With the American holiday weekend fast approaching, it’s time to celebrate with a glass (or three) of champagne!
This is one of the few types of shots I do using entirely strobe lighting. To get the right lighting on the glasses and of a short enough duration to freeze the bubbles, the shot demands strobes. Whereas my typical natural light shots are 3 seconds or more in duration, this one was shot at 1/10th of a second, using an aperture of f/10.
One of the most deceptive things about this shot is the lights on the strings and the apparent size of the individual bulbs. The initial thinking is to use a longer exposure to make the bulbs larger, but in fact, it is determined by the aperture setting of the camera. Since I used a very long lens for this shot (210mm on medium format) and was relatively close to the set, I wasn’t worried about changing the aperture and the effect that would have on the depth of field in the shot – it was going to be shallow regardless.
Here is a diagram showing my lighting setup:
The key is to use a large light source – in this case, a very large white diffusion panel. That provides the nice lighting on the flutes – a small light source would not provide the beautiful strip of light down each side of the glasses.
It’s also important to keep the light off the string of lights – if you light them, you’ll light the string between the lights, and that’s not desirable. Seeing a bit of the string is fine, but lighting the string would look odd.
Finally, the backdrop is lit separately to show the colour of the red wreaths.
The rest is just placement of the props on the set to give a nice overall balance. The most demanding part – surprisingly, it was the metal wine bucket with the knobby handles. Getting it just right took some work.
The final image is a composite of two shots – the one exposed as seen above, and a second under-exposed, to deal with the bright speculars in the flutes that resulted from the lighting setup. The under-exposed shot is composited into this shot to “paint over” the specular areas of the glasses, bringing them back from white.
Hope you enjoyed the post – have a happy Thanksgiving everyone!