You could say that successful drinks photography sits at the intersection of art and science. There is the initial mixology of creating the ideal looking concoction and then the maintenance of temperatures and textures from fizz to foam - often not compatible with long periods of time on set.
Resourceful photographers and stylists have created clever workarounds to overcome many of the problems that drinks photography presents. While the resulting drinks might not exactly be considered potable the final images certainly look thirst quenching!
If you’d like to discover some of these insider secrets for yourself then read our collection of expert tips from professional photographer and stylist Fanette Rickert. You’ll be amazed at the simple techniques employed to produce stunning drinks images.
My favorite hack is to use glycerin mixed with water (50-50) in a spray bottle to add fake condensation on glasses and bottles at room temperature, the fake condensation can last for hours! My top tip would be to use it on top of fake ice cubes if they stick out of the drink for a more realistic effect, here's an example.
You can completely change the look of your image with this simple hack. Pop your glassware in the fridge / freezer for a chilled look on the exterior. Here's an example showing a chilled glass versus a glass at room temperature. Remember to work quickly before the glass returns to room temperature and make sure your liquid is chilled too, this will help it last longer as you photograph
I love a sugar rim to add a textural element to your glassware. The trick is to use corn syrup for longer hold. If it's a fake drink, you can also use vaseline. You can go crazy with your rim garnishes too! Try using colored sugar, sprinkles, even crumbled candy canes for a Christmas-y drink! Get experimenting!
Photoshoots can be a long process and our drinks can lose their fizz before we have nailed that perfect shot. To prevent your images from falling flat too, revive a beer’s head with a milk frother or add a little pinch of salt to revive bubbles in sparkling drinks.
Sometimes we don't always have the appropriate drink ingredients on hand or we don't want to waste precious alcohol. You can always fake it by using ingredients that are more commonly found in the pantry. Use tea for whiskey, soy sauce for coffee, cranberry juice and water for pink wine, yellow food coloring for white wine, it will be hard to spot the difference! I'll let you decide if this is fake or not.
Glassware is such an important prop in drink photography and selecting interesting glassware will add sophistication to your image. For example, if you want to highlight the creaminess of a coffee, the frothy foam of a beer, or the fizz in champagne, thinner glass is better to use. But if you want to add dramatic shadows to pair in your scene, a glass with interesting patterns can make your image more beautiful.
When shooting at a 45-degree angle, your drink might appear like it's sliding off the table because of the distortion that it creates. To best compensate for this, place coins under your bottles, cups, or glass to fix this issue.
Backlighting drinks is key as it highlights the colour of your liquid contents, often with glowing results! This is a perfect way to add a new dimension and a level of vibrancy to your photo. You can also use white or silver paper behind a bottle for it to pop. Alternatively, you can backlight the bottle directly with a LED light or flashlight.
Thank you to our community member Fanette Rickert from @frenchlyphotography for sharing with us her top tips when shooting drinks. She's become a valuable member of the community and one of our go-to creators when it comes to drinks photography. Visit her website to catch up on her latest blog posts too.
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