The Pour

I had another “stretching” assignment this week.  By stretching, I mean me!  How many of you have been asked to do a pouring shot that shows both the item used for pouring and the item receiving the liquid.  The liquid had to be frozen in motion and crystal clear.  This took a whole lot of practice and finally my husband’s help to accomplish.  It was something I have never done before.  Lighting is completely different than what I use for portraits.

The assignment:  Shoot a verticle image that shows that is appropriate for a front cover of Pour magazine.   The liquid must be tack sharp and the lighting must show the edges of the bottle or glass well, any labels readable and room left for the name of the magazine.  Since I began alone and was working in my studio, I started practicing with water in an empty fish tank so all the water didn’t end up on the floor.  I had to shoot from my tripod so that I could get it focused and ready before I poured.  I used my mirrorless camera which shoots 11 frames per second and began with just water and a pitcher.  I stood beside my tripod and pushed my shutter button down with my right hand and poured water with my left.  Here is the initial result:

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I had practiced enough that the bottom of the glass was submerged so the glass looks weird in my opinion.  The pour was over exposed but I did like the bubbles and foam in the glass.

Step 2 was to try and create the pour showing both the pitcher and the glass.  As I did it, I still settled it into the fish tank.  That deep tank stopped me from being able to tilt and glass while I poured and pushed the shutter button.  I went ahead and used the instructor supplied magazine cover template.  There was still water in the bottom and I didn’t have my camera quite straight but at least I was getting there.

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My final image is below.  I wasn’t crazy about the blue image even without the water in the bottom.  I knew I could do better with some help and, thankfully, my husband was more than willing to help me.  I found an ancient bottle that was nearly empty so I mixed food coloring and water until I got a nice amber color.  I added that to what was in the bottle already.  Of course, my studio smelled of booze by the time I was finished but at least it was all in the bottom of the fish tank and not all over the place as it splashed.  The image is lit from behind and reflected with a white board from the front.  That way you can see through the colored liquid and still read the label which was dark without the reflector.  I also had reflectors on both sides.  I attached the glass to a white board with gaffers tape so that I could tilt it.  I wanted to make the glass look as though it was on a table that was tilted and the liquid splashed out of the glass.  My husband poured as I held the glass in one hand and pushed the shutter with the other.  Thank heavens for tripods!  In retrospect I would have liked it best without those foamy bubbles on the surface but I submitted it like this.  My instructor liked it a lot and also showed me how to make the top edge of that glass bottle show up better next time.

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All in all I learned a lot and was much happier with kthis final image than I was as I went through stages 1 and 2.  I really appreciate the technical expertise of pour shots now that I have done some myself.  I look forward to improving my skills with this as time goes on.  That fish tank was a real life saver since I didn’t want to drag all of my equipment outdoors to shot this assignment.

Well, next week is another cover assignment.  This time I even got to use a human!  See you next week.

 

Product Shot for a Magazine

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This week brought an interesting assignment.  I was to shoot a cover shot showing equipment for an individual sport.  The image needed to allow for text in the lower right corner and I knew to leave the top area for a magazine’s name.

I chose to highlight target shooting as the sport and bullets as the “equipment”.  I included the pistol and the bullet box with the company name on it for context and composition.  Lighting had to be very precise.  My lighting setup is shown in this diagram below.  The strobe on camera right is a strip light with grid to control the spill.  The lightstand was moved forward and to the right as shown.  Opposite the strip light was a white board reflector.

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This turned out to be another fun assignment.  Now, on to the next one!  Coming next is “How We Roll”.  See you soon!