From cold beer shared with friends overnight to a casual date at a local bar – beer is everything. And beer photography is getting more and more popular these days.
For many of us, we would like to share our craft beer journey with other people who love it as much as it does. Taking photos of the beer we drink helps showcase the coolest breweries we visited, interesting food pairings, and fun beer festivals.
We have not added the technical photography section to the tips we have compiled here for you. We are also not talking about professional cameras and their settings. Our tips are such that you can easily apply while taking pictures even with your mobile phone.
Before uploading your next photo, read these tips to get those beer photos you love.
There are hundreds of different lighting and shadow scenarios to explore, from bright sun to clouds filtering, to indoor shots and everything in between. Even the light changes as the earth move around the sun, making any season an opportunity to capture light or shadows in a whole new way. Just know, there are many fun and creative ways to capture the light, don’t be intimidated, look around!
A beer looks better when there is light going through the beer to empathize with the color, but when there is not too much light so that the rest of the photo is underexposed. Also, direct sunlight tends to wash out the photo. Basically, don’t shine a flashlight from inside the beer or point the beer at the light and try to take pictures of the beer in direct sunlight. You can take great photos indoors, but you have to turn on all your lights.
Flashes in most consumer cameras are almost useless. If you can see absolutely nothing in the photo without a flash, you would be better off without it; it’s that simple. Photos of people and things almost always look better without flash, and beer definitely falls into this category. The flashlight reflects off the window and washes the photo. If necessary, improve the ambient lighting or find another place to shoot before turning on the flash.
It is generally considered that it is easier to photograph cans than bottles or glass because you won’t have to deal with annoying reflections too much. Yes, the cans are still generally reflective, but not to the same extent as the bottles.
Make your photos unique by changing the background. Don’t always photograph the beer at the same spot. Play from different angles. Clean up your background. So often people will have a cool shot of a beer but then an electrical outlet in the background, or even worse, dirty dishes.
Most of the taprooms are wooden in the front because it makes the room warm and inviting. However, there is not much contrast. If the back is stainless or open, the cool color of the metal will contrast with the dark beer.
Let Surroundings Inspire You
If you want something more lifestyle-focused, shooting inside a brewery or at a fun holiday destination is what you need to do. If you want clean and simple lines, indoor is probably the best choice. This actually depends on your mood and the design of the beer you are photographing.
The important thing is to make sure the location complements the beer but doesn’t overpower it. Use shallow depths of the field to keep the beer in focus. And make sure there are not too many distractions in the background.
A beer photo does not have to be a close-up image of the bottle or can alone. When your footage includes some of the surroundings, it puts them in time and makes it easier for you to remember when and where you enjoyed that beer. By giving clues about the time and place of the image, you add an emotional factor to the image that your audience can connect more easily than a sterile product shot. Often times the context or interaction around a beer is equally interesting.
Are you in a bar or going for a walk? Is the place crowded or a dim dive? Thinking about these elements can help bring the experience to life.
Learn the story about the brewery and beer to help shape your photos. When you go to a new brewery, don’t just walk in the door and start taking pictures. Find out what triggers a brewery and talk to the people behind the scenes. For a good photo, you must know the story of the beer you will be photographing.
Goose Island’s Lost Palate Hazy IPA, this release is dedicated to Jonny, a long-time Goose Island employee. Jonny, and Brewer Quinn, came up with this recipe after Jonny’s recent victorious battle with cancer. Jonny lost the ability to taste many flavors, an unfortunate consequence of battling cancer. He almost completely lost his palate and mangos and cinnamon were two of the few things he was still able to taste.
There’s more to an image than beer, and any number of exterior elements can help make the shot attractive. Think to light, think backgrounds, think surface texture. All of this is included in the whole shoot.
Don’t be afraid to step outside of your comfort zone and try something different. Try taking pictures with your favorite toys, figures, coasters, or collectibles!
Editing your photos and not relying on the preset Instagram filter will improve your photo tremendously when you have the basics of framing and taking a shot. You can use free photo editing apps or use something more complex like Adobe Photoshop. Even if you love the shot you get, you can improve it by balancing your color levels, adjusting the contrast, and cropping the shot.
Take the time to reflect on the footage and stage it, it makes a big difference.
Find the place with the best light, remove the dirty glasses from the frame and pay attention to the background. This is easy enough for anyone to accomplish, no matter what type of camera or skill level you are working with. Choosing a seat close to the window of the bar and removing the mess from the shot takes almost no effort, but even with a simple snap of the iPhone through the glass, it results in a greatly enhanced photo.
Your shot should have a focus point. If you want to shoot a bottle, shoot the bottle. Don’t give the bottle, and the bottle cap, and the glass… give me one thing that people can focus on.
And try to make this focal point unique as well. If you want to take a photo of the bar you’re in, don’t just take a photo of the bar because this might look like just another bar. Instead, find something unique that tells more stories about where you are and what the aesthetics of the bar are, like the bar logo on the door, or interesting faucet handles, or eye-catching artwork.
Oftentimes, professional photographers find unique ways to look at objects. Taking a scene from an unconventional angle can add a dynamic factor to your photos. Try shooting from extreme points like a bird’s eye view or a worm’s eye view.
Playing with depth of field can create really interesting images. For example, defocusing a primary foreground element can draw attention to background details that would otherwise go unnoticed. If you’re shooting a shot where some subjects are too close to you and others are too far away, try alternately focusing on the foreground and background and see which one gives you a more unique perspective.
Often our natural tendency is to place the focus of a picture directly in the center. This is a kind of face-to-face approach that produces more snapshots than a work of art photo. Next time, try using the rule of thirds for some variation.
Mentally divide your visor into a grid of three columns and three rows. Placing highlight objects at the intersection of these lines can create dynamic images that require more than a quick glance.
People want a photo of a new beer, so they pour it, set up the beer at the right angle with the right backdrop, then the beer is flat. One trick is using chopsticks. Wood chemically reacts to alcohol, so you can put it into a beer and it will build the head back up.
Another trick is adding some salt into the glass and stir. Your glass of beer will have a nice head of foam again
The wet look for our bottles is what gives the sensation of freshness. If we think about advertising or commercial, we’re used to seeing it. How is this effect created in the studio?
Two must-have props are the solution: dulling spray and glycerin.
The Dulling Spray works as a base for the drops and helps to get sexier reflections and colors on our bottle.
Glycerin is what we need to create drops: mix it with water and vaporize it on the bottle. The result is stunning: the water drops will get a beautiful round shape and will not evaporate for a long long time.
If you prefer real condensation in a glass, start first with a clean, dry glass kept at room temperature. When it comes to beer, make sure it is cold and make it extra cold by putting it in the freezer for 15-20 minutes without needing it. Pour the beer into the glass and use a straw to blow hot air around the glass to add more natural condensation.
Dark beers like stouts or black ales are difficult to photograph, as they may look dull in the photos. You can make them look a bit more vibrant by diluting them with water. It will look brighter to our eyes, but it will look much better in photos.