Today I photographed the July Cocktail of the Month for Native Magazine at Kuchina and Keller, but the cocktail is actually from Chopper Tiki, which will be opening soon. I'm super excited for Chopper Tiki to open because Nashville needs a good Tiki bar. Omni Hut in Smyrna is awesome, but its BYOB. Check out this behind the scenes video to see how I created a beautiful cocktail image for an editorial shoot.
Behind the Scenes Time-lapse video at Chopper Tiki
This time-lapse video gives you an idea of what goes into a beverage photoshoot. Check out the behind the scenes video to see my set up for beverage photography in action. For this type of photography, I use all artificial lighting. I favor strobes because I can place each one exactly where I need it. My favorite lights to use for this type of work are the Einsteins from Paul C Buff. My kit currently consists of Alien Bees, Digibees, and an Einstein.
Lets check out a few behind the scenes photos too!
Lets Check out an lighting diagram to see how beverage photography is done.
My beverage photography setup is pretty complex. Let's dive into the 4 light set up that I generally use.
A Digibee 800 with a small Paul C Buff strip was placed camera left right next to the drink. The cocktail is positioned near the edge of the table with the strip box in super tight so that I can get a nice highlight from the top of the glass to the bottom.
I have a Paul C Buff Einstein positioned directly over the cocktail in a beauty dish with a 30-degree grid and polarizing gel placed over the light. The grid helps to ensure that my light is tight and not affecting everything. This light serves essentially as our key light. The polarizing gel helps out when photographing liquids and glass so that I do not get unwanted reflections.
I have a Paul C Buff 64in Soft Silver PLM with diffusion on an Alien Bee 800. This light is overhead and behind the beauty dish and giving light to my background which is a bench.
Finally, I have a Paul C Buff Alien Bee 800 with a standard 7in reflector and a 20-degree grid coming in from the back which acts to cast a shadow and give the drink some separation.
It sounds like a lot, but once you get it set up a few times it is pretty easy.
I also photograph with a polarizing filter on my camera lens as well. This affords me the flexibility to get rid of any other unwanted reflections in the glass.
Check back in a few weeks to see the final shot from this shoot!
The Full Kit
If you want to check out my full beverage photography kit check out my blog post Food Photography Gear. In this article you will see everything that I take with me on a food or beverage photography shoot.
Wrapping it all up!
I hope you all enjoyed this behind the scenes look of what goes into an editorial beverage photoshoot. We talked about my thought process of picking the scene, and how I went about lighting a cocktail.
Nick Bumgardner is a beverage photographer based out of Nashville, TN.