The Assignment for Southern Grist
I photographed Southern Grist Brewing for Nashville Lifestyles for the April 2018 issue. Southern Grist just opened their new Tap Room in The Nations. The creative brief for this one was to photograph the unique beers from the brewery and to capture some images of the interior of the tap room. For me, I picture Southern Grist as a beer lovers brewery. So the photos had to really tell a great story about how good the beer is.
About Southern Grist Brewing
Southern Grist has one of the best selections of amazing craft beers in town. They currently have 11 beers on tap that they brew in-house. I have tried quite a few of their beers since they opened and the Orange Creamsicle is one of my favorites. All of their beers are unique and creative recipes. The new taproom is located directly next to their brewery. The new brewery has over quadrupled their capacity since opening. This opens Southern Grist up for greater distribution.
I love photographing Beer!
Beer is one of my favorite things to photograph. Beer represents a big challenge in the photography world. It is placed in glasses with unique shapes which present challenges when it comes to reflections. This challenge is what makes photographing beer fun. I also love it when I get to photograph beer on location. Getting to see cool new breweries is awesome. I was lucky enough to meet all three of the owners while I was shooting the beers.
Four Tricks For Getting The Perfect Beer Head
So one of the big secrets to beer photography is getting a really awesome looking head on the beer. There are a few methods that we use to create that head. The first method is to use a real head. If you have a fantastic bartender and an unending supply of beer this is the best bet. You will go through a ton of glasses and a ton of beer though. The second method is to use a product called foam booster. Foam booster will give you a reliable and repeatable foam on your beer. The third method is my personal favorite and it is to use a chopstick to stir the beer, it will give you a consistent head that you can control after you have practiced a few times. The fourth method is to add salt to the beer this is the most unpredictable result and can be a lot of fun.
A behind the scenes video of how I made the beer photographs at Southern Grist Brewing.
Be sure to check out the quick behind the scenes video above!
Beer Photography Lighting Diagram Southern Grist
Why I Choose Studio Strobes
For this article, I chose to use studio strobes. Studio strobes allow me to have more control over my lighting especially when it comes to controlling the reflections on a glass of beer. I used a three light setup for all of the photos and the lights moved around a bit from shot to shot because of the different shapes and sizes of the glasses.
Positioning the Glass
I worked near the edge of the bar so that I could minimize the reflections from the bar on the glass and so that I could get my diffusion panel from my front light closer to the beverage so that I could achieve a longer highlight.
The Lighting Setup
As I mentioned before this is a three light setup. the front light is Paul C Buff DigiBee 800 with a bare head that is aimed through a diffusion panel with the medium weight Savage Translum. This allows me to get a really nice highlight on the left side of the glass. For my top light, I have a Paul C Buff Einstein with a white beauty dish with a 30-degree grid and a polarizing gel mounted. For my backlight, I am using a Paul C Buff Alien Bee 800 aimed though Savage Translum. This lighting setup is quick to configure and gives some fantastic results when shooting beer.
The Tear Sheets
Wrapping up Southern Grist for Nashville Lifestyles
I had a fantastic time photographing Southern Grist Brewing for Nashville Lifestyles. It was awesome getting to be one of the first people to see the new tap room. I'm really excited to go back to Southern Grist and try even more beers with friends and family in the future. Nashville's craft beer scene is growing and that is awesome. Photographing editorials like this makes me excited for the Nashville craft brew scene. Are there any other breweries that I should try in the Nashville area? In the comments let me know what your favorite set up is for photographing beer and why!
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Nick Bumgardner is a commercial beverage photographer based in Nashville, TN.