Friday, September 05, 2008

Coca-Cola bottle, part 1 of 2

I'm a big fan of dPS (Digital Photography School), which is a blog and forum dedicated to photography. I started using this in my early days when I mostly took snapshots, that is december 2007... During the last six months I feel I have learnt so much from this site, especially the forum.

Each week, theres an assignment called Weekly Assignment at dPS, where a specific theme is given and you have to shoot accordingly within the specified dates. I try to post a photo every week, and the last assignment was "Product Photograhy".

What I wanted to try was a bottle of Coke in a bed of ice cubes. Since I can't buy ice cubes around here I had to fill about 20 ice-cube bags and put them in the freezer the night before (I also had to make room for them in the small freezer, but that's another story).

The idea was to put all the ice in a see-through container and a speedlight below with a blue color gel, just to get that cool look. Unfortunately the blue color gel was just too dark so that no light passed trough the coke, resulting in a silhouette of a bottle laying on blue ice. Lighting the bottle with an additional flash didn't do it either because the bottle appeared too dark.

Therefore I dropped the color gel idea and went for a normal colored ice bed, since the red color of the cola looked more like the one I had in mind. The label was of course too dark and put up a reflective umbrealla on the right side with a white umbrella on the left for fill. This is how the setup looked in the end:

The strobe on the floor is set on 1/16 power at 24mm and the one on the reflective umbrella is at 1/64 at 50mm. Camera settings: 1/250 and f/10 at 50mm, ISO 400 (forgot to set it down to 200...)

The final image:
Coke on the Rocks

What I'm not satisfied with:
  • I should not have used the reflective umbrella. I should have snooted the label flash so that only the label would be lit. The reflection on the label and bottle was a little to harsh IMO. I could also have put the label flash on the other side of the container (camera "top") to eliminate the reflections.
  • The cola liquid is floating in the whole bottle, which makes it evident that the bottle is in a horizontal position. I don't think it look quite good after I noticed that.

I posted this photo for the assignment, but wasn't too happy with it. I tried to shoot another Coke shot, and I think that result was much more pleasing:) That will be the next post.



John Brainard said...

I thought the shot of this was great, but your ideas for how you could improve it make me anxious to see your next iteration.

It's amazing what we learn to see after a while. I'm not sure how long it would have taken me to notice the vertically oriented "bubble" in the coke bottle. It does look unnatural, though.

I'll be looking forward to Part 2.

zetson said...

Isn't it strange that little things like that can make a shot look different when you just notice it? That's one thing I have learnt in dPS. You have to sit down and just look for those details that might end up ruining the whole picture:)

Thanks for commenting!

John Brainard said...

Yeah. I need to participate more in the DPS forums. I submitted a total of one photo for the weekly challenge. I'll have to get back into that again. I need to submit some photos for critique as well.

John Brainard said...

Just had a thought... if instead of shooting this straight on, you shot it from an angle as though it were in a cooler or happens to be laying in a pile of ice, this setup could work. Change up the perspective a little bit maybe. Just a thought.

zetson said...

Thank you for the tip, John. Now I regret I didn't do that! But it's nice to recieve such input for later attempts.

And remember to notify me when you post a critique shot:)

John Brainard said...

A critique shot or a shot critique? You can configure Blogger to send you an e-mail alert whenever you receive comments. I have it set up that way and it works great. Otherwise, I'd lose total track of where people are commenting.

I'm grateful you started this blog. It'll give me another resource to read from someone with more experience than me in lighting. Keep up the great work!

Bru said...

gosh.. you should sell them this pic!

I'm not a coca-cola fan, but after seing this picture I opened a can...

Good job!

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