I have been stretched a whole lot in the last two weeks. Through frustration, re-done image shots and balancing colors, I believe that I’m growing. All of this bluster is due to my Project 52 Commercial Photography course. The assignment was to photograph perfume for a 3 image spring theme magazine spread. Images needed included a vertical, a horizontal and a square. All images must present the client’s perfume using the Fragrances of Spring theme.
I was due for new perfume so I headed to Ulta to find a nice new scent that would make me happy and that provide me with a full bottle to photograph for my assignment. The surprise part of this was that only the bottle was in the store to see. I didn’t have any idea what the cap looked like until I opened the cellophane wrapped box when I got home. What I found was a lid added to the bottle looked like a Marc Jacob’s purse complete with a shiny chain handle. I bought that scent after squirting some on my wrist. The scent seemed nice so I got it.
Unfortunately, or fortunately, depending upon how you look at it, that perfume choice was the wrong one for me on two counts. First, I didn’t like the dark bottle for a spring layout but as a commercial photographer, one must work with what the client has provided so I used it anyway. Second, the perfume proved to be far too strong and something in it caused me to feel icky. I worked for an entire week shooting, re-shooting, using different props and re-arranging lighting before I finally finished the assignment. I had no idea how hard it is to shoot an image of a bottle of liquid. Anything shiny must show as shiny but the reflections aren’t good if they show the photographer reflected like in a mirror. The lighting needs to carefully show the edges of the bottles which many times are faceted. Most important, the letters on the bottle must be very readable and in sharp focus. So, a week later, I ended up with this image.
I turned this in for my assignment but was far from happy. It just didn’t feel right and there were two things that stood out that my instructor analyzed during the class. The bottle on the upper right shows the lettering very clearly. However, the letters look black instead of the gold that show on the other two images. It was the way the light and the reflectors hit the bottle but I should have corrected that in post production. I was so frustrated that I didn’t even notice the gold missing. The second issue, I knew was there but could not figure out how to fix it. In the lower right image, there is a reflection that is very white on the outside edge of the bottle. It looks like a white vertical stripe on the end of the bottle. That is caused from the reflection from the backlight to the reflector and on to the bottle. I now know how to fix when I am shooting. Fixing it in post I found impossible. All in all I learned a lot but I didn’t feel good about my final image. Even though technically it was OK other than those two issues, I just didn’t like it.
My assignment was a free shoot. This means that we can shoot something that we want to shoot, make up any assignments missed or re-shoot something we want to improve. I chose #3. Next week, you will see the perfume assignment with an entirely new interpretation, a new bottle and an image that makes me far happier. I hope you, too, find it more pleasing for a spring layout. Hope to see you next week.