How to Make Your Beer Photos Look Awesome with Photoshop

There’s an art to editing photos for product photography, especially when it comes to liquids. In this two-part series, Aaron Nace shows viewers how to transform a simple image of a Guinness into a piece of advertisement-worthy art in post production using Photoshop. Let’s get started.

Part 1: Replacing the Background and Creating the Head

The brunt of the work is covered in the first video:

Here’s a quick rundown of Aaron’s suggested steps for editing a beer photo:

  • Use the pen tool to make a perfect selection of half of the beer glass. By outlining only half of the glass,  you can then duplicate the selection and mirror it to ensure both sides of the glass are perfectly symmetrical.
  • To add glow around the sides of the glass, sample a color to use from the head of the beer and create new selections that are the same shape of the edge of the glass. Nace makes three total selections and changes all their blending modes to Screen. Add a Gaussian Blur to the selections, reduce their opacity, and use a layer mask to fade the selections near the bottom of the glass and eliminate them where the head appears.
  • Enlarge the head by painting in the empty section of the glass and sampling the color of the head as you go to give the head a nice gradient look, then reduce the opacity to take away some of the yellow tinge in the image. At this point, the head will not appear very realistic.
  • To bring the details of the glass back to the area where the head was painted on, duplicate the background layer and change the opacity of the painted head layer while changing the blend mode to Screen. Using a Layer Mask and a white paint brush, brush back in the detail.
The before and after shots of Part 1.

The before and after shots of Part 1.

Part 2: Adding Bubbles, Reflections, and Other Finishing Touches

In this video, Nace completes the project by adding all the fine details to the composition to really make it glow:

  • Create condensation by drawing the condensation in a new layer, and create a custom brush from the drawing. With black as the foreground color, use the custom brush to paint the condensation onto the glass where the reflections were added in Part 1.
  • Add bubbles the same way, using a new layer and hand drawn bubbles turned into a custom brush. Brush the bubbles onto the glass of beer.
  • To add a reflection of the glass to the image and make it appear like the glass is sitting on a reflective surface, group all of the edits together and duplicate. Expand the canvas to create more room to work and flip the duplicated layer vertically. Reduce the opacity of the duplicated layer using a layer mask to create a nice flow between the glass and its new reflection.
  • To finish up, create a glow by making a circular gradient and dragging the layer below the glass layer.
photographing liquids

What we started with in comparison to the finished product.

The process is a lengthy one, but also one that gets easier and quicker with practice. To that end, it’s important that you take your time and make sure everything is done as perfectly as possible for the best results.

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2 responses to “How to Make Your Beer Photos Look Awesome with Photoshop”

  1. Rob Walls says:

    Nice work…but any devotee of Guinness will tell you the head on the final image is too white. The head on a well poured glass of Guinness is always a caramel tint.

  2. NiagaraTim says:

    and lets not forget the bubbles in the foam as well… Great tutorial! ;)

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