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How to Photograph Perfume Bottles with a Single Speedlight


High-end product photography can be done with fewer resources than many might think if you add creativity and careful execution. Here’s a 7-minute video from Dustin Dolby of workphlo that shows you how you can take professional perfume bottle photos in a studio with a single speedlight.

Using a flash on 1/16th power, Dolby backlights the bottle by shooting at a white wall behind. This bounces the light back at the bottle, allowing it to refract around the shapes of the product.

You can do the same thing using a diffuser if you don’t have a white wall nearby.

To test the lighting, Dolby will fire off a number of frames trying different angles of the light against the wall. This allows him to determine the precise area he needs to aim at to allow light to wrap underneath the bottle as well.

He then works around the bottle, properly lighting each area that has fallen into shadow. To light up the darker areas at the top of the bottle, Dolby uses white card to reflect light and create attractive highlights.

Later on in post production, he works to composite and blend the different frames together to create the perfectly lit bottle. Here is the final shot:

Watch a full video to see the full step-by-step walkthrough of this particular shoot.