A few weeks ago, Jennifer Litz asked if I would take some photos for her. Business, but fun. She covers the craft beer/food industry, so we already had more than a little in common.
I thought bookshelves with beer bottles on them would serve nicely as a beer-related backdrop, and happen to have entirely too many bottles of beer on hand. For a little added personality, why not add a goblet and swirl it to add a dash of motion to the equation? I couldn’t think of a reason not to do that either, so we did.
Shooting inside on a nasty day means controlling the light myself. Starting point? No ambient at all. Final state? Slightly warm light on the bookshelf, clean and soft light on the subject. See below.
This is my starting point: ISO 200, f/8, 1/125s. That would leave me with enough shutter to freeze motion, and kill any ambient light. Stopping down to f/8 would make sure the window of acceptably sharp focus would tend to include my entire subject. If you pay attention to my other photos, which are generally outside using my friend the sun as a light source, I usually shoot around two stops wider (if not more).
No light. Black frame.
Now, a black frame isn’t much to look at unless you’re Spinal Tap and you’re trying to find the most blackest – something that can be none more black – black for an album cover. I usually start with the background, and work my way forward. That’s exactly what I did this time. A gridded 285HV with a 1/4 CTO gel in it nicely covered the bookshelf. Click the image to see where the actual light was placed, I added the setup shots as comments to the photos on Flickr.
Time to bring in the subject. One 285HV, snooted, into the wall to the camera-right of the subject to fill in the wall and bounce back a bit of side light brought in some more depth. The key light was my third 285HV bounced into a large Lastolite Tri-Grip reflector. It just so happens that my tripod doubles as pretty good reflector holder.
All lit up
The whole scene.
Finally, one of the photos with the goblet involved.