Photographing cocktails and glassware

Discussion in 'Beyond the Basics' started by thesun, Feb 26, 2021.

  1. thesun

    thesun TPF Noob!

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    Hi. I am not new to photography but mostly do outdoor work and have just recently begun doing photos of cocktails, which I want to be vibrant and show off the colors. My setup is relatively simple and IDEALLY I'd like to have tips that do not require vast amounts of additional expensive hardware, though knowing what I might need is always good.

    I use a $200 smooth white formed plastic seamless background by MyStudio, a few flashes, a few LED lights that I mainly use for Zoom conferencing but which help fill in shadows and such. Sometimes I use my Canon with a ring flash but often my Samsung phone seems to work.

    But whether with the Canon or the phone, my problem is that often the photos just are not the right color...off white, or slightly beige, or such. The white background isn't the right color white. I usually use the "whitest point" option and brighten the photo that way, but it's sometimes too bright, overexposing the photo. When I try to fill the white area with white using the "Fill" bucket, it bleeds into the white areas of the transparent glass. So that's not ideal either. I have had good results by using the "Paths" tool to draw a path around the cocktail, but it's fairly time consuming (5-10 minutes per photo), and I'd really love to know other ways I can approach having a photo right with just a minimal amount of quick post editing.

    Any help or suggestions would be great. I will try to upload two photos, a before and after. My first post on the forum so hopefully this works. Thank you all in advance for taking time to make suggestions. (Seems the uploads worked. The browner one is actually after a little bit of editing, the original was even darker. The brighter one still isn't as white as I'd like, but is much closer.)

    20210224_125213_v4b.jpg 20210224_125213_v1b.jpg


     
  2. snowbear

    snowbear . Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Adjust your white balance. If doing so makes it appear to be overexposed, then pull the exposure down first.
     
  3. thesun

    thesun TPF Noob!

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    And you're saying do this on the camera, not after the shot is taken? So lower the exposure -.5 or -1, then use a "indoor" (or other?) white balance rather than the auto? Click...and then see?

    Or am I lowering the exposure, click, then do the white balance adjust in software afterwards?

    Thank you for the suggestion!
     
  4. snowbear

    snowbear . Staff Member Supporting Member

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    I do all of my adjustments on the computer, nothing in camera. I use Adobe Lightroom but other software would work.

    I'd try setting the WB first, then check the exposure, getting a feel for how much it may need to be adjusted. Once you are comfortable with the process, set the exposure, then the WB. You can always revert changes and start over.

    I'm usually pretty close with exposure that I just go for the WB, then tweak.
     
  5. thesun

    thesun TPF Noob!

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    Thank you for the help. I'll give that a try.
     
  6. Original katomi

    Original katomi TPF Supporters Supporting Member

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    Have a look at lighting from below
     
  7. paigew

    paigew Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    You should be able to get the results you want without pulling it into photoshop. There are some weird shadows going on...what is your lighting set up, do you have a pullback? I would try to set your backdrop by a window for better light. Move the drink around and see how the light effects the final image. Also the original looks underexposed.

    Sent from my Pixel 3 using Tapatalk
     
  8. Strodav

    Strodav TPF Supporters Supporting Member

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    Add a gray card or an X-rite ColorChecker to your scene once you have your lighting set and every time you change lighting. Use the gray card image to set white balance in post. If you use a ColorChecker, you can use the gray scale to set white balance and adjust exposure and use the color swatches to adjust color luminescence and saturation.

    When I do product shots, I tether my camera to see the images on a larger screen immediately. It helps set up lighting and exposure.
     
  9. thesun

    thesun TPF Noob!

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    I'm not sure quite what you mean here. Can you rephrase? Thank you!
     
  10. thesun

    thesun TPF Noob!

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    Using a gray card sounds like a really good, inexpensive way to improve the exposure.
     
  11. thesun

    thesun TPF Noob!

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    Thank you for the reply, I don't know what a "pullback" is -- can you explain that? Currently it's just a few small LED lights set at 90 degree angles to each other, a flash (or not), and I do put it in a room with lots of natural light. Sometimes it's too direct so I've got to use a curtain, and that perhaps has a cast of more amber than white.
     
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  12. paigew

    paigew Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    a pullback would be a pulled back shot of your setup, including the lighting so we can see how you have everything set up and offer adjustments.
     

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