UPDATE: After completing the course, and with the wisdom of hindsight, I have realised that beverage photography is challenging, and it was naive of me to expect "instantly good" results. Throughout the course, the instructor remained patient and helpful.

If you've followed along the last two days, you've seen my frustrating attempts to light and photograph a wine bottle properly. On Thursday, I was able to get the outline of the bottle nearly correctly lit, but I still had more work to do on lighting. I emailed the course instructor, who suggested I move the lights back further behind the wine bottle.

I tried out his suggestion on Friday, and I got a little closer. However, I struggled to light the front of the bottle properly.

This morning, I spent almost 90 minutes in my basement trying one thing or the other. I moved one of the Speedlites from the stand and handheld it at various places around the basement with little success. The bottle was either too well lit or reflected the unfinished roof of the basement.

Saturday 18 July, 2020 | Day 118 | FujiFilm X-T2 | XF16-55mmF2.8 R LM WR
Saturday 18 July, 2020 | Day 118 | FujiFilm X-T2 | XF16-55mmF2.8 R LM WR

Just near the end of my session, I experimented with the power settings on the Speedlite, which I controlled via a setting on the Fujifilm X-T2 menu. The idea was to photograph the bottle with the Speedlites lighting the side of the bottle, then photograph the front of the bottle and blend the two images in Adobe Photoshop. The result is the image you see below.

Bottle of Apothic Red Wine
Apothic Red | Saturday 18 July, 2020 | Day 118 | FujiFilm X-T2 | XF16-55mmF2.8 R LM WR

What do you think?

Submitted as part of the 100DaysToOffload project.

UPDATE: After completing the course, and with the wisdom of hindsight, I have realised that beverage photography is challenging and it was naive of me to expect "instantly good" results. Throughout the course, the instructor remained patient and helpful.

On my lunch break today, I continued working on photographing a bottle of Apothic Red wine. Yesterday, I was frustrated in my attempts because although I knew that it was not working, I didn't understand why. I found an article, Shooting a “Papo Seco” Wine Bottle, on Diy Photography which was very helpful. They included images of the studio setup that helped me in how to place my diffusers. Today, I am using pool noddles in the rafters, clothespins, and twine to hang my diffusers from the basement rafters. It's not ideal. Any movement in the room causes air movement and the diffusers move around. I am learning the art of patiently waiting for everything to become still.

Other resources I am using are:

Shadow in the centre of the bottle | Friday 17 July, 2020 | Day 117 | FujiFilm X-T2 | XF16-55mmF2.8 R LM WR

The new problem is that while both sides of the bottle seem evenly lit, the centre of the bottle has a dark shadow. I handheld one of the reflectors off to one side of the camera to reflect some light back onto the bottle. It works but only for the side with the reflector. I have resorted to using photoshop to combine images of two images, each one with the reflector on the left and right.

Reflecting light onto the left front | Friday 17 July, 2020 | Day 117 | FujiFilm X-T2 | XF16-55mmF2.8 R LM WR
Photoshop | Friday 17 July, 2020 | Day 117 | FujiFilm X-T2 | XF16-55mmF2.8 R LM WR

But of course, now I can see the reflector reflected off the bottle. One step forward, two steps back and I have forgotten where I was headed.

Photoshop | Friday 17 July, 2020 | Day 117 | FujiFilm X-T2 | XF16-55mmF2.8 R LM WR

Submitted as part of the 100DaysToOffload project.

UPDATE: This has been sold. Wow! That was fast.

A few years ago, I bought an AlienBees Studio Lighting Kit. I had this naive idea that I would learn portrait photography and build a small side business shooting family and individual portraits. As it turns out, I wouldn’t say I like portrait photography or heavy portable strobes, stands and assorted equipment that’s needed for studio portrait photography.

The equipment was used occasionally. I used it to take portraits of my kids for the yearbook or to do photo booth events. But mostly, the equipment was stored in the basement where it went unused for over a year. It recently dawned on me that I should get rid of this equipment.

I am selling the entire setup as a studio kit bundle for $1072 (excluding shipping). This is a $400 discount for the same items purchased new from Paul C. Buff. The items are gently used but fully functional. If you live in the Princeton area and want to schedule a meeting to see equipment, please let me know in the comments below. This stuff is too heavy to be worth shipping.

The CyberSync™ transmitter/receiver pair may be used to trigger all Paul C. Buff, Inc.™ studio flash units as well as most other flash brands employing a standard phone jack (RJ11) or mini phone jack sync input. The connection to the flash units using an “H” style connections is possible with suitable adapter cables.

The 51-inch Parabolic Umbrella Extreme Silver with Buff Speedring and PLM White Front Diffuser Fabric bounces the light from the flash unit, retaining high efficiency with a wide-angle of coverage and results in an extremely even, low profile, front-fed softbox. The soft silver fabric produces a controlled, feathered falloff with very soft shadows, perfectly round catchlights and an added specular punch over white umbrellas and softboxes.

The 13-foot Heavy Duty Light Stand maximum height, 4-section light stand, with a 43-inch maximum footprint. This heavy-duty stand is suitable to hold all Paul C. Buff™ lights, including heavy accessories such as softboxes and octa boxes. The stand weighs a total of 6 pounds and will hold 25+ pounds, collapsing to 42.5 inches for travel.

Item Quantity Price
AlienBees™ B800 Flash Unit
AlienBees™ B800 Flash Unit
2 $448.00
CyberSync™ Receiver - CSR
CyberSync™ Receiver - CSR
2 $112.00
Extreme Silver PLM™ Umbrella
51-inch Parabolic Umbrella Extreme Silver PLM™ Umbrellas with Buff Speedring
2 $80.00
PLM™ White Front Diffusion Fabric 2 $21.00
Light Stand
13-foot Heavy Duty Light Stand
2 $112.00
Paul C. Buff™ Single Light Carrying Bag 2 $21.00
CyberSync™ Trigger Transmitter 1 $48.00
Sekonic L-358 Flash Master
Sekonic L-358 Flash Master
1 $231.00
Total $1073.00