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Image results and studio lighting set up

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Linked are the images of my set up (2 grid strip boxes, 1 softbox, and using 3 x800 white lighting strobes). I'm using the large softbox as my background because I can't seem get my white backdrop actually white when I shoot. Also using an acrylic sheet for the subject platform and two black foamcore boards to produce a more pronounced edge to the object. This is shot at 50mm f9.0 1/250 ISO 100 on a fujifilm-XT2 with a tripod and wired trigger. The object is a glass container and doesn't look orange to the eye, however that's what I end up with. I tried to use a small speedlight to illuminate the label from overhead compose it in photoshop after, but both images are pretty bad. How can I change my set up or orient things differently to produce better images?

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    Those types of bottles are amber. They are yellow/orange. Have you tried filling the bottle with fluid to reduce or alter the light passing through the bottle? – xiota Jan 28 at 4:14
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    note: if the bottle actually contains nitric acid, it is degraded by exposure to light. (Standard disclaimer: I am not a chemist and this is not chemical advice) – user253751 Jan 28 at 14:10
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    I'd take the grid off the softbox - you'll get a cleaner catchlight that way. Bottles don't have complexion to worry about. – J... Jan 28 at 15:21
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    Related question (not a dupe): Shooting glass product with embossment – scottbb Jan 28 at 21:35
  • Just curious- that wasn't REALLY filled with Nitric Acid, was it? – J.Hirsch Jan 30 at 15:55
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What's illuminating the softbox in the background? I assume not just the strobes? Whatever it is, you probably need to reduce its intensity until it's just barely saturating. The brighter the background is, the more light you're going to have coming through the bottle. (Or, conversely, keep the softbox lit as it is, adjust your exposure so that it just barely saturates, and then put additional light on the bottle but not on the softbox until the label looks bright enough.)

If that still leaves you with too much orange glow, consider also painting the back side of the bottle black (as suggested by Johanna M) and/or filling the bottle with some dark liquid such as ink or black fabric dye in water, black paint, molasses, Coca-Cola, etc.

(I assume that, whatever the label says, you don't actually have 65% nitric acid in the bottle. If you do, take it back to where you got it ASAP and get them to supply you with an empty bottle instead. You don't want to handle that stuff without appropriate lab safety equipment and training!)

One more option would be to replace the softbox with a blue background and edit it out of the final image using chroma keying. The reason I specifically suggest blue in this case is that it's the color that will shine the least through the amber glass of the bottle. It also conveniently doesn't appear anywhere on the label or on the bottle itself (although neither does green).

With chroma key, the background doesn't need to be (and indeed shouldn't be) saturated; it just needs enough illumination for the color to be clearly visible. You might even be able to use more or less just the indirect light present in the last image in your question.

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    Great ideas! It's an empty bottle too haha. – Daniel Taki Jan 28 at 16:02
  • @DanielTaki Oh, if the bottle is empty, just fill it with very dark liquid. But you'll still probably get an orange halo around the edges of the bottle (where light from the bright flash behind it passes through the glass without passing through the liquid. Your basic problem is still that you don't want the light illuminating the background to spill back through the bottle. – Michael C Jan 29 at 1:01
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Your primary issue is that your lighting ratios are wrong... you have more light coming through the bottle from the background than you have hitting the label from the front.

This is a common mistake... there are so many references to "blowing out the BG," and "expose it 1-2 stops over." What you ideally want is just for it to record as white, not blown; and white meters 1-2 stops above mid when properly exposed... if there is a significant texture you might need it to clip slightly.

In this case you do not even need the white BG to expose as white; you just need enough contrast between the bottle and the BG to make cutting it out/editing it separately easy.

Once you drop the BG some, the label will appear brighter/whiter. If that is still not enough I would add light on the label with a gridded/snooted light.

I would not use the strip/soft boxes from the front like that... they are going to show in the bottle and look pretty bad. If you want them to create a linear highlight then they need to be much closer.

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A few possibilities:

  • Use a white backdrop much further from the subject, with a different flash lighting it enough to barely blow it out but not enough to spill much light back on the bottle. The bottle is, in fact, orange but looks brown when no light is shining through it from behind.
  • Use an HSL (HSV/HSB) tool to desaturate the orange channel. It might be tough to get rid of the orange without also reducing the red and yellow channels, which might cause you to lose the red on the label unless you mask and use separate layers for the label and the bottle.
  • Use monochrome (B&W). If you want colors on the label, mask and layer so that the label is in color and the rest is monochrome.
  • Yea I think that's key: when light is shining through it from behind - it's orange. The trouble I have, though, is how do I blow the white back drop out, if I opt to you use it instead of the softbox. Whenever I try this method I come up with two configurations for my lights. 1. Large Softbox pointed from the side onto the white back drop and use the 2 strip boxes for frontal subject lighting 2. Large Softbox in front for subject lighting and use two strip boxes out to the side to blow out the background Both have proven inefficient for blowing out the white backdrop. Any tips? – Daniel Taki Jan 28 at 4:28
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    You've just got to get more light on the backdrop than on your bottle, then set exposure to put the backdrop just over the edge. – Michael C Jan 28 at 4:43
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Maybe you can paint the back of the bottle so the light can not shine through. Or glue something on the back that prevents the light from shining through the bottle.

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Use a (oh damn I don't know the name anymore, maybe its something like "black wrap aluminium foil") Its a thik aluminium foil with black surface, that you can wrap around a flash or lamp to generate a custom light spot. And use this light spot only on the label.

  • Are you thinking of a snoot? A grid might work too. – xiota Jan 28 at 5:57
  • @xiota not exaclty. a snoot (which i also didn't know the english name until now) has a fixed size ans is mostly round, but basicly their intended use is the same: reduce the spot of the light. – Horitsu Jan 28 at 6:28
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    A "Gobo" you can cut it to the shape you need to control light and where it falls. – J.Hirsch Jan 28 at 16:01
  • Blackwrap is the name of the GAM branded version; Rosco calls it Cinefoil, and generically just black foil. filmtools.com/ligdep/lighting-control/blacfoilblac.html – Nate S. Jan 28 at 18:57
  • @NateS. As I mentioned: I don't know the englisch name. In german it is something like "schwarz beschichtete dicke Aluminiumfolie". but thank you for this bonus information this could be become handy some day :) – Horitsu Jan 29 at 13:36

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