Photographing a glass or a bottle is one of the most challenging feats in photography. The problem is that glass is clear and highly reflective, so getting the shape, and possibly the label, to come to life while avoiding your reflection can be difficult. Throw a white background into the mix, and it becomes even trickier. The key, however, is to embrace that reflections will happen, and make sure the right ones do.
Above is a simple study I did of three rock glasses on white, going from simple to complex. To start, I placed two lights on the background, sending it to pure white. I also made sure those lights were placed so the bright background would reflect onto the plexi, sending that to white as well. Next, a medium soft box was placed left of camera shooting through a diffusion panel, giving the glasses a smooth sweeping reflection on the front left (and back right). This was all the light I needed; now it was time for the black cards and foils.
To really bring out the sides and facets, I precisely positioned black cards around and over top the set to reflect on just the sides and tops of the glasses. Then, for the center and right glasses, I laid black cards on the plexi to reflect just right on the edges of the facets.
Last, to make the liquor (actually ice tea) glow, I stood a piece of gold foil behind each glass angled towards the sidelight.
All this helped to really shape the glass, add depth to the image, and make the liquor glow.