A champagne toast at midnight. There is no more iconic way to make the transition from one year to the next. To celebrate the beginning of 2014, I decided to shoot a glass of champagne. Let me show you how I created this shot with items I had laying around my garage.
Here is the final shot. For this image, I was trying to have a darker background with lights that mimicked the bubbles found in champagne. I wanted the focus to be on the glass, so I left the bottle darker and covered in shadow.
This was shot using a 500 watt worklight, a collapsible diffuser, a string of white Christmas lights, some black foam board and black cinefoil. These are all very inexpensive items that you probably have lying around your house. Here is a look at the lighting set-up.
I wrapped the string of lights around a piece of black foam board and secured them in place with a small clamp. Using the lights with dark green cord is better than the lights with the white cord. The darker color of the green cord will help the lights blend into the background. The wide spread of the worklight, creates a problem of light spilling onto and lighting the background. To prevent this, I used black foam board and black cinefoil to block and control where the light fell. Placing the collapsible diffuser in front of the worklight created a long white highlight on the side of the glass.
The final shot is a composite of two images. One was shot before pouring and one after pouring. Below are the two images that were merged together to create the final image.
I realize that a worklight is not something that is practical to bring with you to a shoot with clients. You could easily create this shot with a flash or other continuous lighting gear. The point of using this inexpensive lighting solution is to emphasize that it isn't the gear that makes a great image. Sure there are situations where high powered flashes or super fast lenses will help, but what is more important is understanding why they help. I encourage you to try new things and push your photography skills in 2014. If you normally shoot people, try shooting objects. If you are a wedding photographer, try your hand at landscapes. If you don't have the expensive gear that you think you need to create the shot, try it with what you already have. You may find that you don't need the more expensive gear, or you will learn what that more powerful flash or tilt shift lens is necessary. I plan on pushing myself in new ways photographically in 2014, and look forward to sharing them with you.
If you want to add food photography to your portfolio in 2014, check out the PDF series photographing FOOD. The 8 issues will help you improve your food photography in 2014!