Plastic bottles are not the most interesting of things to the general public, but for the bunker fuel industry these little bottles are a big deal. The bottles are used to retain a sample of the fuel that is purchased for a ship. The fueling of a ship is an important part of the chain of commerce because it is a large expense for the shipping company that needs to work as expected to make sure that there are not issues with the shipment. This small sample can be called upon for big reasons – to verify the vendor analysis should issues arise with the fuel. Because of this important role, the sample bottles are designed with a number of features to ensure they are tamper proof. For this project, my goal was to create images showcasing the features of the bottles that could be used for marketing purposes.
Behind the Scenes: The Set and the Methodology
The majority of the images were created using a lighting arrangement similar to that in the drawing above. Images of the bottles were taken on a gray seamless paper that was mounted on a backdrop stand and draped across a table. Two gridded softboxes were placed to the left and right to create the highlight and give the bottle shape, along with a key light on axis with the camera. The reflection was created in camera by placing the bottles on a clear, reflective sheet. All images of the individual or pairs of bottles were shot on a tripod with a full frame DSLR and a 105 mm macro lens. The post production work consisted of basic adjustments to color and contrast, as well as cloning out the edge of the reflective surface and minor cropping as needed to make all the bottles roughtly the same proportions in the images.
While this set up was used for the majority of the bottle photos, a few images were taken with a single light. The sample bottle system components by placing the bottles on a flat surface with the strobe bounced into a white surface above the products. A few images were taken handheld, again with the strobe bounced into a white surface over the product.
Highlighting the Functional Features of the Sample Bottles
The bottle has specific functional features that make it ideal for these retained fuel samples, and consequently the bottle needed to be photographed to make sure those features were highlighted to the viewer. The lid is molded such that it has “ears” with a hole in it, and the bottle also has a tab on the shoulder with a hole. These holes are essential to creating the seal on the sample. A potential purchaser of the sample bottles would need to be able ti see these holes to understand how that seal is created. The bottles were carefully placed on the set so that these features would be perpendicular to the camera and readily visible.
Some images were taken with the seal included, and some with all the components of the sample system – bottle, lid, label and seal.
Descriptive Text Added
In addition to photographing the bottles with the features highlighted, I added text descriptive text to one photo. Adding descriptive text to the final images helped to explain the products to potential purchasers. The bottles are manufactured in two sizes, and text describing those size options was added to a photo.
Bonus Shots to Highlight Additional Features
After taking the strictly descriptive shots of the bottles and the bottle system, I took some additional shots to show more views of the sample bottle system. For these images, I pulled the camera off the tripod, turned off the side lights that were creating the bottle highlights, and used a large white surface over the items to bounce the key light. The addition of these images, along with the text enhanced image, adds a touch of variety to the set of product shots available for marketing these bottles.
Great product images can help you sell your items and help your products stand apart from the competition. Do you still have cell phone photos on your website? If you would like to have your items professionally photographed, contact me for a quote!