Saturday, September 06, 2008

Coca-Cola bottle, part 2 of 2

Ok, so I wasn't too happy with the last Coke shot. It was Tuesday night, and I had to wake up early the next day. I knew it was a bad idea, but I just had to take a new shot for the Weekly Assignment: "Product Photography" at dPS.

Earlier that day a fellow photographer, Rob Necciai, told me he got an interesting effect by placing a strip of cardboard in front of his softbox (picture), thus to block out unwanted light. I didn't have any special ideas for my next Coke shot except that I wanted a backlit subject, and I definitely wanted to try this gobo thing

I started cutting a hole in some black cardboard that had the shape of a Coke bottle. I placed this in front of my DIY softbox and placed a SB-600 inside it. The bottle was placed on black cardboard on top of some DVD covers. Did some test shots to set the camera and flash output. During these shots I found out it was extremely important to line up the gobo, bottle and camera perfectly. Since the gobo was shaped like the bottle, small variations in positions was very noticable since the width of the edge light changed. I also had to block the hole on the top. I thought that the light passing throught the top of the bottle was too intense.

When the test shots were complete, it was time to light the label again. In the last Coke shot I made a mistake by using a reflective umbrella to light the whole bottle and more. By now I had also decided to make this a low-key shot, so I made a DIY snoot for the label flash so that I could focus the light beam on just the label. In the last Coke shot I got ugly reflections from the bottle and label when the light came from the side, and I was happy to see that lighting the label from above (45 degrees) worked great! I mounted the snooted SB-600 on a microphone stand to get it just over the camera.

After the test shots were complete, I ended up with the following settings:

Softbox flash: 1/32 power at 24mm
Snooted flash: 1/64 power at 24mm
Lens: Nikkor 35mm f/2D
Exposure: 1/125 at f/8 ISO200

The setup looked like this:

I sprayed the bottle with water, and noticed I had to be fast so that the water didn't soak the label.

The final shot:
Cokey Low-key

The only PP I did on this was to increase the saturation and straightening in addition to the RAW processing. I'm quite happy with this shot.

What I could have done differently:
  • I wonder if I actually had to cut the gobo with the shape of the bottle. Maybe it would be enough to just make a narrow rectangular slot. I will try that later.


John Brainard said...

I hope you'll try the narrow rectangular gobo for the soft box. I'd like to know if the coke-bottle shape was necessary.

This one turned out so much better than the last one. The back lighting worked great as well as the light on the label. There's not much else to say other than excellent work! I'll be looking forward to seeing more.

zetson said...

I suspect the bottle shaped gobo is like "Much Ado About Nothing". I will try it later. Stay tuned!

Thank you for your comment and feedback. I appreciate such nice words. I'm glad I have at least one reader on my blog:D

Lori Putman said...

zetson...if you hadn't put your flashfrog post on DPS, I would have never known about this. It's fabulous. You know I'm a fan of your work anyway and I appreciate you taking the time to document. It will be great reference when I venture into the strobist world.

zetson said...

Lori, nice of you to leave a comment. I really hope you get to learn something from this. It will make me proud:) Do you plan to invest in some strobes in the near future?

Thank you for your wonderful words!

Lori Putman said...

I tried to reply while at work and I couldn't. I do have 1 speed lite now, Canon 430 EX, but I haven't gotten it off camera yet. I do plan on investing in getting a complete set-up but it will probably have to be piece by piece.

Mark said...

Wow, this is awesome. Really. I'm trying to get into product photography and, I have to say, I wish my shots looked like this. How did you sync the flashes? I think I see a hotshoe flash trigger attached to the snooted strobe, and is that one of those ebay cactus triggers mounted on your camera?

rose said...

Another fan here!
I have to say I tried cutting just a slit and it didn't work. Then I tried the bottle's shape and because the match wasn't as perfect as yours, it didn't quite work either. I ended up photographing the glass... just before drinking it!

Scott Bourke said...

Great tutorial. I was planning on doing a bottle shot soon myself and will certainly take your suggestions with me.

So how did the rectangular slit go?

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I really hope you get to learn something from this. It will make me proud:) Do you plan to invest in some strobes in the near future?

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