too dark. I used a diffuser in the back with two reflectors up front.

    I tried to lighten the labels with a light from the front or even overhead. However this caused too many reflections that I could not control. I'd like suggestions on how to light the front of the bottle without getting the reflections.

    Thanks,

    Quicklebe

    First picture: without pp.

    189368913-L.jpg

    3238035#189368913-L-LB3238035#189368913-M-LB

    Second picture: with pp to light the front of the bottle and remove some reflections.

    189368983-L.jpg
  • LiquidAirLiquidAir Major grins Registered Users Posts: 1,751 Major grins
    edited August 29, 2007
    Snakeroot wrote:
    I think the white backgrounds others were using give the shot a much cleaner look. I'm not diggin' my black box background. I'll keep an eye out for a way to get a white background setup.

    Clean black backgrounds are tough. When I first started shooting glass (for LPS#1), I spend several hours fighting with my setup and still ended up touching up the background in Photoshop. It does get easier with practice; now I can pretty consistantly hit a 0,0,0 background right out of camera.

    One thing to remember is that a black paper or cardboard typically run only about 2 stops below middle grey. Since most DSLRs are sensitive to around 5 stops below middle grey, you will need to use light control to hit true black. You don't have to completely control scatter, but you do want the light on the background to be at least 3 stops darker than the light on your subject assuming you are metering for diffuse reflections. With bottles where you are metering for specular or refracted light you sometimes don't need that much control. Refracted light is almost always brighter than diffuse reflections so that case is relatively easy. The brightness of diffuse reflections depend on both the nature of your surface and how oblique the angle of incidence is. I have seen specular reflections go from maybe 2 stops darker than normal metering to about 4 stops brighter. If you have darker reflections, you have to be very careful about scatter on your background.

    The best black background is actually something like a deep cardboard box. Place the box behind your subejct in a such a way that the camera is looking into the box. The box helps you in two ways: it shields your background from light scattered in the room and it places the background further from your subject which makes scatter off your subject appear darker because the light has to travel farther. You can then run your floor back into the box which tyipcally means you don't need to worry about your floor to backdrop transition because it will be too dark to be visible.

    The box is is overkill for a lot of subjects. I have a good sized sheet of black felt which works quite well, but it is worth making sure the felt is held in a way that it stays smooth; folds and wrinkles will kill you. Sometimes I use black foam core which is nice because it is stiff enough to be easy to mount. However the surface of the foam core is a bit shiny so you have to watch out for specular reflections. I also use a Photoflex black/sliver lite disc (often with a mount which lets me put it on a light stand). While I find the sliver side nearly useless, the black side serves both as a handy mobile background and as an adjustable gobo.
  • NikolaiNikolai Darth SLR Registered Users Posts: 19,035 Major grins
    edited August 29, 2007
    Quicklebe wrote:
    Here is one picture I did with a beer bottle. I like having a white background. However the labels are too dark. I used a diffuser in the back with two reflectors up front.

    I tried to lighten the labels with a light from the front or even overhead. However this caused too many reflections that I could not control. I'd like suggestions on how to light the front of the bottle without getting the reflections.

    Thank you! I do like the second (pp) version better.thumb.gif

    Re: labels: it is harddeal.gif . You have to carefully control your light, both power and angle, most likely snoot it, too. Portable strobes without modeliing lights are especially tricky in this sense, so, as Ken suggested earlier, try to experiment with the flashlight. You may also need to tune the strobe output very accurately, so you get just enough light to highlite the label, but not enough to cause you those other grievances...
    "May the f/stop be with you!"
  • QuicklebeQuicklebe Big grins Registered Users Posts: 25 Big grins
    edited August 30, 2007
    Last of the beer
    I'll have to try again with the snoots. I ended up just placing the light up and to camera right with a reflector to the left. This lit the labels at least some but left some reflections that I did not like . I did some pp to even out the colors.

    189732217-L.jpg


    Here is another which I like but it is off topic for showing the edges of a bottle.

    189596419-L.jpg
  • NikolaiNikolai Darth SLR Registered Users Posts: 19,035 Major grins
    edited August 30, 2007
    Quicklebe wrote:
    I'll have to try again with the snoots. I ended up just placing the light up and to camera right with a reflector to the left. This lit the labels at least some but left some reflections that I did not like . I did some pp to even out the colors.
    I like the first one, great job! thumb.gif
    "May the f/stop be with you!"
  • SloYerRollSloYerRoll Major grins Registered Users Posts: 2,788 Major grins
    edited August 30, 2007
    Quicklebe wrote:
    ..

    Total EDIT: sorry. I though you were Snakeroot. I saw Beginner Grinner and didn't look back.
    rolleyes1.gifrolleyes1.gif
    DUUUUDE! look at your first attempts compared to these! A whole other universe. THere's always room for improvement. But you are getting it!
    Now I'm gonna have to shoot some more so you don't show me up :D (j/k if you show me up,. I'll just be asking you questions insteadmwink.gif )

    SETUP SHOT SETUP SHOT SETUP SHOT SETUP SHOT SETUP SHOT.....
  • QuicklebeQuicklebe Big grins Registered Users Posts: 25 Big grins
    edited August 30, 2007
    Thanks for the feedback. I just purchased a couple of bottles of wine. One a rose and the other a chardonnay so the color will come through easier. I'll try with those later this weekend.
  • NikolaiNikolai Darth SLR Registered Users Posts: 19,035 Major grins
    edited August 30, 2007
    Quicklebe wrote:
    Thanks for the feedback. I just purchased a couple of bottles of wine. One a rose and the other a chardonnay so the color will come through easier. I'll try with those later this weekend.
    Darn, my sponsor at AA would kill me lol3.gif
    "May the f/stop be with you!"
  • SnakerootSnakeroot Big grins Registered Users Posts: 43 Big grins
    edited September 1, 2007
    :)
    SloYerRoll wrote:
    Total EDIT: sorry. I though you were Snakeroot. I saw Beginner Grinner and didn't look back.
    rolleyes1.gifrolleyes1.gif

    Laughing.gif! I kinda wondered if that was what happened :) Don't worry, I haven't given up... just out of town. I'll amaze you... eventually :D
  • QuicklebeQuicklebe Big grins Registered Users Posts: 25 Big grins
    edited September 2, 2007
    Wine - Rose and Chardonnay
    Here are the wine bottles. I bought them based on the label. Typically my wife and I are box wine drinkers but I decided to purchase glass just for this.

    I did some PP because I could not get rid of some reflections from the top of the bottles. For the Chardonnay, I placed two flashes left and right above the bottles. For the Rose I bounced a single light off the ceiling from behind the camera.

    I tried using a gobo above the wine bottles to get rid of the reflections but I could not figure out where to place to gobo correctly. I think I'll finally try a snoot but I still have trouble aiming a homemade snoot correctly.



    190511375-L.jpg


    190511430-L.jpg
  • NikolaiNikolai Darth SLR Registered Users Posts: 19,035 Major grins
    edited September 2, 2007
    Quicklebe wrote:
    Here are the wine bottles. I bought them based on the label. Typically my wife and I are box wine drinkers but I decided to purchase glass just for this.

    I did some PP because I could not get rid of some reflections from the top of the bottles. For the Chardonnay, I placed two flashes left and right above the bottles. For the Rose I bounced a single light off the ceiling from behind the camera.

    I tried using a gobo above the wine bottles to get rid of the reflections but I could not figure out where to place to gobo correctly. I think I'll finally try a snoot but I still have trouble aiming a homemade snoot correctly.

    I like it! thumb.gif
    Couple of things:
    • Watch your horizon level, both entries look a bit skewed CCW, esp. #1 deal.gif
    • I still cannot get rid of a feeling that tha bg is too large, hence the outlines are not as distinct as they could have been. ne_nau.gif
    • And what happened with the required setup pictures? Didn't it change even a bit? mwink.gifdeal.gif
    "May the f/stop be with you!"
  • QuicklebeQuicklebe Big grins Registered Users Posts: 25 Big grins
    edited September 3, 2007
    Wine with Dark Backgrounds
    Here are some wine bottles with a dark background. I stuggled to get the background and floor dark. I ended up darkening the background in pp.

    I used a stobe behind the bottle shot through a diffuser. I put the gobo on the diffuser. I noticed that I got better results if I made the gobo much taller than the wine bottle and field of view.

    I do not like either of these two pictures much. Any suggestions are welcome.

    191037681-L.jpg

    190951164-L.jpg

    Here is the set up shot

    190951097-L.jpg
  • NikolaiNikolai Darth SLR Registered Users Posts: 19,035 Major grins
    edited September 3, 2007
    Quicklebe wrote:
    Here are some wine bottles with a dark background. I stuggled to get the background and floor dark. I ended up darkening the background in pp.

    I used a stobe behind the bottle shot through a diffuser. I put the gobo on the diffuser. I noticed that I got better results if I made the gobo much taller than the wine bottle and field of view.

    I do not like either of these two pictures much. Any suggestions are welcome.

    Here is the set up shot

    Thank you! I like the setup!
    I also think you got rather decent results. It seems what you need is to add a snooted direct (foreground) light for the label and maaaaybe another one on the side to get a small sparky relection. To deal with the background maybe it's worth to increase the distance between the gogo and the diffuser, i.e. keeping the gobo close and the diffuser far.
    "May the f/stop be with you!"
  • SnakerootSnakeroot Big grins Registered Users Posts: 43 Big grins
    edited September 4, 2007
    New monthly assignment
    You're not waiting until I get the first month's assignement right before you post a new one are you? :Drolleyes1.gif

    I will get back to it! I will!!
  • NikolaiNikolai Darth SLR Registered Users Posts: 19,035 Major grins
    edited September 4, 2007
    Snakeroot wrote:
    You're not waiting until I get the first month's assignement right before you post a new one are you? :Drolleyes1.gif

    I will get back to it! I will!!

    Nope. We do not start on first:-)
    "May the f/stop be with you!"
  • Antonio CorreiaAntonio Correia Always learning Setubal - PortugalRegistered Users Posts: 6,173 Major grins
    edited September 7, 2007
    Again
    This time the dark background was easy but the white one was/is very difficult for me.
    I was not going to post here the white background because it is a flop, a real disaster.:cry
    But on the other hand, the errors are part of the leaning process.mwink.gif

    My problem is the white balance. I am using a torch light which has a much different temperature from the flash as you can see.

    Thinking of this problem I have bought an orange gell but I had no time to prepare it yet. However I decided to go ahead and here is the disaster.:cry

    192821303-M.jpg192802355-L-1.jpg
    192826418-M.jpg192835952-L.jpg
    All the best ! ... António Correia - Facebook
  • QuicklebeQuicklebe Big grins Registered Users Posts: 25 Big grins
    edited September 8, 2007
    Wine bottle - dark background with a snoot.
    Here is the wine bottle with a dark background and a snoot added. I also placed a blue light on the background. I adjusted the brightness levels in Capture NX. Also I eliminated a reflection in the upper half of the bottle that I could not get rid of.

    192782182-L.jpg

    Here is the setup shot. I used a diffuser between the back light and the gobo. I had to hand hold the diffuser so it is not in this shot. Also the snoot on the label is from overhead. The snoot is hard to see in the picture.

    192913679-L.jpg
  • NikolaiNikolai Darth SLR Registered Users Posts: 19,035 Major grins
    edited September 8, 2007
    This time the dark background was easy but the white one was/is very difficult for me.
    I was not going to post here the white background because it is a flop, a real disaster.:cry
    But on the other hand, the errors are part of the leaning process.mwink.gif

    My problem is the white balance. I am using a torch light which has a much different temperature from the flash as you can see.

    Thinking of this problem I have bought an orange gell but I had no time to prepare it yet. However I decided to go ahead and here is the disaster.:cry
    Antonio, I like it much better! thumb.gif
    There are stilll some issues with the evenness of the white b/g, and I also think that labels in the dark version could be lit better, but it's a definite improvement!clap.gif
    "May the f/stop be with you!"
  • NikolaiNikolai Darth SLR Registered Users Posts: 19,035 Major grins
    edited September 8, 2007
    Quicklebe wrote:
    Here is the wine bottle with a dark background and a snoot added. I also placed a blue light on the background. I adjusted the brightness levels in Capture NX. Also I eliminated a reflection in the upper half of the bottle that I could not get rid of.

    Here is the setup shot. I used a diffuser between the back light and the gobo. I had to hand hold the diffuser so it is not in this shot. Also the snoot on the label is from overhead. The snoot is hard to see in the picture.

    Thank you! thumb.gif
    Looks like the label light is a bit too much, neh?headscratch.gif
    "May the f/stop be with you!"
  • dlscott56dlscott56 Major grins Registered Users Posts: 1,323 Major grins
    edited September 9, 2007
    Haven't had a chance to get back to this for a while so thought I'd take another shot at it. The set up is the same as others I've already posted so I didn't add it here. I did move the flash a little closer to the difuser to try and take care of the problem Nik pointed out about not having enough light. I guess it's better but still needs some work. Also added a piece of glass for the table instead of the press board I was using. Other than that, no difference from my previous attempts.

    EXIF

    193701457-L.jpg
  • dlscott56dlscott56 Major grins Registered Users Posts: 1,323 Major grins
    edited September 9, 2007
    Ok ... I know this doesn't really count as a bottle, but I think I finally got my lighting to work a little better so posted it anyway. Same set up, just moved the lighting and the gobo around to get the diffuser lit better. I actually took this one before the previous post but didn't mess around with it till later. I must have moved my lighting around before shooting the bottle.

    EXIF

    193453463-L.jpg
  • NikolaiNikolai Darth SLR Registered Users Posts: 19,035 Major grins
    edited September 9, 2007
    Nice onces, Dave! thumb.gif
    First one a bit uneven on the bg, but nice anyway!
    "May the f/stop be with you!"
  • dlscott56dlscott56 Major grins Registered Users Posts: 1,323 Major grins
    edited September 9, 2007
    Nikolai wrote:
    Nice onces, Dave! thumb.gif
    First one a bit uneven on the bg, but nice anyway!

    Thanks Nik. I'm definitely learning a lot here.
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