Product photography perfume nr. 1, that is the title of this blog. But… since yesterday evening snow is falling. The world becomes white and almost every photographer is in a jubilant mood. The downside for today is that the wind is very strong and the powdery snow is coming from all directions. And that is not the best of circumstances for your expensive photo gear. According to the weather forecasts the snow will remain there for a while and looking at the weather reports and my diary, I have already decided to go to enjoy the white world on Wednesday afternoon, hopefully illuminated by a little sun.
So today we got back to work in the studio with a borrowed set of Carolina Herrera perfume bottles.
My black perspex plastic sheet was delivered this week. An ideal surface for this shoot where all of my (flash) lights are used.
I started with the background lighting. For this I pointed a studio flashlight with a standard reflector and a honeycomb grid (to make the light beam smaller) on the background and searched for a position that provided the desired reflection on the black perspex. In the center of that reflection I placed the perfume bottles in a way that clearly showed the logo and stiletto heel.
Then I placed the large 120 cm x 80 cm softbox behind a scrim a bit diagonally behind the bottles for the hair light.
To get more light on the front and especially the gold coloured stiletto heel, I placed a third light with a 60 cm x 60 cm softbox on the left at low power. Not completely satisfied with the result, the fourth flash was also placed with a 60 cm x 60 cm softbox on low power to the right of the bottles. It takes a while to find the right balance with the flash power settings of the four lights until it all coincides and the picture starts to show up as you have it already planned in your head.
Godox S30 Focuslight
After the lights on the perfume bottles were well balanced it was time for the smaller details. For that I bought a Godox S30 LED Focuslight with a ‘Projection attachment’ as accessoire. Equipped with the optional aperture blade, you can apply very small spots of light (thanks to the aperture blade, the size is adjustable).
In the left photo above you can see that I focused the light beam on the logo of the largest bottle, in the photo in the middle I made the spotlight slightly larger to shine through the top of the small bottle. Finally, in the photo on the right you see the spotlight aimed at the bottom part of the bottle.
The S30 has 1 disadvantage and that is that it is a fixed LED light, so no flash. For studio photography with flashes I use a shutter speed of 1/160 second. Short enough to banish out ambient light and the modelling lamp lights. However, that is too short for the light from the S30 to fall on the sensor and so the shutter speed has to be longer, with the result that ambient light will start to play a role. I’ve had to turn off the modelling lights on the flash, turn off the light in the room, and close the curtains to keep the light in control.
The end result as shown above has been created using both Adobe Photoshop and Lightroom. The three images I have shown before are imported in Photoshop as separate layers. The photo with the lighted logo is on the first layer. Layers two and three contain the photos with the spotlight on the different spots on the smaller perfume bottle. By applying a mask on both layers you can selectively replace elements on the first layer with content from layers 2 and 3.
Then I applied some dodge and burn to locally light up the dark bottle here and there and make it darker around the logo again.
Finally, some dust that had fallen on the perspex sheet was removed. Then back to Lightroom where I adjusted the white balance a bit for a cooler, bluer colour and some extra vignetting.
Below the behind the scenes picture, at that time still with three lights.
PS. I have more perfume bottles I borrowed, so there is a second and possibly a third shoot with perfume bottles coming up.