Hi everyone and apologies for the lateness of this Blog but as promised here it is. Also at the bottom of this Blog is a link to a video of this summary complete with an added review of the post production technique used to achieve the final image 😀

In my last couple of workshops, the assignments have all been about shooting glass and liquids so this latest assignment will cover some of what’s been done already. The remit for this assignment was to shoot two glasses of liquid against a pure white background. Sounds simple but is in fact quite technically challenging. So, let’s get started.

Here’s the finished image:

Finished image

And here’s how we achieved it:

Take two glasses of coloured liquid and place them on a black plexiglass shooting table (fig 1).

The two glasses on a shooting table

(fig 1) The two glasses on a shooting table

It’s probably a good idea at this stage to make sure the glasses and table are clean (unlike the ones in this demo setup) 😀

(fig 2) Softbox as a background

Now, the background needs to be pure white, so we used a large softbox for this (fig 2) which gives us the flexibility to adjust the light and we can do that in two ways. We can either increase or decrease the power of the strobe or we can move the softbox nearer or away from the subject.

Let’s now introduce a softbox and difuser panel combination to create the gradient highlights on the left hand side of the glasses which you can see here (also note that the highlight goes all the way up the sides of the glasses.

As you can see in (fig 4) I have placed a stripbox behind a difuser panel at about a 45 deg angle which creates the desired results.

(fig 4) stripbox & difuser combination


The only other thing I added to this setup was a reflector panel (white foamboard) to the right hand side of the subject (fig 5) just to bounce a bit more light into what was otherwise a slightly dark area.

(fig 5) Reflector

Well, that’s the set up, but it’s by no means the end of the story. As I mentioned earlier, the background needs to be pure white. Ok, we can do that – but when we do, what happens? Unfortunately, we loose the gradient highlights we created at the top of the glasses where there is no liquid and we loose the definition of the glass edges in this area too (fig 6).

(fig 6) lost highlights and definition on top of glass

So what’s the solution? Well, the stark reality is, that we can’t always achieve exactly what we want in camera. Sometimes there has to be a compromise and we have to finish the image in post production and in this case, it’s got to be the background that gets edited. It’s more important to make sure that the product, the glasses in this case, are correctly exposed and the background then becomes slightly under exposed (not pure white). It’s going to be  much easier to adjust the background in post production than it would to adjust the product.

The video link which you can find below will take you to the video summary of this workshop and also includes how we did the post production to achieve the final image. So I hope this will be of help to you in your photography 😀



Terry Croom


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