Summer is pretty much over but that’s no reason to stop shooting food and drink with a fresh summery vibe, at least according to food photographer Amie Miller. Here she shares on her YouTube channel six easy tips to keep summer going and make your drink photography look mouthwateringly beautiful.
- Use a funnel when pouring your drink. This is kind of a no brainer once you’ve tried photographing drinks a few times but it’s one of those stupidly simple yet essential pieces of equipment. By pouring the liquid into the glass via funnel you are going to make less mess, and avoid splashing the glass so avoiding wasting time trying to clean the glass in real life or in post-production. It also means for carbonated drinks you can stage the entire scene and get all the ingredients in the glass in the correct positions before pouring the drink. Then you can capture all those great little bubbles straight away before they go flat.
- Try using hard light. Hard light has become more and more popular in recent years particularly in the realm of food and drink photography. Personally, I love the way it evokes a hot summery day outside, and it really makes colours pop. Amie says that she also loves the way you can play with creating interesting shadows and reflections, particularly with glassware. The best thing is that you only need a small distant light source to create this look. For example a bare bulb or even the sun itself (for those of us non-UK based!).
- Create condensation. A big part of food photography is making the subject look not only delicious but give the impression of how it would feel to taste it. Condensation is a really big part of making a drink look cold and refreshing. If you don’t want to fake it then Amie rinses her glass under water and then puts it in the freezer for 4 to 12F hours. When you take it out be careful not to touch the sides of the glass as that will spoil the effect. You’ll also need to work quickly so have everything set up in advance and use a stand-in glass.
- Fake condensation. It’s often a good idea to fake condensation rather than trying to create it for real. It allows you to take more time making your image and you’ll have much more control over how the glass will look. Different types of drinks will often look better with different styles of condensation or drips. The first way is by spraying a Matte Sealer onto the glass to create a frosted look. To make it look more convincing make sure to only spray it on areas of the glass that will have liquid in it. To leave an area clean at the top of the glass you can use masking tape while you spray. The other option is using a 50/50 mix of water and glycerin. This will create a droplet effect.
- Fix distortion. Try to avoid lens distortion in the glassware by using a longer focal length lens for example 90 or 100mm. You can fix it in post of course, but it’s always better to get it right in camera if you can. If the glass still looks like it’s leaning then you can use a tiny piece of foam or blue tack to prop the glass up so that it looks upright in camera.
- Be prepared to re-make your drink. Amie says to have plenty of ingredients on hand to be able to make multiple versions of the same drink. The drinks and garnish will start to wilt fairly rapidly and so to get that fresh feel it’s vital to use fresh ingredients. She says this is especially true when photographing iced drinks and cocktails as you can experiment with the details and garnish, and anyhow you can always drink them afterwards so they won’t be wasted! The photographer may be however after consuming several cocktails after the shoot!
Sounds like a great excuse to me to celebrate one final gasp of summer with some drinks photography. If you need me, I’ll be in my studio making sure I don’t waste all those ingredients ;)