Product photography: photographing a local Asheville, nc tallboy and setup and lighting tips

We photographed some great, popular Asheville, nc beer from Burial Beer Company.  It was a lot of fun to shoot because their can art is really cool and the large amount of aluminum that is visible under and around their label reflects light very well. As is the case with highly shiny things, like this can, the direct light illuminating the surface has to be heavily diffused, and polarized, to mute the brilliance of the surface. Here's how we did it: 

In this case, 2 soft-boxes, which are made up of 2 layers of cloth panels that are further diffused by 2 larger, 6' x 6', panels make a very large, even and soft  light source. Along with a polarizer on the camera to further cut down on reflection, the large vertical highlights rest on the can without blowing out the surface or reflecting heavily off the label. This is also how the light achieves its taper. The strobe overhead illuminates the background and part of the top of the can. A small piece of black foil shields some of the light from the octabox above the product. Two black cards, about 5'' by 18'' reflect off the outer edges of the cans creating a darker, contrasting edge that allows this high key product shoot to stand out against a white background.   

The product was cleaned and prepped with a 45% solution of glycerin that was applied with a small atomizer and left to partially dry. There is a piece of polished white plexiglass about 2' x 2' that is sitting on top of the white paper background. 

 setup diagram / lighting diagram. Things aren't exactly to scale here, but this should help you visualize the lighting setup. What's important to remember is that the can 'sees' everything around it. To light it you have to effect all of its surrounding surfaces. 

setup diagram / lighting diagram. Things aren't exactly to scale here, but this should help you visualize the lighting setup. What's important to remember is that the can 'sees' everything around it. To light it you have to effect all of its surrounding surfaces.