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COCKTAIL PHOTOGRAPHY – HOW TO DO IT BETTER?

mezcal-matatlan-oax

Ever since i started blogging about cocktails and spirits a year ago i have struggled with taking my pictures in an environment that isn´t the best when it comes to light as i live in a very dark apartment and there´s really nowhere to go outside either. But in a bad situation you try to do the best that you can and sometimes you need to be inventive.

I take my pictures is in the kitchen with the kitchen fluorescent light in the roof as the light source apart from a little small metal halogen light i use sometimes to brighten it up. There isn´t much daylight coming in from the windows unfortunately as there´s huge cherry trees and a garage next to the building that blocks most light. To combat the poor light i try to use different angles and play with shadows.

I think i really need to make myself a light-box of some kind, Rumdood made one and his pictures are great. Cocktailnerd uses both a lightbox and outdoor backgrounds as far as i can see when browsing his blog and his pictures too are great. Making a light box doesn`t have to be expensive if you use cartons, its mainly the lights you need that may cost a bit. I wish one of the bloggers that have made their own lightbox (Dood..hint) would make a blog post about how to do it with drawings or pictures in some tutorial style.

Another thing is the camera. I have a very simple pocket-camera which i use with the macro that is available which isn`t very good. I want my pics to be bright but under these light circumstances its a bit hard. I´ve been told that my drinks looks like they do in a bar which in a way isn´t necessarily a bad thing  but i would prefer to be able to take bright yet natural looking pictures. And then i rather would like to be able to choose whenever i want a picture to be dark like it would in a bar. And besides, i`m quite “tired” of being kicked out of tastespotting everytime because they think my pictures are too dark..

During Drinkwrite 2009 in New Orleans there was a cocktail photography session with Jamie Bodreau, Darcy O`Neill and Rick Stutz - all three of them taking amazing pictures. The main points in short, made during the photo-session were these:

A_- You dont need to have the most expensive equipment to take good pictures but if you have good stuff, it helps. Look for cameras that are good with low-light and close-up-macros.

B – Daylight is always the best.

C – Get a good lens/lenses.

D – Indoors, cheap desk-lamps will do.

E – Things to consider – visual interest, surfaces one or two, neutral background example – paper. Glassware is important, try to vary, look in 2nd hand shops. Garnish of the cocktail is important for the final touch.

F – The lowest possible number you shoot, the more light you`ll have.

G – try to get a macro of 12.

I wonder how many cocktail bloggers out there struggle with the same problems as i do when it comes to cocktail photography?

When i was in the US i was lucky to have a chance to take pictures in natural light outdoors and to experiment using a paper background versus using a natural background with plants etc by the fishpond and here are two different pics of my a little bit crazily garnished tikidrink “Mixohouse cocktail” which was made for the New Orleans TDN.

mixohouse-cocktail1

I myself think the one with paper background looks better as the neutral background lifts the cocktail into focus. So a neutral background is important but it doesnt have to be white or of paper, but it needs to be “calm”. At home i`m using a dark brown straw-mat that i hang up in the kitchen. It works quite well though even if its dark in there, you can see it at the picture on the top.

I find the pic at the left better when it comes to brightness, the right one is a bit too dark, i would have liked to see the mint more bright green as it is in the left pic as well as the cherry more exposed. But both pics are taken in daylight which i think is the best light to use. That said doesn´t mean there´s no way to get good pics indoors, you just need good equipment and good light. (light-box again)

There are a few blogs out there with some tremendously fantastic photos, i hope to get there some day – and photographing is really fun. I also look a lot at food pictures, there´s much to learn from the foodies and food in my opinion isn´t the most easy subject to photograph.

Another important thing is the after-work. The exposure, color balance, sharpness, brightness and contrast are a few very important factors for a good end result. At the same time i don´t want my pics to be too much processed either, i want them as natural as i can get yet there´s occasions when its nice with a really “dreamy” picture.

In any case to me the main thing is – i want the cocktails too look appetizing enough to make you want to drink them.

Its just like with food pictures, if it makes you crave it or feel something then its a good picture. But good cocktail photography isn`t all about the equipment, its also how you take the pictures, how you balance the background, how you crop the picture, how you make the picture come alive and get personal etc I also think its a good idea to try to keep it simple.

But one thing that i don`t like is how many of the glossy magazines process their pictures to the point of making them”loose their soul” and in the end they really do look not only unnatural with too bright colors and too much sharpness but also totally unpersonal and almost sterile.

A good idea for us bloggers though would be an online cocktail photography school..anyone? i would certainly need and enjoy it.

Now you`ve read about my pictures and my thoughts on cocktail photography and surely there are tons of things i haven´t thought about and i`m curious to know about your photographing.

What are the problems you folks have to deal with when doing your cocktail pics? what solutions have you come up with and what equipment do you use? what works for you?

33 comments to COCKTAIL PHOTOGRAPHY – HOW TO DO IT BETTER?

  • Carolyn

    I`m not a cocktail blogger but I like cocktails.I dont photograph cocktails though but other things. I have a small camera too. I think the picture of the drink on top of the page is great.But I understand what you mean when you say its difficult with the light if you must be indoors.I`m not sure how a home made light box looks but maybe that´s a solution.

    That pineapple-skin garnish was fun!

  • Allen

    My wife and I are kind of amateurs in our respect fields: photography and bartending. But after months of trial and error/studying for our own e-magazine, I think we have concluded (in our opinions) that drinks against a white/neutral background look the most appetizing. It brings out all the color(s) of the drink, and it never ever clashes with anything. You can get more of a feel for the drink and can better observe the garnishes that reflect the feel of the drink. If not a white background, a pale or neutral background – something that does not in any way take the focus away from the drink. I think it may be moreso how the drink is presented and it’s garnishes that will encourage the person to drink it. In any case, we think the lighter the background, the better. Harsher colors will probably make the drink seem less appetizing, or even distract the viewer.

    That is just our opinions anyway, we are not professions exactly!! By the way Tiare, I love your blog and flickr and follow them everyday :) big fan here!! I am aspiring to be a great bartender as you someday!

  • Thanks Carolyn, to me it looks like a light box is the best solution.

    Allen, i have been thinking in those lines for a while too. For me to use a light background in my kitchen i would need some new lamps to light up the background from the sides i think.So as i already said, a lightbox seems the way to go.

    Then comes another problem, if we all use the same backgrounds our pictures would very much look the same and i want my pictures to have their own style.Then again everyone get their own personal touch on their drinks still.

    And thanks for your kind words Allen, but i must tell you that i do not consider myself a bartender because i don´t work professionally in a bar for my living.I see myself as a cocktail enthusiast!

    Cheers!

    T

  • Thanks for your post. I always enjoy your cocktail photography. Thanks for the hints.

  • Allen

    Tiare, I think every spirits enthusiast is a great bartender at heart, because every great bartender at heart is a spirits enthusiast! :D

    But anyway, you are absolutely right! If everyone used white it would be boring! Sorry I’m a little partial to the minimalist approach :P Well, besides the use of a lightbox, perhaps Photoshop (or some variant of) can be useful. We use it all the time. The use of an out-of-focus/slightly blurred background can add color, and some design, while keeping the main focus on the drink itself. Photoshop can really come in handy to lighten pictures or blur backgrounds when they’re too intense. Regardless of the quality of the camera, it can really spruce up your image!

    By the way, I forgot to say, I totally agree about the sharpness. I think a picture (especially one with a cocktail) should be soft and mellow, a relaxing feel to it. I think that’s why I’m a minimalist when it comes to drink photos, because I dislike the commotion :)

  • Great post about a real problem (at least for me).

    I shoot with my girlfriend’s Nikon Coolpix, and the best shots are where I take the time to set up a place to take pictures – like bunch of lights (desklamps, whatever) with a sheet draped for a backdrop, and then use a leather lined tray as the table top. And I use iPhoto to polish them up.

    But that is not much help for a party, or certainly not at a bar. I’ve thought of cutting two sides off a big cardboard box to have on hand as my ‘photo set’ for cocktail parties, lining it with a white sheet (neutral backdrop that is light reflective)

    I used to take lots of analog photos (with film) and the thing I miss the most is a tripod – the single thing that will make the biggest difference in the quality of your shots. I have to find a small one. And someday we’ll be getting a Nikon DSLR (I still have my Nikon SLR & lenses….)

  • Tony Harion

    Hey T!
    For a little while now I’ve been very much in love with photography. In no way I have the experience to be giving advises in the field, but I wanted to throw a few links and thoughts together here.

    An interesting part about your pictures, that I really like are your angles. You take your pictures in some way that is very characteristic. I can pretty much tell that a picture came from you just by looking at it. This is a good thing!
    Having a light box is interesting too, but to be able to swap back grounds is also good.

    I like natural light for cocktails, but I feel that you can tell a cocktails’ history by the way you light it, and natural light might not be perfect for every story.

    Most important of all, keep your great personality on the pictures and the writing!

    Here are a few links that might be interesting to many:
    DYI Lightboxes:
    http://www.flickr.com/search/groups/?w=71917374@N00&q=DIY+lightbox

    Also check out the http://www.instructables.com/ site for more boxes.

    More AWESOME INFO on lighting photos and online courses at the Strobist Blog (http://strobist.blogspot.com). The “lighting 101” and “lighting 102” courses helped me a lot!!

    Cheers,
    Tony

  • I’ll have to see if I can dig up the blog post that I used to build my lightbox. It’s an incredibly easy process, and as I recall they had pictures on what-not. My only hesitation in posting something like that on my site is that I try to avoid being to “meta” and prefer to try and stick to drinks. ;-)

    The steps though, are essentially:

    Get 1 cardboard box, some tissue paper, and 2 pieces of posterboard (color of your choice – this will be your background).

    Cut squares out of 3 of the sides of the box, leaving just enough of the sides that you’ve cut up to keep the box from collapsing. These emptied sides will be your lighting panels, and the side that you don’t cut will end up being the bottom of your lightbox.

    Tape white tissue paper over the holes you’ve cut. This will diffuse the light from your lamps.

    Lay the box so that the one unmolested side is on the bottom. You can choose to remove all of the flaps to the box (the ones you would normally use to seal the box), but you should remove at least the one that now dangles from the top of your lightbox.

    Cut the posterboard so that it fits inside the box, running without a crease from the top of the box, bowing, and coming to the edge of the box. This is your background.

    Setup desk lamps on the sides and top of your lightbox (I only use two lamps and the lighting is sufficiently horrid that I do a lot more work in Photoshop than I should have to).

    You are DONE! Keep some extra posterboard around so that you can replace your backdrop in case of spills (which do happen with drinks photography).

  • Hi there!

    I wanted to make a point in the use of white, neutral backgrounds. I think that a very important part of the photo, involving the “appealing” of the drink, is the atmosphere you get. I mean, there are certain items you can include in the picture that are not part of the drink but get you in the mood. A bottle of rum in the background, half lime or a flower can work great as a complement for the drink.

    Of course lighting is important. But neutral light can flat the final result, so I think that, to recreate an appealing ambient, contrasted, “bar-like” lighting, like the one at the top of this article, does great. And the same for textured backgrounds, they warm the photo.

    For me, the idea is to get a warm, appealing atmosphere, not a neutral image of a drink.

  • Jeff, thank you! and if you think my hints were good, well check out what these guys commenting after you have to say.

    Allen, when it comes to sharpness, i like sharpness but not over-sharpness.I agree that a cocktail picture should have a relaxing feel to it.

    AlchemistGeorge, a tripod is on my wish list as well.

    Tony , thanks for the links,they are very helpful and as you said, it takes time to learn these things.

    Matt, great that you added this about how to make a light box, i`m going to make one some day when i`ve been able to get the side lights.

    Ivan, nice to see you again, i see your point and also agree but at the same time i see the benefits of a white background. I`m aiming to use both depending on what kind of drink i have.

  • Carolyn

    That light box looks like a good idea and it seems not too hard to make.It should be easy to make a very small one.If you have but a very small space like a one room apt maybe it could go on top of the kitchen counter?

  • David

    It’s good to see you paid attention, the one thing they cant teach you is flair, and you seem to lack it in every sense of the word.
    While your photos may be technically perfect (yours aren’t) they lack interest or clarity on what the point of the image is.

  • You do not necessarily need a lightbox for cocktails. Main use of the lightbox is to eliminate all unwanted reflections and to diffuse/make softer some of the light you are using. Lightboxes are commonly used to take clean/sterile product photos for magazines etc.

    Having said that, cocktails tend not to reflect their environment as much as bottles for instance, which reflect absolutely everything. To take cocktail photos like these I used a simple white backdrop and lamps with diffuser.(Pics also on Atlanticos website).

    Furthermore, if you have a room with a good distance between the target and the objects you do not want in the reflection, you won’t need a lightbox to eliminate them as they won’t show in the picture.

    Here are some links to pics of a very basic lightbox I made years ago (I have a lot better set up now) when I started taking pictures for Refined Vices

    “>

    http://img249.imageshack.us/img249/2738/box2do2.jpg

    http://img404.imageshack.us/img404/6308/box1zn4.jpg

    My very first result when experimenting with it (I used a crap Ixus 40):

    http://img239.imageshack.us/img239/4019/lightboxzippogu9.jpg

    ”I find the pic at the left better when it comes to brightness, the right one is a bit too dark, i would have liked to see the mint more bright green as it is in the left pic as well as the cherry more exposed.”

    You simply need more light in the front to make them brighter.

    – CS

  • Carolyn, a light box that could be on top of the kitchen counter would be handy, i just wonder if that wouldn`t be too small?

    David, the aim of this site is to write about cocktail mixing,ingredients,etc and the pics are there to show how these cocktails could look like when they are made, just to give a picture.I`m trying to improve the photos, and the reaon for this post was to hear how the other cocktailbloggers are doing with their photos;-)And of course, what you like or dont like is always very personal.

    Tatu, the light box you are using looks very good to me, unf i wouldnt be able to have such a large box due to my small space, i more need something what Carolyn talks about. Looks good though.

    Cheers!

  • Tony Harion

    I just cannot agree with David.

    To say (Quoting David) “…flair, and you seem to lack it in every sense of the word…” is not only untrue, but also a very unfortunate comment on a site with this many visitors a day and such a great content.

    I do like your pictures very much, but also give you props for trying to improve them.

  • PeterW

    Reading the comments here I have to say I think its some great content on this site and the photos really reflect the feel of these drinks and makes me thirsty.I don´t think photos on a cocktail blog needs to be “perfect” – its not a cocktail photography site right?

    I have been to other cocktail blogs as well and the quality of the photos varies a lot but one thing all seems to share and which i think is the most important aspect of all if you are going to write a cocktail blog – your passion for cocktail mixology.

    PW

  • Lizzy

    If you don´t have good equipment (and good equipment is very expensive!) its not so easy to get real good pictures.With a small pocket camera you are quite limited and if you can`t have daylight even more so.

    I used to have a small pocket camera too and of course the camera isn`t everything, but its a lot still and now after i bought a better camera (after saving up for years) everything is so much easier.

  • Owning good and expensive camera equipment is no guarantee for good photos and in some cases can produce results that are worse.

    Good equipment is only going to help you if you know what you’re doing in the first place. If you don’t know what you’re doing, all that fancy gadgetry is just going to confuse you and end up in your way and it will show in the photos.

    I’ve taken excellent photos with my Ixus 40 before I moved on to the realm of Digital SLR cameras. Taking a good photo takes time, patience and practice with any equipment and if you think just by buying “the fancy stuff” will automatically make your photos better, think again.

  • [...] of A Mountain Of Crushed Ice lays down all of the necessary steps to make your cocktail photography as nice as those pretty pictures you see in Food & [...]

  • Anthony

    I like your drink images! they look so tropical and exotic.I´m amazed at what you can do with just a small camera.And the drinks looks like they would in a bar.

  • Very good point here, Tiare!

    Even if we are not professional photographers and this is not a “cocktail photography blog”, I do agree, we take care of the visual effect. And we have to, actually, the way I see it. Of course, the MAIN thing doing cocktails is the recipe, the flavour of the concoction. BUT still, when we garnish it, we do it because we understand that a visual attraction is needed and is also part of the personality of the cocktail. Even more important if we wanna share it online. Cocktails are three things, I think: flavour + aroma + look (I’m not sure if you say it like this in english, but you get the point, right?). And sometimes I would even add a fourth thing: a story behind it (sometimes, thoug, as I said).

    I don’t have a really pro equipment, but I took some care on it (once in a while we’re lucky) and I’m quite happy with my pics (still to be improved). On the internet you get special deals for digital SLR cameras on sale. And I definitely find a GOOD camera very helpful, specially if we don’t know very much about real photography. What they refer to as “SLR cameras to the general public”. For about 400 US$ you can get a nice, easy to use Canon 400D (they one I had before), for example.

    ONE THING THAT I FIND SPECIALLY HELPFULL IS: a fixed 50 mm lens!!!!!

    Once you have it, you’ll find quite easy to understand the “F number”, for instance, or at least how to use it.
    I not always have the chance of shooting with daylight, wich I like the best, and a simple, regular desk lamp helps when fluorescent light is the only available. Then your good camera can be your superhero! Because you might be able to set up a whole kit of lightbox, extra bulbs, backgrounds, tripods, nice surface, etc. at home. But sometimes you’ll want to shoot a photo in a bar. Then what?

    OTHER THING THAT I TRY TO BE CAREFUL with is: keep the frame area clear! Sometimes we catch the drink perfectly, light, icecubes, garnish, colours, the very first background, everything’s right, but a bit away behind or righ next to it there’s a dirty ashtray or a pen that someone left just to ruin it all. In those cases the fixed 50mm lens IS your superhero!
    You can take a look at some pics I’ve taken with no knowledge on photography here: http://www.barconcept.es/cocktails.html (all of them, except for three, are taken under fluorescent cold light in a cellar).

    I’m sorry for posting such a long comment… I should’ve posted a new entry with this in my blog, probably, hehe!

    By the way, David, with all respects, you’re off, mate, not only wrong but also impolite. Bad boy.

    T’s blog is superb!

  • That point about cocktails having a story behind them is a good one, a story behind a cocktail makes it so much more interesting and is actually what i`m looking for right now, i`m trying to dig up some old tiki drink with a good story, like the one about Stevenson`s life in Samoa (the cocktail Dr Funk – http://www.tikiroom.com/tikicentral/bb/viewtopic.php?topic=29020&forum=10&7)

    A story behind the drinks really adds another dimension. So i agree, its flavour + aroma + look(and garnish)plus hopefully a story.

    I`m still with my pocket camera and bad light,and i`m dreaming about a better camera and better light, some day it will happen, with a little help from a lot of work.

    Miguel, don`t feel sorry about posting a long comment, its not a problem.I think your pics are good, the blog too but i need to translate;-)

    Tatu, with all respect but i think Lizzy tries to say that with a good camera things may become a bit easier – not that a fancy expensive camera would all of a sudden transform you into a good photographer. Personally i feel very limited with the one i have and it does have a very poor macro which isn`t so good when you want to photograph cocktails.

    Another good point from Miguel, keep the frame area clear.

    T

  • Hi Tiare

    I’ve started taking pictures of many bottles of my own, and have been into photography for some time. Here’s what few tips I can offer with specific regards to taking pictures of cocktails.

    1.The camera is, overall, irrelevant. High pixel counts are irrelevant. A good DSLR will enable you to shoot your vision, but if that vision is not there in the beginning, the camera will not help much. Most of what I currently shoot on my site is done with a Nikon D40, 18-55 cheapo lens, a few cheap table lamps, and a roll of computer paper for a white background.

    2. A trio of table lamps with either white or yellow bulbs is quite enough to provide you with directional light. Yes a lightbox is good, but it will diffuse your light as well, and that’s not always what you want.

    3. An interesting angle is always a good idea. Think creatively.

    4. Use materials related to the particular cocktail as backgrounds or supporting objects. Sometimes you will want a clear area with nothing but the glass, sometimes you’ll want a few extra items that relate to your cocktail.

    5. Always look at other people’s work for ideas.There’s a site called http://www.1x.com run out of Sweden that keeps me humble and provides tons of inspiration.

    6. Learn to see light: by this I mean understanding what the light sources are, and how they affect the pattern of light and shadow on the object, how they emphasixe one thing and de-emphasize another.

    7. Learn about depth of field and what apertures of the lens affect the level of light and what is in focus.

    8. Understand what your camera can do and what it can’t.

    9. Play. Shoot. Experiment. Do it all the time. The more you shoot, the more you will understand what it is you really want.

    If what I see on this site is all your work, then you’re more than well on your way.

    Good luck.

    R van D

  • R van D, thanks for your comment. Yes its my work on the blog unless i have stated otherwise with credits under the pictures. I can`t change the environment and still has the same little pocket camera so i work with angles and shadows and i really enjoy doing that, its so fun.

    Thanks for your input and good suggestions!

  • TheBigChef

    what is the best camera for under $700 to use to shoot cocktails

  • I have no idea, i use a cheap Samsung myself.I didn`t look for brand, i looked for ability to shoot well in dark light, and ok macro plus cheap price. But i need a better camera.

  • Well, I use a Canon EOS 500D with a 50 mm fixed lense and the results are superb! Absolutely. The two things together costed me about 600-700 US$ (can’t remember exactly now). You can see some pics taken with here: http://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.345221211917.151077.187641381917&type=1 or here: http://www.barconcept.es/cocktails.html

    Cheers,

    Miguel.

  • Gil Batzri

    I have used professional DSLRs to cell phone cameras to photo my subjects. The important most important thing to make a beautiful photo is control of your light. Photography is about seeing light and composing your frame. a $4000 camera with a $2000 lens in the hands of someone without those abilities will be slaughtered by a photographer with a $20 holga.

    If I had my druthers, I would shoot with a soft box and a sharp (not diffused) light. It would depend on what I was trying to achieve, I think that the point of photos on site like AMCI is very different then what Absolut or Skyy is trying to achieve with their photos (or even Atlantico..) I am not super fond of high key white/neutral backgrounds on photos on sites like this. Tiare’s photos are beautiful, they have a distinct character and execution.

    I would try to craft my photos like that. Any number of product photographers are around shooting things on white backgrounds. The photos I love looking at online on these types of blogs are photos that have a sense of place, there is one site where the photos are on the fellow’s bar top, he has some varnished postcards in the top and the tiki bar is brilliant they are uniformly nice and fun to look at.

    Rather then a whitebox, I would focus on finding a place that allows photos with clean background, no clutter, that will allow you to set your tableau up and photo it with a minimum of fuss, that will be somewhat identifiable as your photo and then make the lighting work (obviously the sun is the best, but that is tough sometimes) You can setup lighting and get things arranged (presuming you have the space) Take a glass of OJ and go to work. When you get the juice looking cracking, if you are inside, take note of the lights, maybe drop a dot on the desk for each light, take note of your camera settings etc. If you can get it right in the camera, you are gold, all you should do in your “photoshop” tool is unsharp mask and crop. (in a perfect world)

    For those with more then a passing interest you can look at food photography book (I got “Food in Focus” when I did my studio class. Food photography is about artifice, most of what you see in magazines ads etc is not consumable. They use plastic ice cubes, glycerine for “sweating glasses” all kinds of tricks like that, making a photo of a cocktail you are going to drink (hopefully) is not as controlled a situation, nor do I think most people want it to be.

    I would recommend a camera with a real shutter/lens system. This can be a Canon/Nikon SLR (I am a Canon guy) I would recommend a fast short zoom, for simplicity, a 24-70 f2.8 (this can be expensive). That being said, I have bought in addition to my SLR gear this last year an Olympus micro 4/3rds camera (Panasonic and Sony have competitors), it has switchable lenses and a 14mp sensor, it works unbelievably in low light and I use it 8 times for every time I drag my 1Dmk2 out because it is small and doesn’t require the infrastructure. The image quality is insane, you can get different lenses, you can trip remote lights with the hot shoe, it is an amazing camera in a small package.

    But again, you can make amazing photos with a $20 camera if you understand the principles of light, exposure and composition. the camera is just a tool, like a shaker or a muddler, it is a way to express your skill, it doesn’t create a beautiful photo where there isn’t one, it just allows you to capture what you put in front of it.

    ^—— This paragraph is more important then any of the others.

    Mahalo! and keep up the good work everyone! the more amazing stuff to look at there is, the more we can all push ourselves to be better.

  • Wow Gil, what a comment! awesome reading, you have some real valuable things here to add. Thanks also for your kind words. As you can see i have not changed my style with that brown bamboo background and the light angles i`m using because it has developed to become a sort of “trademark” and i feel comfortable with it and also it´s practical and easy. Plus that my photo style thanks to my “trademark” now are recognized by many so every time they are stolen someone always alerts me…

    All i wish is a better camera, i STILL use my old pocket Samsung…after almost 4 years of cocktail blogging.The only reason for that is that cameras are expensive here. Not that i couldn`t have saved up in 4 years but i`ve saved for travelling instead. And since it kinda works still…

    I have also come to the conclusion that if you gonna use a white background you really need to try to get that photo come alive and still stay personal which i think both Rick “Kaiderpenguin” and Matt “Rumdood” manages very well.

    But i do agree 100% that many of those non-personal photos you often see in magazines and ads etc lack soul, spirit and life and are totally boring no matter what the photo quality, they are still like “dead”.

  • Gil Batzri

    There is definitely a place for high key shots, if you look at advertising of spirits/beers/liquids in general a nice tight shot of whatever it is with “condensation” and those beautiful crystal ice cubes they are swooningly nice, but like you said there is an artifice to the thing.

    The other side to that is that creating a photo like that is such a display of control of environment that it is an impressive thing standing on it’s own. I shot some product work when I was in my class, and every last piece of light involved has to be controlled, errant reflections will ruin the “stage” you are creating. We took a photo of my watch (similar to a shot you would see in a glossy magazine, and we were not allowed to retouch so we created a hidden armature had 4 lights, and controlled EVERY aspect, blocking reflections, blocking out the room so nothing reflected on the watch etc, we setup for three+ hours to make the one frame that we turned in. That is the kind of work that goes into making a commercial photograph.

    I can get you a camera here if you manage to save up and I can ship it. I was talking with a friend of my dad’s in Istanbul when we were there and he was telling me about the brutal prices for camera gear on that side of the pond. I was going to lend him my old pro body and then sell it to him if he likes it, but I haven’t managed to connect with him yet, maybe later this year (who knows)

  • They def are artificial looking, but yes sure they have their place and on some blogs those photos are to prefer.As for a camera, imma get one from EBay at some point or from a sale here or 2nd hand but not now..

  • Hey Tiare,
    I’m in the process of taking you up on the idea of setting up an online class on drink photography. The short of it is that drinks are hard to shoot but understanding a few basic principles will really help. The biggest thing is that gear doesn’t matter. It can help and make it easier, but isn’t a requirement. Have fun at tales.

  • Gabriel

    As much as I love cocktail drinks and as much as I love photography, you’d think this is something I’d know more about. Very cool profession/hobby to be in to. Time to get a new Macro lens

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