There might be no better way to learn and practice building up light in an image than through product photography, and as this great walkthrough tutorial shows, you don’t necessarily need expensive gear to create a great result.
Coming to you from Dustin Dolby of workphlo, this helpful video follows Dolby as he gradually builds up the lighting for a shampoo bottle shot. What’s particularly interesting is that he creates the shot using only speedlights coupled with stripboxes (which help to produce an even highlight and gradient across the entire vertical profile of the bottles) and the diffuser panel from a 5-in1 collapsible reflector, making replicating the image very affordable. Notice how he uses a third speedlight to blow out the background, which makes it vastly easier to swap it out for whatever one pleases — in this case, the color of the bottle. Also notice how he used a wide-angle lens at or near its minimum focus distance shot just below the midline of the bottles to give a composition in which they appear to tower over the table, giving them a more prominent look than a more standard focal length might have produced. Altogether, it’s a cheap but effective setup that makes for a great final shot!
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