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For my college course (NC Photography), we are covering taking photos of glass bottles. I have a prism glass perfume bottle and would appreciate any tips. We have to take photo in studio using one softbox. The background is white as we will be cutting out the image to place in another background for 'advertising'.
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Someone may be able to help you with lighting more than me, but from photographing jewellery, focus is the critical part, especially if you are cutting out the image you need to make sure every facet of the prism is crisp. If only using one light I would suggest over the top and slightly to the front of the object.
It might seem a trivial point but make sure the glass is clean & polished. It's amazing how a slight fingerprint or bit of dust can show up.
Forgot about that. Fingerprints are a nightmare, use a cloth to move it about once you've cleaned it.
You can? (could) get cotton gloves from Boots which I find excellent for handling glass which I am going to photograph..
Try setting your light position then slowly rotate the bottle until you get the best reflections / refraction from the prism edges, then adjust your light position so that you get the best lighting effect (one which shows the best detail and/or is how you prefer it) If you want to harden up the edges try moving the light further away from the glass as this makes the lighting more of a point source.
Its obvious, but check each step through the viewfinder / on your screen and take shots whenever you think you may be getting there. (I find its awfully difficult to return to the last position that looked OK as small changes in angle can make a large difference in appearance)
One last thought, although you are restricted to one softbox is there anything to stop you using a mask on it? If not you could try covering the face of the soft box with black card / stiff paper then cutting a hole in the paper to focus the light, start small and get larger / try different shape holes as you go
The trick is to get strong lines along the edges of the bottle and seperate it from the background, whilst removing any reflections from the lights or equipment being used.
You say it has to be a single light with white background, you didn't mention whether there is liquid in the bottle, so its going to need brightfield lighting. Here's two options.
1. use a translucent background, with the large light placed behind the background giving even coverage, place item on white acrylic sheet in front of background.
2. white board or similar with a light source in front of it. However ensure the light source provides even coverage on the background and cannot be seen or a reflection seen in the glass. So place 'item' on white acrylic sheet (this will give a nice reflection of the item under its base), place the light underneath pointing through the gap between base and background, this way you will not get any nasty unwanted reflections.
Choose camera position so you can't see any camera reflections in the item or the acrylic base sheet, obviously select a suitable lens and aperture for required dof.
Hope that helps.
If you can use reflectors, you might want to try black ones. Sounds silly, but it can often help delineate crystal cut edges and help separate glass from the background. You will need plenty of light so you'll need the soft box very close, as the black will absorb some.
Best thing to do is practice at home to see which angle the bottle looks good from, then work out the lighting from there.
There are several ways to light glass, including bottom lighting (light from below, subject on translucent glass), top lighting and hard side lighting. You'll have to experiment, but having a good idea will give you a head start.
Thanks for the advice. The bottle had small amount of perfume in it. Would really love to get a good image of this bottle.
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