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Product Photography Tips: How To Photograph Glass Bottles Against Light & Dark Backgrounds

Glass can be quite a challenging item to photograph but product photography king Markus Pettersson is here to help you perfect these tricky product shots.

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Markus Pettersson, a photographer who we've worked with previously to bring you some awesome still life photography tips, is back and this time, he's sharing his glass product photography tips with you. 

A few months ago, Markus was asked to capture product shots for a new perfume label -  Montecristo by Mille Centum Parfums. The shoot actually took a whole day as two set-ups were used: one for clean product images and the other with accessories included. 

 

Product photography set-up

Photo © Markus Pettersson

 

Product photography set-up

Photo © Markus Pettersson

 

Glass Can Be Tricky 

 As Markus explains on his site, capturing images of transparent glass on dark and light backgrounds can be challenging as it requires different lighting set-ups. When working with dark backgrounds, the contours of the glassware are accentuated with highlights while on light backgrounds, you need the contours to be darker. 

 

Working With Light Backgrounds 

For light backgrounds, Markus says using a single flash behind the glassware against the background is enough, although you will need a fill light for the front of the item you're photographing is there's a label on it. The below image shows just how effective using one flash pointed at the background can be. 

 

Bottle on white background

Photo © Markus Pettersson

 

Working With Dark Backgrounds

Highlights are key when working with glass on dark backgrounds and Markus creates these with light which hits the bottle side-on from large softboxes (large softboxes prevent narrow reflections). When the box was introduced, a flash with a snoot and grid were added to create a small spot fill light to highlight the bottle's logo as well as the box. The final images are actually composites from different shots which we look at in more detail below. 

 

Bottle on black background

Photo © Markus Pettersson

 

Retouching Glass Bottles

As mentioned, the final images on both the dark and light backgrounds are composites of several images that use different parts of the bottle / box which looked the best in each frame. For both the light and dark backgrounds, 3 images were combined to create the best overall result.  "Between these different images I changed the lighting slightly to get the desired result on one specific area of the bottle/box," explains Markus. 

 

Bottle on black background

Photo © Markus Pettersson

 

Dust is also a major problem when working with glass as it becomes very visible when working with flash. Markus spent around 2 hours per image removing dust particles and you can find out what tools he used for this and how he used them over on his website

Other edits included using the same reflection / highlight on both sides of the bottle so it appears more symmetrical which makes it more pleasing to the eye. 

 

Tips On Working With Accessories

When using other items in your product shots, they need to add to the image without distracting the viewer from the main product. It's also important that they reflect the brand / product you're capturing and often, colour matching the accessories with the main product will work very well. 

 

Perfume bottle

Photo © Markus Pettersson

 

Do visit Markus Pettersson's website where you'll find the full product photography tutorial as well as other interesting tutorials and features to help you perfect your technique

 

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