Photographing bottles : LUSENET : Large format photography : One Thread

I need tips how to photograph bottles (Wine bottles, perfume bottles). Beside using strip light( is 1 strip light sufficient?) to get the shape of the bottle, should I also use soft box directly above the product? Is using a pen light as a light brush brings a significant difference? Thanks for the tips.


Theo Tan

Theo Tan

-- Theo Tan (, December 30, 1999


Have you thought of placing a white paper cut to the shape of the bottle just behind it ? It will enlighten the content of the bottle.

-- Paul Schilliger (, January 01, 2000.

Dear Theo:

There are two classic ways to photograph glass and which one you use will depend in part on whether the glass is translucent. That is, if the glass is not so dark or contains such a dark liquid that light can pass through it you can photograph it against a lighted background with perhaps a strip light to illuminate the shoulder of the bottle. Or, and especially if the bottle is opaque, you can put the bottle against a background and light the bottle directly, often with light from above and to the rear and with or without a strip light. more than one strip light is not needed.

Eric Shaver

-- Eric Shaver (, January 02, 2000.

Big question, small answer! Overhead softboxes are very 70s for this type of shot & I suggest that you use much harsher lighting, for more dramatic and eye- catching effects. The only advantage of a softbox is that it will light the bottle tops, but you can do this with a spotlight or even by suing silver reflector(s). If bottles are clear and if contents are clear or light, 'backlight' by sticking undersized cutouts (white paper or silver foil) to rear of bottles. This will bring the contents to life. Or you can backlight using a lightbox or a backlit (transmitted or reflected light). if using either of these methods, determine exposure by taking incident reading of background, which gives a very good starting point. Use black 'absorbers' just out of shot to sides of bottles to add modelling and darken edges. Reading between the lines, you don't seem to have much in the way of lighting equipment. Don't worry, use tungsten lighting if necessary. Hope this helps.

-- Garry Edwards (, January 02, 2000.

Check out Light: Science and Magic (try It has sections on lighting glass, metal, reflective plastic, etc. It explains the principles behind lighting such things so that you can work out what is good for you, and not just copy a light setup.

-- Rusty Brooks (, January 04, 2000.

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