Taka Kawachi housed two Profoto strobe heads in homemade softboxes (A) to side- and backlight his subject. Both sources were further diffused through sheets of translucent Plexiglas (B). For a stronger, contrastier light for the beer’s foamy white head, Kawachi top-lit the mug with a third, undiffused Profoto head (C). Two black flags (D) outlined select glass surfaces, and a large, white V-card (E) provided subtle fill lighting to the right side of the mug. To support his subject, Kawachi used an expensive panel of “water” glass (F), an unusually pure form of glass whose bubble-, ripple-, and color-free characteristics can make it relatively invisible to the camera. Why DIY softboxes? “Commercially available softboxes are designed for portraits and usually give off very flat, even light,” says Kawachi. “For products, I need something with more contrast.” He gets it by lining the interior of his foamcore softboxes with aluminum foil.