Westminster fountain at sunset

by Jorge Córdoba

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I am working on a beer related website, and I would like to build a portable light box that I can take to a beer shop and photograph as many individual beer bottles as possible. What is the best way to construct this to ensure proper lighting and the ability to rapidly swap out beers and snap photos?

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3 Answers 3

up vote 7 down vote accepted

There are plenty of light tents on the market that would suit your needs:

Light Tent - Google Shopping

If you want to go the DIY route, your best bet is to choose a decent piece of diffusion material (thin plastic / acrylic are good for this) and make a tall three sided pyramid and fire the flash through the diffusion material for even lighting, see:

Strobist - A Ping from Ming on the Bling Lighting Thing

This setup really favours shooting from above however you could build a two sided box with sides at right angles which would give you the ability to quickly swap out bottles. When shooting glass you want the lit-up diffusion material to make up as much of the space around the bottle as possible so you don't get odd reflections of your light tent in the glass.

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Unless you are on really good terms with your beer shop, I would have thought they would have frowned on you photographing dozens of beer bottles in their store without paying for them. Why not take the bottles home and use a non-portable setup? If you are on really good terms with your beer shop that they may be happy with you returning them (rather than cluttering up their store for hours). If not then how about buying the beer you want to photograph. Bonus - you get to drink the beer!

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1  
The shop owner may well benefit from the exposure such a website could generate. As for buying and drinking the beer that could cost hundreds and lead to some severely drunk shooting! None of this has anything to do with photography, however... –  Matt Grum Nov 5 '10 at 17:42
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Photograph them THEN drink them. –  DJClayworth Nov 5 '10 at 17:56
    
Thanks for your input, though it is a bit irrelevant to my original question. I am on great terms with my local beer stores, and have purchased more than my fair share of beer from them over the years. I plan on practicing my technique with the bottles I already have at home, and once I get a system down, going into the store for an hour or so to take as many shots as time will allow. In fact, I built a light box last weekend and am still working on tweaking it to get the lighting right. This will allow me and a team to rapidly shoot/swap out bottles with minimal disruption. –  k_day Nov 6 '10 at 4:24
    
I agree my input wasn't immediately relevant, but I did want to mention an alternate approach in case you hadn't considered it. Good luck with the project. –  DJClayworth Nov 8 '10 at 19:14

There is this tutorial on digital-photography-school how to make a DIY light tent from a cardboard box.

You could in theory scale this down to bear bottle size or make one on site.

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