How to Photograph a Bottle of White Wine

Photographing any kind of glass bottle with liquid in can be a challenge, but Dustin Dolby explains the technique he uses in this video:

He talks us through his setup and explains that you don’t need expensive kit to make great wine bottle shots. He’s using a Yongnuo 560 IV speed light and a Bowens mount adapter for a strip softbox, with an 85mm f/1.8 lens.

Dolby gives out plenty of lighting tips while he shoots and shows what happens with each setup. He takes a series of shots with lighting from different angles or added flags or reflectors so he can create a composite image in Photoshop later with all the best parts of each photo.

He starts by using his speed light at the back of the bottle, and adds a large, white diffusion panel. This creates a high contrast backlight, but the front of the bottle is shadowed.

backlit wine bottle

Backlight Only

Next, he goes for a more side directional look. Still with his light at half power, he moves the strip box very close to the side of the bottle, which gives directional highlights on the side. With the softbox this close to the bottle, small adjustments to the light make big differences.

side lit wine bottle

He then adds a white reflector to the opposite side of the bottle to add fill light to any shadows.

To deal with the problem of the bottle reflecting the diffusion material, Dolby uses black flags held to the side for a couple of shots to help define the edges of the bottle.

black card for wine bottle photo

A black card defines the left side of the bottle.

He then adds all the images to Photoshop and creates a composite final image using layer masks.

white wine bottle final image

Final Image

Dolby shows us all the tricks he uses to get professional standard white wine bottle images. If you want to practice your glass bottle shooting skills, this video is a great place to start!

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