Behind-the-Scenes on a Beverage Photography Shoot using Light Painting Techniques

This short but awesome behind-the-scenes video from Adrien Veczan shows his setup and technique for capturing a product photo of a bottle of cranberry vodka. Check out the video and then read on to hear a little bit more about his approach and method, which utilizes different lights to paint different parts of the bottle for his final image.

A Canadian photographer with a background in photojournalism, Veczan has been working lately on more product and food & drink images. His style is to use lights almost like brushes, as he endeavors to paint light over objects to craft every shadow and highlight.

For his Bear Hug Vodka bottle shot in the video, Veczan explained to me that it's not the light source we see, as with traditional light painting, but rather the reflection of its light.

Using a long exposure and moving the lights gives me much more control than if I was using only strobes. First off, it allows me to light different parts of the shot independently. There's no need to compromise, I can use a softbox on one part and a snooted flashlight on another.

To get this with strobes, I'd have to use a ton of little black cards; but with a constant light, it's just a matter of going slower where you want more light and faster where you don't.

Having a kit of different lights enables Veczan to experiment and create very unique looks for his backgrounds. Through a lot of trail and error, he was able to come up with the background you see in the final image.

I used two lights for this background: a quick swoop with a short LED strip, and the other was a juggling toy called a POI that has a cycling RGB LED inside. I have an entire arsenal of things that emit light beyond the normal photography equipment; party supplies store are full or lights you can experiment with.

Veczan openly admits that his techniques take him much longer in the studio, but he enjoys working on the nuances of lighting of every part of an object in just the way he wants. You can follow him at @veczan on Instagram.

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19 Comments

Sean Berry's picture

wow. really impressive light painting!

that's pretty damn cool.

This is great! When I saw the video was 2 minutes long, I thought it would be one of these Photoshop speed edits.

But there was physical activity and an explanation at each step.

Excellent job!

Tony Roslund's picture

Nice vid. Great results.

Bert McLendon's picture

This is awesome! The result is very very nice!

Nice lightning!
Can this be somehow achieved with Speedlites or only continuous light?

Matt Rennells's picture

Short of the way he made the background, everything else could be done with speedlights. Big softbox close on the left, snooted rim light on the right, and then an overhead light to light the berries. This photographer is just doing what works for him, but similar results could be accomplished through a lot of different methods. Essentially all that he's doing differently than a normal layering method of product photography is to use light painting instead of a softbox/strobe. It is just like static automotive photography -- light painting and strobe can produce the same results.

As soon as you replied it got me that can be done. Multiple flash bursts while moving them around? After all, it is long exposure i guess. Or am I wrong?

I think you're describing light painting with strobes, what Matt says is that tou take multiple shots each one for one light effect which then you merge on post. I guess every photog should choose whatever fits him better: those with more expertise on PS will prefer this method than the lightpainting

Crystal Provencher's picture

Amazing! Great technique and video!

Jerome Courtial's picture

mind = blown

Who remembers the Hosemaster?!

I do. We had one at RIT when I went to school just before the digital age. I imagine it still gets far more usage now with digital.

Joe Schmitt's picture

Excellent video. There was an article on here a few years ago about light painting a watch. I did that as a project and it was a lot of fun experimenting with different light sources, length of time to shine the light, etc. Like he said, more time in the studio than in front of a computer. I think his technique made the photo way better than what could have been done in strobes. Artistry here.

Great work!

Tiina Söderholm's picture

This one is probably one of my favorite bts video ever! Shows fast everything I need to know on my busy schedule and I never thought using light painting like that! WOW!

fred lefeuvre's picture

great picture ! With all theses techniques it is so easy to edit, well done !

Tomos Edwards's picture

Very cool. So is he doing one long exposure for all the 'main' lighting, and then a separate exposure for the background? The first exposure must be pretty long, no?

Thank you for sharing.