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Commercial Advertising Wine Photography | Part 1

Guarachi Cabernet Sauvignon and Pinot Noir

Commercial Advertising Wine Photography

A few months ago the marketing director of a wine group in Los Angeles got in touch with me for a commercial advertising wine photography campaign. Turned out to be some of the nicest and most professional group of people I’ve had the pleasure to collaborate with. We set up a mini studio at their head quarters for the hero product shots and also went to a restaurant to do some life style photography for their brand. Ignited handled the art direction and layout. And art director was on set to coordinate and help style the shoot. It was great to have an extra set of eyes on set to pick up on the smallest details that can make or break a shoot like this. Our studio handled all post production and retouching.

Lighting digram for table top set up

Photographing Wine Bottles is a Tricky Affair: Glass in general and what appears to be black glass in particular reflects EVERYTHING. In reality, up close the glass is really green glass that contains red liquid, so it looks black sort of. To accentuate the shape and height of the bottles highlights are painstakingly placed to accentuate shape. So the shape of the light modifier that is used is critical. For the lighting: A four foot strip box was used to create the highlights on the bottles {camera right}. You can tell that is the main light by looking at the direction of shadows. No key/fill light was used because that would cause a reflection on the front of the bottles. A four foot soft box {camera left} was feathered towards the camera using only the modeling light for a faint highlight. We brought a Calumet Heavy-Duty Background Support set up with us and a four foot grey seamless. The seamless was sourced to match the mood board created by the Ignited team. The camera used is a Canon 1D Mark III locked down on a tripod, with Pocket Wizard Plus III’s to trigger the Profoto AcuteB2 600Ws heads. Sekonic L‑358 Flash Master with a Pocket Wizard Transmitter Module was used to measure the strobe at f8. We photographed our ColorChecker Passport by X-Rite in scene to ensure color accuracy. For the art director, and to view images and see that we nailed the shot we shot we tethered the camera to a 17″ MacBook Pro using a Tether Tools Aero platform and Adobe Lightroom 4 to ingest the images.

Photographing Wine Bottles: Since wine bottles will reflect anything white or anything that reflects light back towards the wine bottles, the best case scenario is to photograph in a dark environment. Windows blacked out. In our studio I use a simple set up. I’ve tapped together two 4×8 foot 1/4 inch black and white foam coar boards. One side is white the other side is black. The foam core boards are purchased at my local camera store. I use the two sets to flag off anything that will reflect back at the wine bottles. If you are on location I recommend having 4 pieces of 4×4 foot black and white foam core to flag and use as reflectors as needed.

Marc Weisberg is an award winning photographer and Sony Artist of Imagery based in Irvine, California. Specializing in Luxury Architecture & Real Estate Photography, Food + Wine Photography, and Weddings & Family Photography, he’s easy to work with and produces clean, crisp, and technically flawless images. Marc’s photography is published internationally in over a dozen books and magazines. You can contact Marc by phone at 949.494.5084…. or email.

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