Have you ever seen a photo of a cocktail, or any type of drink, that looks as though you could reach in and take a sip? Maybe it’s the vibrant colors of the garnishes, the way the light shines through the liquid or the condensation on the glass. Whatever makes your mouth water, it’s likely the result of how the commercial food and beverage photographer set up the shot. Is it easy to do? Yes and no.
It can be both fun and frustrating to get a picture of a drink to look that good. Though everyone and their cousin enjoys posting pictures of the evening nightcap on social media, it’s the commercial food and beverage photographer that goes through the painstaking motions that make the drinks desirable. There’s more to a great shot than pouring and pointing the camera.
If you’re thinking about becoming a commercial food and beverage photographer, there are a few things you should know about getting the right shot.
Skip the accessories. This means if you want to take a picture of your iced coffee, remove the Danish next to it first. Though there will be times when food photography can include props, the key to getting the right drink shot is to make it all about the beverage and nothing else.
Freeze your assets. Sneaky tip 101: Freeze the glass for about five minutes prior to the shot. This will produce the condensation that you so desire. This is a process that might take time to master, as the effect won’t last long after the glass comes out.
Backlight it. Putting the drink between your camera and your light source will deepen your image, especially when it comes to something with a vibrant color like a ruby red sangria. You’ll often find that the right backlighting will pick up on the subtle nuances you don’t think of, like bubbles and ice formations.
Learn from the best. Take a look at what you see on the website of another commercial food and beverage photographer. How are they capturing the essence of the drink? Notice when they keep things simple and when they get really creative. Follow a few of them and let their work inspire you to create something of your own.