Critique How I came upon this unique tabletop setup by making two mistakes!

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First mistake: I had already made a photo of this wine bottle that I won't bother displaying here because I don't like it as much as this one. I was preparing to make the photo shown below when the presentation board that had made up the tabletop and background in the first photo accidentally slipped from behind the bottle and off to the right side. I really liked how the curve on the side so nicely complimented the curves in the wine label, so I left it that way. I would never have thought on my own of intentionally creating that curve in the background.

Second mistake: Having decided to leave that curve in the composition, I set up a black background and a larger diffusion panel behind the background. When lit from behind, that part of the setup would outline the bottle in bright tones. As I was making that happen, the black background fell off the tabletop and revealed the diffusion panel that had been hidden by it. Fortunately, I had already turned on the lamp fitted with a diffusion sock that lit the scene from the right front area. The light falling onto the curve created the nice shadow on the accidental, brighter background. I liked the shadow and the tones in the accidental background so much that I never returned to the concept of using a black background behind the bottle.

By the way, this is a color photo.

Setup
Hopefully it's described clearly enough in the above narrative.

Focus Stacking
Twenty focus-bracketed images at Nikon step size 3 were stacked using Helicon Focus at its default settings.


Mike 2020-11-23--0002-S.jpg
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Butlerkid

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The background curve is the perfect element to complement (and echo) the curves in the label and the curved shape of the label!!!! Well done!

The light reflection in the middle below the label, indicates the "roundness" of the bottle. Why is that reflection not also above the label? The top part of the bottle looks "flat black" without it, at least to my eyes.

I like the more defined edge on the right of the bottle (from the neck to the fullness of the bottle) than the blurred, gray edge on the left.
 
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Thank you to Nick and Karen!

The light reflection in the middle below the label, indicates the "roundness" of the bottle. Why is that reflection not also above the label? The top part of the bottle looks "flat black" without it, at least to my eyes.

Good eyes, Karen! I eliminated during post-processing the reflection of the light source that was displayed above the label because, unlike the reflection at the bottom of the bottle, it was bright, inelegant and unsightly. The reflections on the sides of the bottle's shoulders and neck reveal enough shape to the bottle for me. It's understandable that those reflections don't provide enough shape for you.

I like the more defined edge on the right of the bottle (from the neck to the fullness of the bottle) than the blurred, gray edge on the left.

I prefer the reflection on the left side because it's a gradient; I always like gradient reflections. Later today I'll post a 100% view of both reflections. You'll see at that greater magnification that the edge of the reflection on the left isn't at all blurred, which is difficult to appreciate when the image displayed here is such a small size. You still may prefer the style of the reflection on the right after seeing both at 100%, so it will be interesting to learn then which reflection you prefer.
 

Butlerkid

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....
Good eyes, Karen! I eliminated during post-processing the reflection of the light source that was displayed above the label because, unlike the reflection at the bottom of the bottle, it was bright, inelegant and unsightly. The reflections on the sides of the bottle's shoulders and neck reveal enough shape to the bottle for me. It's understandable that those reflections don't provide enough shape to you.

.....
First, thanks for allowing myself and others to comment! Your explanations help me learn! Could you have reduced the brightness of the upper reflection and just left a hint of the curved bottle? While I see the roundness indicated on the sides of the bottle, the solid black above the label doesn't seem congruent with the reflection under the label.
 
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Could you have reduced the brightness of the upper reflection and just left a hint of the curved bottle?

No. That's because the reflection was really unsightly to my eyes. I'll also post later today that reflection before I removed it.

Everything is always a compromise and this situation we're discussing is a perfect example. Depending on how I positioned the lamp that lit the scene from the right front area, either the nice reflection at the bottom of the bottle suffered or the display of the wine label suffered. The position I settled on was the best of all combinations I tried. While maneuvering the lamp into different positions, the reflection of it in the bottle's shoulder was never attractive. I can more effectively explain why once I display that reflection.
 
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It just now occurred to me, Karen, that you might have liked the upper part of the bottle better if I had created a larger reflection on the right side. Indeed, it was a little bit larger and considerably brighter a little farther in from the side of the bottle. I didn't like those characteristics so I removed that part of the reflection from the right side of the bottle. I'll also post that in its original form later today.
 
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Back to the discussion with Karen about the reflections on the bottle's shoulders. She preferred the reflection on the right shoulder because of its defined edge as opposed to the blurred edge of the reflection on the left shoulder. The two photos shown below are displayed at 100% of the full-size image to demonstrate that though the reflection on the left is a gradient (the reflection on the right isn't), it isn't blurred. This may or may not change her preference, but at the very least viewing it at 100% gives her an opportunity to make a fully informed decision about that.

Left shoulder at 100%
LEFT SIDE-M.jpg
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Right shoulder at 100%
RIGHT SIDE-M.jpg
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Butlerkid

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Back to the discussion with Karen about the reflections on the bottle's shoulders. She preferred the reflection on the right shoulder because of its defined edge as opposed to the blurred edge of the reflection on the left shoulder. The two photos shown below are displayed at 100% of the full-size image to demonstrate that though the reflection on the left is a gradient (the reflection on the right isn't), it isn't blurred. This may or may not change her preference, but at the very least viewing it at 100% gives her an opportunity to make a fully informed decision about that.

Left shoulder at 100%
View attachment 1674444

Right shoulder at 100%
View attachment 1674445

I agree that the left edge does look better when viewed at a larger size! ;)
 
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The photo shown below displays details about two issues Karen and I discussed:
  • The bright, circular reflection of the light source in the middle of the area between the label and the neck before I eliminated it during post-processing; and
  • The reflection on the right shoulder before I removed part of it during post-processing.
Karen wondered if the first reflection could be retained at least in some form to help convey the shape of the bottle. Now you can probably understand why I felt it was too unsightly to display in any form. The reason that reflection is so different from the reflection of the same light source beneath the label is because the shape of the bottle at those two points is very different. The shape beneath the wine label is rounded only to the right and left of center whereas the shape above the label is rounded in all directions from the center.

I then wondered if Karen would prefer a larger reflection on the right shoulder to help display the shape of the bottle. The photo shown below displays the reflection that occurred at the time of capture. I didn't like the shape or brightness of that reflection, so before releasing the shutter I had already planned to remove part of it during post-processing. Even so, it might have been possible to create a larger reflection on the right shoulder that would satisfy both Karen and me. I didn't pursue making a larger reflection there because I felt the smaller reflection in the final image conveyed enough information about the shape of the bottle.

TEST-S.jpg
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Butlerkid

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The photo shown below displays details about two issues Karen and I discussed:
  • The bright, circular reflection of the light source in the middle of the area between the label and the neck before I eliminated it during post-processing; and
  • The reflection on the right shoulder before I removed part of it during post-processing.
Karen wondered if the first reflection could be retained at least in some form to help convey the shape of the bottle. Now you can probably understand why I felt it was too unsightly to display in any form. The reason that reflection is so different from the reflection of the same light source beneath the label is because the shape of the bottle at those two points is very different. The shape beneath the wine label is rounded only to the right and left of center whereas the shape above the label is rounded in all directions from the center.

I then wondered if Karen would prefer a larger reflection on the right shoulder to help display the shape of the bottle. The photo shown below displays the reflection that occurred at the time of capture. I didn't like the shape or brightness of that reflection, so before releasing the shutter I had already planned to remove part of it during post-processing. Even so, it might have been possible to create a larger reflection on the right shoulder that would satisfy both Karen and me. I didn't pursue making a larger reflection there because I felt the smaller reflection in the final image conveyed enough information about the shape of the bottle.

View attachment 1674449
Thanks, Mike. Great discussion!

FWIW....I would eliminate the white blob! No doubt! But I would reduce the constrast between the solid black and the lighter area on the right side of the image.

Disclosure: I've finished dinner and my wine...... and I have no idea what I'm doing. Here is my feeble attempt..... Now I must make my daily call to my 90 year old mother.........! LOL!

TEST-S_kp.jpg
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Butlerkid

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Not at all a feeble attempt. Definitely an improvement to the image and one I would never have thought of on my own. Just be aware that to more accurately simulate a real reflection, the reflection you added should curve to the left just a bit, not a lot.
Thanks. I was just playing around around a couple glasses of wine! LOL!
 
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