First of all, let me be clear that Edradour are not paying me for this or sponsoring me for advertising in any way. My aim was only to experiment with a product set-up and lighting.
Before I began I had a fair idea of what I wanted the final image to look like so I planned the set-up to aim for achieving it though, as will become evident there was an alteration made during the shoot.
I was clear that I wanted a black background so set up the studio with a black backdrop which extended down vertically then horizontally along the table under the product and all the way to the camera position. I also wanted to have crisp, sharp lighting so opted for flash with no diffusion. I positioned the flash close to the product to take advantage of the inverse square law to minimise any lighting on the backdrop. If you’re not sure. the inverse square law in photographic lighting is is basically about the intensity of light radiating from a light source (strobe, flash, hot light etc) and how the intensity of that light on a subject is (inversely) proportional to the square of the distance from the light source. Therefore a light source close to the subject resulting in a correct exposure on the subject will render the more distant background much darker. And if that background is already black…
I only wanted to work with one principal light source – largely from the side but clearly needed to make sure the opposing side didn’t fall into dark shadow. Rather than use a reflector, I set up a small mirror to the left of the subject with the flash to the right. Using a mirror would help retain the sharpness of lighting that I wanted.
I also wanted to have a reflection going on so positioned a flat mirror on the table and placed the subjects on that. Because of the shooting angle, it was possible to ensure that the mirror reflected the backdrop as well as the subjects.
The basic layout in plan view looked like this:
Here you can see the flash positioned to the right right and slightly forward of the subject which is sitting on the base mirror. The arrow shows the direction of the flash. To the left of the subject is the reflecting mirror with dotted arrows representing the bounced light. At the bottom is the camera position. The flash was triggered with a remote system from the camera.
Behind the subject, I eventually positioned another light. I wasn’t happy with the initial shots and felt that there needed to be an “inner glow” to the bottle. To achieve this I set up a small LED unit at minimum power to provide the back light giving a pleasing glow to the bottle and contents.
There was some very light touch editing in Lightroom and Photoshop for colour balance and to make sure the background was consistently black. It was very light touch though with most of the work done in camera.
Overall, I’m quite pleased with the result but have some slight issues with the lighting on the nosing glass which seems a little harsh despite toning that down in editing.
All in all though, a pleasing result.