Beer, Ice, and Light

I’ve had this little idea in my head for a little while and wanted to play around with it a bit. Great photographers always tell up and coming photographers to shoot what they love. I couldn’t agree more.

Okay, jokes aside – this was about experimenting and playing with light. Light is the medium through which photographers speak, so it’s important to understand it very well. Without light, there is no photography.

For this image, I used three small flashes – an SB800 and (2) SB80DX flashes. I set the SB800 up with my trusty Lastolite 24″ x 24″ Ezybox and fired it at 1/16th power. The light was coming from camera right, creating a nice side light to light the beer bottle. When shooting things that are highly reflective, angle of incidence/angle of reflection really comes into play. The goal is to try not to be able to see your light source in your product, unless it’s flattering. Otherwise, it’s just plain ugly.

My second light was an SB80DX on the floor below the plastic tub firing up into it. The bottom of the tub is frosted, so it already was going to provide some nice diffusion for me. That light gives the bottle it’s glow and makes it more appealing to look at. If not for this light, all you would see is the dark brown bottle and that would be very boring.

My third light was another SB80DX on the floor with a red gel, firing at black seamless paper. Black gives you a richer, more saturated color which is one of the reasons why I used it. Secondly, it won’t reflect light back at the camera or the bottle.

Here’s the setup shot:

As you can see, I put this shot together with stuff that was around the house and I didn’t have to spend any money at all to pull this off – minus the gear.

You may be wondering why I would want to shoot products since I’m a people photographer. The answer is pretty simple really. I like to take pictures. Ideas pop into my head and I want to shoot it to see what I can come up with. I also enjoy the challenge of shooting something different, not to mention that I could learn something while shooting another type of subject that could carry over into my portrait work.

Challenge yourself to come up with something new and fresh to shoot over the next two weeks. Conceptualize the shot, set it up, and execute it. You will be glad you did. Even if you don’t get one good frame, you will have learned at least 4 or 5 things. And that my friends, is what we’re here to do – learn.

Have a great weekend and I will see you back here on Monday! Get out and shoot!


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One thought on “Beer, Ice, and Light

  1. Great article. I love the photo. It looks really great. I haven’t found too many things online about shooting beer. I did my first beer photography shoot a couple weeks ago and it was very challenging. We had to shoot at the brewery and deal with difficult lighting. Not to mention reflections on the glass and moisture….. etc. The end result is quite a bit of time in Photoshop but it’s all good. Thanks for the tips and the post.

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