The goal of this photography article is to help shine a light on a quick and easy way to shoot glassware with minimal equipment. There are a number of ways to light and shoot glassware, so there is no single answer and it does depend on the goal of your product photographs. Take the time to explore this guide and others until you find the most suitable for your own requirements as a product photographer.
As a summary of the equipment required, you will need a black background, as well as some speedlights and stripboxes. You will most likely have a lot of this equipment anyway and it never hurts to have a range of lighting, backgrounds and tools to ensure you get the most effective shots for your client.
The first step is to use strip boxes to help modify the speed lights. The reason for doing this is that it helps shape the light, mapping to the tall vertical shape of glassware such as a wine glass. If a commercial photographer is able to use this equipment, it helps to illuminate the parts of a glass that we wish to define most clearly.
If you place the stripboxes behind the glassware (always remembering to be symmetrical), facing inwards then it creates strong highlights that reveal the curves and lines on the glassware.
As a product photographer, you will often get asked for a range of image styles including 3D images for an e-commerce store or social media platform. To improve the look of your glassware images, you can use a single stripbox to illuminate the edge of a glass. What this enables you to do is use the second light on the front of the glass, giving a greater sense of 3D space.
It is important to remember the benefits of spending time in post-production as a commercial photographer and there are a few key features to be aware of when working with glassware. A great example of the power of editing is that if part of the subject doesn’t look great due to the asymmetrical lighting then you can flip the lighting using the feathered mask feature in Photoshop.
You can think about introducing other light sources or pieces of equipment, such as rim lights which may help improve the image but you do need to be careful about causing unwanted reflections on the glassware. This is all about practice and moving the lighting around to understand what the most flattering set-up is for your particular products. Likewise, you can try other backgrounds depending on the client requirements or branding guidelines.
We believe that this is a fantastic, yet simple way for a product photographer to deliver outstanding product images of glassware. It can be a challenging task because you lack the detail to focus on in other aspects of commercial photography such as jewellery and so getting the reflections, shape and depth correct becomes a priority.