Photographer Dustin Dolby is known for his tutorials where he shows how to take professional-looking product shots with minimal gear. He guided us through taking fantastic cosmetic products shots, and photos of wine bottles that make you want to drink a glass of it (or the whole bottle). This time, he guides us through another way of photographing wine. Instead of giving it bright and soft look, he goes for something darker and bold. Personally, I prefer this style, and it’s the kind of look that would go perfectly with strong-tasting red wines. This kind of photo almost makes you feel the taste of wine – and it’s created using only one speedlight and 4 photos blended together with some Photoshop magic.
Dustin starts by taking four photos of the bottle, which he’ll later blend together in Photoshop. The first one is a photo with the speedlight and a strip softbox on the left. If you don’t own a softbox, I believe some of the DIY solutions will do the job. You can add a black background and face it away from the stripbox, and it will give you the perfect render in-camera.
After taking the photo with the light on the left, it’s time for the second shot and moving the light to the right. You need to make it symmetrical, and you can check it by comparing the thickness of the white line of the light. When they’re approximately equal, that’s it.
Next, place the softbox behind the bottle and take the shot. This will create a mask for Photoshop and save you some time for cutting the product out.
Finally, take the strip box above your product, center it and take the shot to lighten the label. Depending on the label, you can even use the bare flash, and it’s exactly what Dustin did. This way, he got a lot of details from this velvety, shiny purple label and it turned out really beautifully.
Now that you’ve taken 4 shots, it’s time to take this party to Photoshop. You’ll need to get all the images in Photoshop as separate layers and create the bottle selection from the shot with light behind the subject. From here on, Dustin applies some “tricks of the trade” to make selections and blend in the different shots. He tweaks them to remove the dust, make the lines of light more symmetrical, add a fake reflection of the bottle and some fake purple light behind. In the video, you can see how the magic happens, and the editing workflow starts at 4:35. Here’s Dustin’s final result:
When Dustin does it, it looks easy, but I guess it takes some time in Photoshop to get the result like this. Still, this is a really affordable way of creating a product shot that brings out the beauty of the bottle. To me, it seems that this kind of photo even gives a hint how the wine tastes. So, even if you spend a lot of time in Photoshop after taking the shots, the result is definitely worth it, and of course – you can have a glass of wine to celebrate the job well done. Cheers!
[How to Photograph Wine Bottles | Bold Look | Dustin Dolby]