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Warres Otima 10 Tawny Port Product Shoot

Warre’s Otima 10 Tawny Port

One of my favourite tipples – at least when I’m not something like my current diets – is a good tawny port. Here, I’ve chosen one particularly good brand, Warre’s Otima 10 Tawny Port, to hightlight with a relatively complex off-camera flash setup.

Tawny port has a dark brownish, warm glow to it, so I chose my lighting setup to match this.
"Tawny port has a dark brownish, warm glow to it, so I chose my lighting setup to match this…"

I wanted to bias my colour temperature towards around 3500 K or so, to match the colour of the port. To this end, the product was placed directly on my studio table, to take advantage of both the colour and the grain of the wood.

Behind this, I set up a white backdrop with an LED video light gelled with a full-CTO gel block, which was then turned up to almost full brightness. This gave the warm, orange background glow that acts as a backdrop to, and simultaneously highlights, the product itself.

The side-lighting was provided with a 56 cm softbox to camera left and a 38 cm softbox to camera right, both double-baffled and further covered with tracing paper to diffuse their light as much as possible. I further made a thin mask by cutting a slit in each of two large pieces of black cardboard and placing one of each in front of the softboxes.

This was actually done to limit the size of the highlights on either side of the bottle, but also had the added benefit of acting as a flag to limit glare into the camera lens, so I didn’t need to set up any additional blocks in line between the softboxes and camera.

One thing I experimented with, but ultimately didn’t like, was with reflecting some of the flash through the port back towards camera with a gold reflector card. You can see my efforts in this regard in images 2 and 3 of my mini-galley, below.

I would guess some might like the swirled patterning this produced – I do quite like it myself – but in this case, the light coming through the port from the video light seemed to be enough to produce an appropriate inner glow by itself.

Instead, I found the glow produced just from the backlighting to be far more regular, far more subtle, and ultimately I preferred it to the usual method I use to get inner glow from such a product. Did it work or not, in your opinion? Which do you prefer? You know where to comment…

The last thing as far as the setup was concerned was to highlight the product label. For this, I used a single LED angle-poise lamp with a black card snoot, gelled with a half-CTO gel to produce the orange-yellow glow to over the product name.

An interesting little quandary I was faced with here was how to get an appropriately coloured liquid in the shot glass, and for this I needed a little Photoshop CC editing magic. The problem was that I didn’t want to open the bottle to put any port in the shot glass, but at the same time, I didn’t have any other port, or indeed any substitute liquid, that I could use instead.

In the end, I put some whisky in the shot glass. Not the same colour as port by any stretch of the imagination, but it was yellow – and this is the important point in my subsequent little trickery. I then took an average over all the tones of the port and all the tones of the whisky that I could and found the differences in hue, saturation and brightness in each. It was then a simple matter of adding a Hue, Saturation and Brighness adjustment layer to the top of the layer stack and applying the HSB differences I’d found to the yellow channel only.

Excellent! The whisky was now the colour of the port. But, not quite job done; the table and backlight also contained major yellow components, and the adjustment had – somewhat more subtly, but nevertheless – affected them also. To get around this, I had to add a layer mask to the HSB adjustment layer, invert it to black, and then expose the liquid in the shot glass only by painting the mask white in the appropriate area.

And there you have it – a Warre’s Otima 10 Tawny Port product shoot in all its glory!

All the best,

Chasing Rays Photography.




Hardware Used


About the Author

Mark Watkins

Mark WatkinsI've been a photographer since 2006 and a computer fanatic since 1995. I hope to share my passion for photography with you through the products and services I offer through my website. See me on Google+ | Facebook | Twitter | LinkedInView all posts by Mark Watkins →

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