Photographing Beer Bottles

One of my weaknesses is presenting my final pieces properly. I usually run out of time before I am able to properly take photos of my work. This time, I was organised and left myself enough time to take some proper photos of my work.

I watched a few tutorials online of how photographers take product photos.

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I set up my photography box with two lamps and a black background. I set up my camera on a tripod to achieve stable and consistent images. I wanted my three photos to look similar so I kept the beer bottles in the same place. This is a similar set up to how I photographed my other projects.

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I was really disappointed in how the photos turned out. Because I don’t have the correct lamps, the photos just tuned out really weird colours, the lighting was horrible and the details weren’t as vivid as I hoped them to be.

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I did try editing them to see if the photos could be improved. I adjusted the colour balance – adding in some blue/purple to counteract the orange/yellow tones. I also toned down the exposure. I used the sharpen filter to bring out some of the detail. Although I really like the dark background because the bottles stand out, I just hate everything else about the image. I felt that these images didn’t do my work any justice at all. In the past I would have just used these images but as one of my goals this year was to present my work better, I decided to start from scratch with the photos.

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I went with a really simple set up – I just put the bottle on my table near the window for natural light. I took the same photos for each bottle in the exact same position:
  • a front view
  • a side view
  • a back view
  • some details of the foil effect, illustrations and wax seal

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The natural light and simple background was a really good choice. The photos came out looking so professional and much better than the first images. Sometimes simple is best! The detail and the colours were much stronger and more eye-catching in natural light.
The photos still needed a little bit of editing to really make them stand out though.

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Using the brush tool and layer masks, I removed the background around the beer bottle.
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I copied the layer and inverted the layer mask so I had the background on one layer and the beer bottle on another.
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I lowered the saturation and brightness of the background which looked like this:
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On the bottle layer I used levels to make it a touch brighter
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The last things I did were to crop the photo, make the background a little lighter and carefully touch up the edges of the bottle where the layer masks overlapped.
I think the shiny black table and the grey-ish background are quite dark and moody looking which fits the theme of the beer really well. They’re so plain that they allow the the labels to stand out. I’m so happy with how professional the photos turned out. Putting more thought into how I present my work is definitely paying off.
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