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Photographing perfume spray

johnp 13 141 United Kingdom
13 Mar 2010 4:01PM
I wonder if anyone can advise on how to photograph the spray from a perfume bottle, please?

Ideally I want to photograph a model from the side, holding the bottle about 15cm to 20cm in front of herself and spraying perfume onto her neck or chest. It's important to capture the actual spray coming out - the bottle alone is not sufficient. Also ideally the background will be white or quite light in colour but if necessary I'll re-think that bit.

I've done a bit of experimenting and the spray (sometimes referred to as mist) is extremely fine, which makes me wonder whether it's possible.

I've even wondered whether to photograph the spray/mist and then Photoshop it into an image of the model holding a bottle. But I'm still left trying to figure out how. Queries include background colour choice, continuous light or flash, direction of light, how to synchronize exposure with spray coming out (or do I just take a lot in the hope that I'll eventually press the shutter at exactly the right moment?)

Looking forward to some fascinating answers!


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rhody 15 2.4k 2 United Kingdom
13 Mar 2010 5:22PM
Hi John - I took some shots recently of fine rain falling onto an American Tree Frog.

It was against a black background to record the detail in the drops with an angled studio flash/ softbox, high up behind the frog and pointed diagonally towards the camera, across the frogs back not directly into the camera.

At 1/200 sec the droplets recorded as a mist against the black background when lit diagonally from behind.

Probably not so easy with a light background - you might find it difficult to retain the detail to distinguish the perfume mist.

If the perfume mist is important to record, just experiment with that detail to start with.
stigma 8 2
15 Apr 2010 11:45PM
How about a contre-jour? The spray particles will definitely be visible if the light is set correctly, and if any other element in the photograph has to be visible you could simply use a tighter secondary light on it.
User_Removed 9 1.4k England
16 Apr 2010 1:01AM
It sounds to me like an entirely PP created spray would be best.

It is very unlikely that the actual spray from the bottle will give you a nice uniform pattern, at the correct speed.

Much easier to create it digitally and add in.

- as opposed to the work required to produce an electromechanical switch for the spray activation, and then shooting the mist at high speed in a darkened room.

Shooting perfume mist in a regular fashion will make it look like paint/bugkiller (due to the lateral motion blur given by the max x-sync speed 1/200 )- not really desirable at all. Tongue

So unless you have a leaf shutter camera, or a highspeed set-up easily available its gunna look like more streaky than misty.

A la...


But, if you must... Take it on a dark background with strobe from the direction of spray, invert the result, compose onto light background model and then reinvert.
BigRick 12 2.1k 3 United Kingdom
16 Apr 2010 8:03PM
Set up with light from behind so the spray is lit against a black background, then then light from the front using barn doors or honeycomb to highlight the face etc.
johnp 13 141 United Kingdom
18 Apr 2010 5:52AM
Thank you all for your suggestions. I'll give it a try based on them. If I succeed I'll post an image.

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