Critique Wine Spectator's #1 Wine of their Top 100 Wines of 2019

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I got really lucky when I bought this wine about two years ago as a future. Especially now that Wine Spectator has made it their #1 wine of the year, it costs nearly three times what I paid for it.

This is one of the 14 second growth grand cru red Bordeaux wines. I'm on a multi-year mission to buy one bottle of all of them.

Setup
The background is green and brown mottled art paper and the tabletop is brown mottled art paper. A small continuous-light lamp was above on the right and a medium one was in the corresponding place on the left. A white reflector on the tabletop in front of the bottle brightly lit the metallic crest on the main label.


Mike 2019-12-14--001-S.jpg
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Mike, only because you labeled it for critique, I'm going to state this:

I think this image looks less three-dimensional than usual for you. In fact, one of the things I like the most about what you do is the way you sculpt your subjects with light. Perhaps it is the jpg compression that takes place in upload, but I miss seeing the depth in this photograph that is usually present in your work.
 
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I think this image looks less three-dimensional than usual for you. In fact, one of the things I like the most about what you do is the way you sculpt your subjects with light. Perhaps it is the jpg compression that takes place in upload, but I miss seeing the depth in this photograph that is usually present in your work.
I agree that it looks less three-dimensional than most of my images but it couldn't have anything to do with jpg compression, as I upload a jpg size that requires no compression.

There are a few potential solutions and I'll explain why I didn't use them:
  • Add at least one reflection to the glass area of the bottle to help define its shape. The tradeoff is that, for me, when the label is so large as this one, adding a reflection to the glass creates a cluttered look.
  • Add a reflection to the foil to help define the neck's shape. The problem is that this particular foil is highly reflective and is black, and that kind of material produces unsightly (at least to me) direct reflections of the light source. EDIT: I could use a reflector rather than the light source to add a reflection, That would probably look good and would probably help.
  • Use more contrast in the lighting of the label to help increase the definition of the shape of that area of the bottle. There would be no problem in doing that but it's unlikely in my mind that doing so would overcome the viewer's impressions caused by the first two issues.
  • Add other props such as a wine glass with wine in it that has an obvious three-dimensional look. I have no idea if that will help and it might even make the bottle look less three-dimensional.
Having said all that, I'm going only on past experience; I didn't take the time to try any of those solutions. This label is so unusual in its large size and graphic design and the wine is so special that I will likely make a second go of it. Even if I don't come up with something better, I'll learn from trying,

Maybe others have some other ideas about potential solutions.
 
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only because you labeled it for critique, I'm going to state this:
Thanks for mentioning your impression; please never hold back, as communicating about criticism of photos is every bit as enjoyable and potentially more informative than any other kind of discussion.

It's very odd that when I included this post in the above post, only this part of the post was displayed. That explains why I separated the two posts.
 
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An afterthought: I wonder if making the shadows on the tabletop more obvious would help. Doing so wouldn't affect the three-dimensional characteristics of the bottle but if it helps the three-dimensional appearance of the overall scene, that might help.
I think that is a good idea, especially if there is a bit of space between the bottle and background for a shadow to be cast. Also, perhaps framing the bottle a little looser to reveal slightly more foreground with a tiny bit of light on it?
 

Commodorefirst

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I just want to drink it. Lol. But with the label width, I can see your problems and your choices made. Another fine series.
 
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perhaps framing the bottle a little looser to reveal slightly more foreground with a tiny bit of light on it?
I like that idea and it leads to another one: The current tabletop is plain by design so it wouldn't compete with the subject. If I combine your idea with a fabric that is positioned to display its folds, that would add to the three-dimensional appearance.
 
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Mike, would lighting the front bottom of the bottle (where it meets the tabletop) be a possibility?
Yes, that would help but at the cost of adding a cluttered appearance. If I use a fabric in the foreground with light on it, highlights of that fabric will be reflected in the bottom of the bottle. That seems to me to be the most natural and appealing way of adding light to that area of the bottle.
 
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