Shooting drinks for fun and profit.

 I recently did a photography assignment for a restaurant in one of our city's major, downtown hotels. We photographed food and we also photographed adult beverages. The images that I turned in to the advertising agency were straightforward food and beverage shots that included the full product but sometimes I like to experiment so I went in tight to photograph this mint julep variation. I love the green garnish that sides to the right and I love the random bubbles and subtle suggestions of ice. I'm sure there are many rules that I've broken but that's beside the point. The point was the exploration of the image after covering what the client needs.

In this instance I was shooting on a table top in a small, private dining room and I aimed a monolight with a grid spot onto a reflector on the floor behind the table. The reflector bounced the light up onto the back wall and gave me a softer but still controlled splash of light behind the glass.  I used a light in the back right corner, modified by a small 16 inch softbox to add a backlight to the glass and a bright highlight on the leaves that stood up.  There is also a large, soft, general light (a beauty dish pushed through a 4x4 foot diffusion screen coming from the left. The large soft light is modified by a black flag to keep it from effecting the look of the background and the saturation of the background colors.

I worked handheld and moved in to the minimum focusing distance of the lens. The 4000 by 6000 pixel file, with very high sharpness, allowed me a lot of freedom in playing around with various crops.

The shot was very conventional but I also pulled the file into SnapSeed and used the "structure" tool and a bit of vignetting to get the effect I wanted. Not as exciting as images of super models in lingerie but a nice exercise in the middle of a job for me.  Most of all I like the colors and the contrasts.

I am very happy with the 85mm Sony lens. It is cheap and very good, optically.

I was using a Sony a77 camera with a Sony 85mm 2.8 lens.


Anonymous said...

Hi Kirk, Your LED book arrived today, just read the intro, then just read here the details for taking the drink shot. Could I achieve exactly the same effect with LED's, and was there a reason why you preferred the conventional lights. Thanks, Roger.

Keith I. said...

Love this shot, Kirk. You are always good at showing why the details matter, like the light off the back wall.

Low Budget Dave said...

Thanks for describing the lighting method. This, to me, is a good example of why it isn't the camera:

Once you figured out the lighting, you could have taken the picture with a phone. A guy like me could be toting around a Phase One, and still get a terrible photo.

Kirk Tuck said...

It should be just as easy, if not easier.