Butterflies in a bottle…

Some of the most challenging things to photograph are glass objects – they are shiny (and reflect everything back at you) and transparent (and thus require definition of form). Nonetheless, photograph them we must, and when they are lit well, they turn out swell!
Here’s the setup for a piece of work I photographed last week, featuring a glass bottle full of butterflies by Melbourne artist Rachelle Eves. Saving the final picture ’till the end of the post – the table in the centre there has a large piece of shiny white perspex on it, which is reflecting the large white, brightly lit background into the camera lens, almost underneath the bottle (much like my peach thing, several posts ago). The lighting for the butterflies themselves comes from a large umbrella/flash just to the right of the camera.
The biggest trick here, is to surround the whole situation with “black things” – so the shoot is in a large dark space, and I’ve put two music stands either side of the table. All this black is visible in the edges of the glass (via reflection) and so gives the edges a definition that would otherwise be bleached out!!
And so, success! I think this one will end up on a poster, later in the year, hence the generous white space left for editorial. I should add that with this setup, I didn’t have to do any retouching, other than the regular toning down of the Canon‘s over-emphasis of red….

"Monarch" by Rachelle Eves

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