7 Tips for Better Food Photography

For the past couple of years, many of my monthly photography assignments have been food related. This type of assignment has its benefits! Aside from eating really well, and discovering a ton of great new restaurants, I’ve been able to gradually raise my food photography game with the best possible coach- experience.
Here are seven basic tips to help elevate your food photography game.

1. Fill the Frame

Beautiful, sweeping table scapes a la Pottery Barn are always cool, but often times restaurants and environments where you would shoot food commercially just don’t have the beautiful, highly styled environment to make a zoomed out shot work. Closeups are usually more appetizing and get your idea across more quickly and effectively. How to shoot an effective closeup?
Choose a featured item (in this case the beautiful slice of fresh apple), lock focus on it, and build your shot around that. Use a shallow depth of field to de-emphasize the little bit of background that you will see. Side note: a red linen was used because green and red are a classic complimentary color paring and help balance the green and red in the overall image.

2. Go Vertical

One thing I see beginning photographers doing a lot is shooting only about 10% of their shots in the vertical camera orientation. Do something different and shoot vertically! Some subjects like these “goat cheese popsicles” dictate a vertical composition by their shape.
Other times, it may not be as obvious. Magazines and cookbooks like vertical compositions because they can easily be a full page print or if you’re lucky, a cover shot which often times pays the photographer a usage bonus.
When in doubt, try to capture a horizontal and vertical version of the same dish and have both in your library. (Another common color wheel combination, is blue and orange).

3. Use the Foreground and Background for Depth

In many cases, food photographers show background items out of focus (salt and pepper in this photo), to give a sense of place and context to the image. You can expand on that by adding the hint of an object like this glass in the foreground. This will help give your images a three dimensional quality and anchor the edges of the image visually.
Similar to landscape photography, think “foreground, middle ground, background”. If you have all three, you’ll have an enhanced sense of space and depth.

4. Backlight It

This eggs benedict photo was made with a very simple lighting setup- a shoot through umbrella from behind the food and a large handheld reflector in front. If you can use daylight through a window and a reflector in front, all the better. Soft backlight (light coming toward the camera) is probably the most common way to light food. Look at your favorite magazines and cookbooks and note the direction of the shadows. Backlight helps define the texture and edges of garnishes while not looking too flat or boring on the front of the dish.
Use a white or silver reflector to kick some light back in from the front (camera side) of the plate.

5. Experiment with Focal Length

There’s a big difference between moving in with your camera and zooming in with a telephoto lens. When we zoom out or use a wide angle lens and move physically closer, it’s easier to show more of the environment. This Thai restaurant had an environment that went along with the dish nicely and gave an editorial feeling.
If your goal is to isolate the dish and make a more compressed photo, move physically farther from your subject and let the telephoto lens do the zooming.

6. Act Fast

If you don’t have the benefit of a professional food stylist helping with the photo shoot, time is of the essence. Hot dishes make herbs and garnishes wilt quickly. Sauces can run away from you in a hurry and oils can separate out of them.  Have a simple, reliable setup that you can execute quickly and without letting the food sit for too long.
Alternatively, you can shoot a “stand in” dish before bringing in the “hero” plate. Use a simple, repeatable lighting setup or daylight to speed things up. (see #4).

7. Include Some Action

When shooting static subjects, a bit of action can always add some interest and dynamism. Flames burning, liquid pouring, hands lifting something etc, can all add a spark of motion or interest to a still photo. Some off-camera flash mixed with a slow shutter made the above image an easy one to produce in a limited time frame.

How to Use Pinterest to Generate Revenue

Home to countless cookie recipes, laughable memes, and perfect last-minute gift ideas, there’s certainly already a lot to love about Pinterest.
But what if we told you that the content sharing service had even more to offer?
The simple truth is this: Amidst the ab workouts and IKEA furniture hacks, there lies a huge opportunity for businesses to use Pinterest to drive revenue.

And with nearly 30% of online American adults using Pinterest, this isn’t an opportunity you’ll want to leave on the table.
To help you get a handle on how to make Pinterest work better for your business, make your way through the infographic below from QuickSprout. It includes insight on what the most popular categories are and how to drive more engagement. Check it out to get the background you need to start putting your own Pinterest strategy into practice.

6 Tips to Create Amazing eCommerce Product Visuals that Wow Your Customers

So you’ve got yourself an online shop, you’ve invested time and money marketing the site and driving targeted traffic, but you just aren’t selling anything?
There are a number of factors that could be stopping people buying from you, one of which could be the way in which you present your products. Are your product images doing you and the product justice?
For tips on how to wow your customers visually and start generating sales take a look at this infographic from MineWhat.
6 Amazing Tips to Create eCommerce Product Images that Wow Your Customers

In-Depth Photography Tips for Your Blog

Whether you need help with shooting your images at optimum times, resizing photos, lens jargon or even help on how to make that image just look super perfect in the moment, I’m adding my 2 cents to the already long list of Photography Tips on the web, and have come up with my own  quick-fix guide to show you how to achieve the finish and detail you desire in all your photography.
Lenses: What do they do?
Lenses are a huge part of photography; essentially the lens does 80-90% of the work, the rest being the camera quality and your eye for the subject. For professional photographers, wide-angle lenses and telephoto portrait lenses are some of the best to go for, but if you’re looking for high-quality blog images, then there a few to look into.
18-55mm Lens – This is the standard lens that comes with most DSLR kits. A wide-angle mid-telephoto lens, this is perfect for capturing a lot of the environment around you and also zooming in close for detail shots. Most have image stabilisation features which allow the quality of your photographs to stay clear even if you jolt a little!
50mm Lens – The 50mm lens is designed to be the same as human vision due to it’s ‘normal’ focal length, and gives a beautiful blur to the items around the photographed subject. Great for low low light situations as it can reach a high aperture setting, it is also super sharp and is more compact and discreet. If you buy one lens, make it this one!
Telephoto Lens – A specific lens that has a shorter physical length than the length of focus; the higher the mm number, the more times you can zoom in to the subject – even if you’re far away, you can still get amazing quality! The main point of telephoto lenses is to be able to focus on a subject when you can’t (or shouldn’t, you paps!) and still get clear, crisp photos. Word of warning, the higher the number, the more likely you’ll get camera shake!
Pancake Lens – A short-barrelled lens that is compact and flat, and refers for to the shape of the lens rather than the image created. Just like the 50mm, they are fixed-focused and range from 20mm-40mm in length. There is some speculation on the image quality, however, using it for fashion shots on the street is a perfect shout.

RAW vs JPEG: What’s the big deal?
It’s a pretty big deal! JPEG is a compressed and processed version of your photo, easy to upload but not easy to edit – you won’t be able to work out those shadows without making another part of the image look odd, and there won’t be as much detail as the camera will have balanced it out and set it for you as designed by their settings. RAW is the raw information of the image captured; it is essentially the full detail and quality of everything you captured in the frame, uncompressed and unprocessed which allows you more freedom to edit and adjust the details of your picture more. They can appear flat or dark, but they are much easier to lift and edit on Photoshop or Lightroom due to having all the available information intact from the initial shot.

Basically JPEG processes your image within the camera so it is ready to use straight away, making detailed editing harder. There is less detail available and a flatter image produced. RAW is the rawest form of an image, with all the detail available and captured without being compressed – this is why it’s a large file and takes up more space on your memory card. There is more freedom with editing, and more clarity in the finished product. For blog images, RAW is great as you can minimalise shadows more, capture detail in products or subjects, and you can create a more professional finish with little effort. JPEG is still a great method, it works well for holiday pictures and blog photos, but if you want to make your photos look good a certain way, try shooting in RAW.

How to use Manual: ISO / F-Stops / Aperture in Detail
Let’s break this down: ISO is the camera’s sensitivity to light – the higher the ISO, the more light it will pick up in an image, and the lower it is the more shadows that are pronounced. Aperture is the hole in which the light comes through the camera – the smaller the number (F1.4) the larger the hole. Aperture also controls the Depth of Field, so a small aperture creates a larger depth of field and vice versa. Shutter Speed (1/600s) is how long it takes for the camera to open and close on a shot, and how quickly the image is taken. Slow shutter speed (1/30) creates a blur but makes fast moving objects look very soft and fluid, whilst a high SS (1/1000) creates a crisp, clear image, perfect for action shots.

Below is a photo taken on different settings, where the ISO, Aperture and F-stop have been changed accordingly to fit the environment.
As you can see, the first and last images are not that clear and are either too under or over-exposed, and this is all due to the camera settings. The first image is clearly under-exposed, with the ISO set to 3200, Aperture of F/4.5 and Shutter Speed of 1/800, meaning that there is a short amount of time between the shutter opening and closing, and the Aperture is only able to let in a small amount of light in the time it takes to capture the image.

This is because Aperture controls the amount of light that comes into the camera through the hole in the camera, whilst ISO sets the light sensitivity that the camera detects i.e. the higher the ISO, the more light it is able to pick up/expose (leading to brighter or duller images, and also noisier images which become grainier!), and Shutter Speed is how quickly the image is captured. All three of these work together to create a balanced image that suits your photography task.

The final image has the setting ISO 3200, F/4.5 and 1/40 S, which means that all the available light that has been detected by the camera’s sensitivity is exposed, and that through a slower shutter speed, more light is able to make it through the 4.5 sized hole to create a brighter – yet over-exposed – photo.

Using the [3-2-1-0-1-2-3] bar on your camera can help you see whether your image is balanced/slightly under/over-exposed during Manual settings. Manual in itself though is actually really easy, and not as scary as you’d think it is. Once you’ve mastered the above, you can easily switch your settings to fit the surroundings and create the finish you desire. The beauty of manual is that you can make images brighter, which means less editing, which means a quicker turn around! It also means you control the image, and you know exactly how it will turn out – especially the colour balance…

Colour Balance: Why are my images orange?
You probably notice an icon that says AWB, and then don’t loot at it again. This icon means Auto White Balance, and basically sets your camera to shoot in a specific light environment – e.g. if it’s dark and the lights are on, you’d select Tungsten Light which generally cancels out the overly orange tones but still doesn’t get rid of them fully. Changing the manual shoot settings can solve this, as usually more light will reduce the tones. If you have trouble, you can get special lenses that cancel out the tones or use Photoshop or PicMonkey to change the temperature of the image through editing.

Resizing Images – Why do my photos take so long to load?
I have two thoughts on the issue with resizing images – on one hand, the biggest thing that can slow down a webpage loading is the size of its images; anything over 1MB is pretty big and will leave you waiting a few more seconds until it’s all displayed, and can be a bit of a killjoy. It also can on some computers lead to your images suddenly enlarging and taking over the screen (however HTML can stop this from happening), so resizing your images to fit exactly the width of your post is a great idea. It looks clean, neat, and makes loading time a dream, and you can even go one step further and save your images for web (when saving your photos, there should be an option to Save For Web). This makes them optimised for web display, automatically adds alt tags and loads quickly too.

Capturing the Moment: How to Frame & Take Your Pictures
Whether it’s a holiday snap or a product review photo, you want the image to look its best. Composition and the rule of thirds is a big, big, big deal. Breaking it down quickly, your image frame is made up of 3×3 equal squares (you can shoot on your cameras with a grid effect, and this is essentially the rule of thirds!) and how the subjects within the frame are positioned is really key. Our brain reads things with balance, so a more aesthetically pleasing image is one that is balanced within the grid.

Here’s an example…

The image on the top left is slightly off, not fitting equally within the frame, and kinda feels a bit meh to look at – not much thought has gone into the set up but it’s an okay start. The top right hand image is our left one cropped and moved within the frame to make it sit equally, and instantly it looks much more thought out and easy to view. I know this can sound a bit much, however if you want your images to capture people’s attention, then you yourself have to pay attention to the details in your image frame. Don’t make the taking of the picture all about it fitting in the frame, as you can see above that a crop and resizing can completely transform the final product – get tweaking and you’ll be amazed by the results.

The Magic Hour: Lighting; Not Witchcraft, Just Science!
Lighting is one of the biggest things in photography, and now that we’re heading into Spring there’s finally more light hours in the day to capture our images. I have both studio lights and use natural light, however I prefer the latter for my photos as it’s a lot lighter, clearer and bright. Studio lights are great when you want to control an environment or have continuous illumination on a subject, however you can get that edge that looks unnatural – 100% you’re own preference though!

If you do use natural light, then the best times to shoot are about 10am to 5pm as the sun reaches the higher points in the sky and isn’t as bright or yellow as it is in the mornings. For atmospheric shots, there is the ‘Magic Hour’ or ‘Golden Hour’, which occurs just after sunrise or before sunset where the sun is still high but the sky turns red – this is due to a drop in the lighting ratio as more of the light comes indirectly from the sun. This is contrasted by the midday sun, which can be quite harsh but gives lots of shadows and highlights and can cause overexposure.

When taking photos in natural light, there are some clever quick tips you have to try that make your images look even clearer than normal:
Bounce light back in with a mirror – just like a reflector, but you’re more likely to have one at home! This bounces light reflected into the room back into the subject, making it clearer and brighter. Take your photos facing the light – by facing the light, you allow all features of the subject to be illuminated and seen clearly, whilst blocking the sun will create shadow and an overcast. If it’s a bright day, take your photos in the shade – but have the sun facing you! Just like the previous point, facing the sun is great however a bright day causes bleaching and over-exposure, so stand in a shady spot to keep the light balanced but face the direction of the sun to keep the image bright overall. Bright and light backgrounds will add more light in – whether it’s a white table, a painted board, marbled tray or some paper, a light colour will reflect light back into the subject and camera, keeping the subject interesting and eye-catching when people scroll by.
Photography can seem daunting, but when you break it down it’s pretty easy to implement into your daily camera life. Whether you shoot on your iPhone or a big DSLR, all these tips can help make your shots become strong pieces of work that grab attention. Utilise light, materials you have at home, and play around with Manual settings, make the process fun and creative and find your flair to reflect your blog and photo style!

Your Guide to Increasing Conversions and Average Order Value via Product Photography

When shopping for products online, customers want to see exactly what they will receive when they make a purchase. In a physical store, shoppers are able to hold products and examine each and every detail in person. Online, product photos and descriptions are the only two ways for them to decide if particular products are worth purchasing.
For this reason, publishing multiple, high quality images of each of your products is critical to the success of your online business. In fact, according to eBay, each professional product image that is added to a particular listing increases sellers’ percentage of making a sale by 2%.
In this article, we will explain some of the key components of successful apparel, accessory and footwear product photography so that you can harness each listing’s full selling potential. Specifically, we will explain several successful key practices in product photography, as well as some unique considerations for different product categories.

What are the Key Components of Successful Product Images?

Creating a variety of high quality product images is critical to engage your customers and generate sales. Regardless of the product category, you need to make sure that the following elements of your product images are fully optimized: size and resolution, alignment/consistency, background and color accuracy.

Size and Resolution

A small photo is not an effective sales tool. It’s important to ensure your high resolution images are sized properly and are optimized for the web. As a general rule of thumb, your online product images should be at least 1600 pixels on the longest side so that 1) you will be able to utilize a zoom functionality on your site and 2) your images will be large enough to be accepted on all major online marketplaces.

Alignment and Consistency

To improve the professional appeal of your product pages and provide your customers with better shopping experiences, you should ensure that each included image is aligned perfectly with the rest. Publishing clean and consistent category pages will build trust with your customers and portray your company as a reputable retailer. You may choose to align your images to the top, center or bottom –– just be sure to select one method and use it for all of your product imagery.


A clean, plain background is another important factor to consider when creating product images. For most products, a plain white background is most suitable. At the same time, using a white background for your Bigcommerce store will also allow you to use the same images on many online marketplaces. We recommend using the same background for all your products to add consistency and a clean, professional look to your site.

Color Accuracy

Product color is another important aspect of shopping online. Make sure your images show the products’ true colors so that customers see exactly what they will receive if they purchase the product. It’s important to know that different computer screens and web browsers often utilize different color profiles, which means that every screen and browser interprets colors a little bit differently. To overcome this problem, convert your JPEG files to the sRGB color profile.


When shopping for accessories online, customers want to see exactly what they will be getting when they make a purchase.  It doesn’t matter if it is a purse, a scarf or another accessory, customers want to be able to visualize products as if they had them in their own hands. Showing color, size and product details are all extremely important.
Be sure to include the following angles in each product listing: front, back, 45 degrees, left side, right side, and details (buckles, zippers, straps on, straps off, bottom, inside, unzipped, open, logos, etc).
Front and Back
45 Degrees
Left and Right


Fashion apparel encompasses a wide range of styles and details and it’s important to showcase the unique features of your products. Before shooting, make sure to examine each product to identify details such as cuffs, bead work, buttons or elegant stitching that you want to display on your product listing page. Customers want to see everything.
Below are some of the recommended angles for photographing dresses, in particular:
Front and Back, Left and Right
45 Degrees
If you’d like to take your apparel images to the next level, consider using a 3D mannequin effect that will allow you show the shape of your product while eliminating distractions.


There are a number of different ways to create flattering images of shoes. Why? Because shoes tend to look great from a variety of angles and they often sport a great deal of detail.
Make sure to check off those basic, tried-and-true angles, first during your product photoshoot. The first “main” image in every listing is essential because it allows the customer to get a solid view of each product right from the start.
For this reason, we recommend that you start by creating the horizontal, left and right views of the shoe before you do anything else. After that, it’s time to roll up your sleeves and get creative. Don’t be afraid to experiment. Zoom in close to feature details like bows, fabric, jewels and leather, and make sure to try new angles. Remember, the more product image variations you include in each listing, the more likely you are to increase conversions.
Below are several examples of product image angles for footwear.
Left and Right
Front and Back
45 Degrees
Top and Bottom

Taking Things a Step Further

Once you have created beautiful, high quality imagery for your product listings, you’ll need to spend time writing appealing product descriptions and utilizing SEO, among other things. There are two other website and product listing features that you should consider as well: 3D product representations and “complete the look” functionality.

Product Videos and 360º Spins

In addition to deciding which angles to include in your listings, you will also need to determine the best way to display apparel, accessory and footwear products as if they were being worn.
This technique is especially useful in encouraging online shoppers to imagine wearing products themselves. A great way to do this is to include a video, 3D spin or animated gif along with every product, which can help customers to better visualize and understand products. Here are a few excellent examples of product gifs and videos from Zalando, Net-A-Porter, and ASOS:

360 Video Screen Capture
Animated gif

Complete the Look

Incorporating a “Complete the Look” feature on your ecommerce website is also a smart way to increase your sales in other product categories. This feature would allow customers to pair other merchandise with products they are currently considering to create outfits and styles. This not only makes shopping that much easier for your customers, but it is also a great marketing technique that will allow you to seamlessly promote additional products and increase conversions. Here are a few examples courtesy of Net-A-Porter and Mango:

“How To Wear It” by Net-A-Porter
“Complete Your Outfit” by Mango
As you can see, there are many different ways to photograph and showcase your apparel, accessory and footwear products. The bottom line is to remember that it’s always best to display as many high quality images per listing as possible. This will give customers a sense of security and confidence when purchasing products from your online store and reduce product returns. Winning your customers’ trust through product photography is one of the most important elements of growing any ecommerce business.

Profile Yourselfie: Creating the Best Profile Pic

If your time on the web is focused on more than just email and searching, chances are you’ve got a page on a social networking site where a profile pic shows your fabulous face. But does that profile pic represent you well? If it looks low-quality or tattered, it’s time to create a new one and put your best foot forward. We’re going to take a look at a PicMonkey staffer’s profile pic, and show you how a thoughtful re-take and some easy effects can really boost her online presence on professional networks like Linkedin, and social networks like Facebook.
photo of Karen's old profile pic

This is Karen’s old Linkedin profile picture. There are a few things we want to do, to help her hit a high note, here. First, she’s not really letting her bubbly personality shine through with that bad-girl serious expression. Also, the selfie arm-holding-camera thing is okay for social profile pics, but we shouldn’t be seeing it in a professional profile pic. And lastly, her photo is over-edited — too many effects! Now let’s begin the revamp…

Things to Remember When Shooting your Profile Photo

  • Use a neutral or muted color background. White backgrounds can wash out lighter skin tones, and brightly colored backgrounds can cast an uncomplimentary hue across the skin.
  • Use your best, most natural smile. Don’t be afraid to show your pearly whites!
  • If possible, use a self-timer to take the photo, to get rid of the arm in the picture. This will reduce the chances of a blurry photo, and give you a shot you can use in both professional and personal spheres.


Editing Your Photo for Professional Sites

photos showing before and after Daguerreotype_Brady effect
You can do a (nearly) one-click edit for your professional profile picture by heading straight to the Effects tab. Click Daguerreotype and select “Brady.” This effect replicates the look of Civil War photographer Mathew Brady (Google it and you’ll sound so photo connoisseur at your next cocktail party). By sheer coincidence, it also magically wipes away skin imperfections and beautifully enhances the darks in photos. Also try Tranquil, Dusk, or Film Stock for more one-click color options that look very professional as well.


Editing Your Photo for Dating Sites

When you want a photo to show off your date-worthiness, remember that gaudy overuse of effects and too much Blush Boost can shed the wrong (somewhat humorous) light on the assets you want to promote.
photos showing before and after Intrepid efffect
Start by going to the Touch Up tab. Get rid of stray hairs using the Clone tool, soften wrinkles with Wrinkle Remover (here we used a 70% fade), and smooth out minor skin flaws using the Airbrush effect. Add subtle color to the lips using Lip Tint, for extra pout-ability. Then zoom in to add Mascara (here at a 60% fade). To add a final touch to your dating allure, try adding the Intrepid effect with a 50% fade. So Zsa Zsa, dahling!
Tip: You don’t want to look like you belong in a wax museum! When using Touch Up effects, adjust the “Fade” slider before you apply them, so you can choose the right strength for the effect.


Editing Your Photo for Social Sites

photos showing before and after light effects and tiara overlay
On Facebook and other purely social social networking sites you can go for more relaxed, candid photos of yourself. Kayaking selfies, bowling alley selfies — why not?! Or you can add fun personality notes with editing. Here’s where there are virtually no rules. Play around until you’ve created the perfect selfie for your friends and family to see!
Use Light Trails textures to set an effervescent mood. Or transport yourself to fairyland by adding pastel Clouds textures. Be sure to set “Blend Mode” to Normal and click the paintbrush to erase the clouds off your face in the original. Or be royal! Add a tiara from the Hats overlays, and some Sparkle Stars. Her majesty “likes” your post about whatever it is you commoners do!
Tip: If you do choose to play it goofy with your Facebook profile pic, just make sure your page isn’t linked to other professional websites. Many will automatically pull your Facebook profile pic into their pages, and you really don’t want Ms. Future Boss Lady to see that shot of you with your nose Scotch-taped to your forehead!

Product Photography for Beginners [Etsy]

Learning how to take great photos is one of the most important things you can do to improve your Etsy shop. Since prospective customers can’t see or touch your item in person, photos communicate an item’s beauty and important qualities. Beautiful photos will also help your items to be featured both on and off of Etsy.
Luckily, taking great photos is a skill that you can learn! If you look at the early sold items of many sellers with wonderful pictures, you’ll see that they started just where you are now.
In this video workshop — led by successful Etsy shop owner and photographer Jessica Marquez of Miniature Rhino in Brooklyn, NY — we’ll talk shop about different types of cameras and what’s best for you. Jessica covers camera basics to provide more control over the images you create, key elements to improve your photographs for your Etsy shop, and how to solve some common problems with inexpensive, DIY fixes. Watch the video below to jump start the creative process and get you thinking about creating the best possible images for your Etsy shop.
We hope this video helps you on your photo-improvement journey! Make sure to go slowly while reworking your photos; try re-doing just a few per week. Take a lot of photos of an item as you learn. This helps you to figure out what works and what doesn’t, and it also gives you a lot of photos to choose from. You’ll find that you’ll get better and better as the weeks go by. Once you’re taking gorgeous photos, then go back and re-do the rest of the photos in your shop if necessary.


Glass Photography

Nothing can make you quite as crazy as a photographer than glass.  It is, without a doubt, one of the most difficult things to photograph really well.
Glass is a nightmare for a camera.  It reflects everything, it displays bizarre catch lights and can seem nearly impossible to focus properly.
And yet you won’t be a professional photographer very long, particularly in advertising photography, before you’re confronted with a job involving glass.
Soft side lighting and a frosty glass to dampen catch lights – photo by Kristofer2

The temptation is to get frustrated and figure you’ll take care of the imperfections in post processing.
When you get there you’ll discover that glass is nearly as insanely difficult to get right in post as it is in the studio.  So your best bet is to shoot right in the studio and minimize the post corrections.
The first step is cutting down as much ambient light as possible.  That means dark backgrounds and draping your stand in black.
The next step is lighting.  A studio flash with a modeling light works for me.  The two best angles for lighting glass are directly above and directly behind and below the image plane.  That will yield consistently good photographs, provided the glass is empty or the liquid nearly clear.
Liquids add a whole new dimension.  First, you have to figure out how to get it in the glass without splashing the sides.  Try that sometime.  I experimented for quite a while before going down to the hardware store and buying a small hand pump.  You can also use a cardboard tube from a paper towel roll and pour the liquid into that (I don’t recommend drinking it afterwards).
For this type of shoot you’ll need to use some type of table top box like an EZcube.  You can get both dark and gradient backgrounds for your EZcube and it will save you a huge amount of trouble.
Place a light on each side of the soft side panels and you’ll get a great look almost every time.  Swap in a dark background for clear glass.
For clear glass on a gradient, you’ll need some dark paper rolls at the bottom to keep the bottom of the glass from disappearing into the lighter part of the gradient.  It cuts down the on the light from the sides and the glass will pick up black highlights, just enough to separate it from the light gradient.
With colored glass you have it made.  Put a gray gradient in your EZcube and you’ll be done in 20 minutes.  That will yield adequate results but if you really want to make colored glass pop, you’ll need another tool of the trade.
Another secret to shooting glass is having a daylight balanced flat panel.  It’s worth the investment as you’ll be using it for jewelry and other small objects.  Use it in or out of your EZcube and you’ll discover it adds really nice highlights to your glass subjects.
Even with the right gear, you’ll still find glass objects present constant challenges.  Just keep at it, and you’ll eventually learn how to turn in some amazing shots.