Photographing a bottled beverage requires more than just a camera, a lens, and a set of lights. You need a clear vision as to exactly what you want and a few more tools. In this video, commercial photographer Tony Roslund demonstrates how you can use some simple (and some not so simple) tools to create better photos of your favorite drinks. If you’re a budding commercial photographer looking for tips to add to your portfolio, this is a treasure-trove of ideas:
Let’s take a look into some of the tools that Roslund uses for his work.
Tack putty comes in various degrees of adhesion and is quintessential when you want to mark the position of props in a shot. It’s also useful for holding up things like jewelry in place. Wooden blocks are another useful tool for position marking.
These are real life savers at a shoot. Microfiber cloths are used to wipe products, and they don’t leave any fibers or residue behind. If you’re shooting with a camera with extremely high resolution, the last thing that you want is small fibers showing up in the final shot. These can be real nightmares to clean in post-processing.
A set of these is ideal when handling products, especially those which are susceptible to fingerprints. You absolutely don’t want fingerprints showing up in the final image.
Canned air is suitable for mimicking frost; it’s ideal for photographing beverages when you want them to look as if they were just pulled out of a cooler.
To perfect that chilled look use glycerin mixed with water, usually in 50:50 ratio. Glycerin with water creates a sticky solution that won’t run off the face of the bottle and won’t dry.
When you apply the water-glycerin solution you’ll notice after a while that the paper label is peeling off. A clear spray helps to create a tough outer shell over the bottle and prevents the label from buckling. Apply one to two coats of the clear spray. Allow the bottle to dry. Then spray on the water/glycerin solution for the chilled look.
Fake ice is very useful for long shoots. Most commercial photographers would never use real ice, as it melts too quickly.
Most commercial shoots featuring beverages use acrylic ice, but it’s expensive. As Roslund mentions, each artificial cube of ice costs $40–45!
Browning and Seasoning Sauce
Even something out of the kitchen can be useful: a bottle of browning and seasoning sauce.
Varying quantities of it mixed with water can mimic the look of different beverages. A little will go a long way. You could shoot a glass of whiskey and then a cup of coffee with basically the same ingredients! It also goes a long way to save the actual product from being wasted.
Do you know of other tricks of the trade for food and beverage photography? Share them in the comments below.
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