Cocktails are showy little numbers that love the camera and provide the perfect photograph opportunity. After all the hard work that goes into crafting and presenting the perfect cocktail, it seems a shame not to record some evidence of your skill before it disappears sip by sip! Here are some tips for taking fabulous photos of your drinks.
Use natural daylight
Unless you have professional experience with photography, shooting in natural daylight will give you the best results. You can always supplement natural light with one artificial light source if you want to enhance the beautiful colours and create a glow. Lighting from behind and slightly to one side of the glass usually works best.
Set the scene
The drink should be centre stage, but you may want to create a scene or tell a story with a few props. Curate the scene carefully and make sure that there is no random clutter lying around; everything should be there to serve a purpose. For example, you might want to include a stirring spoon to lead the eye into the scene, or some garnishes or ice cubes.
Of course, you should take the trouble to add garnishes to the drink itself: cocktails are very visual and not complete without a garnish such as fruit slices, cherries on sticks, mint sprigs, or olives.
If you are photographing multiple drinks, groups of odd numbers tend to work better than even numbers. This is because we tend to look at the whole picture with odd numbers, whereas even numbers divide and distract.
Use complementary colours
Complementary colours are colours that are opposite each other on the colour wheel, such as red and green, and orange and blue. The colour wheel was first created by the physicist Sir Isaac Newton to map the colour spectrum, and is still used today by designers and artists to create high contrast colour combinations that really pop.
You can use a backdrop colour to provide contrast to the hue of your drink, or you could use a garnish, such as a sprig of green herbs in a red cocktail, or a cherry in a green hued drink. Colourful slices of fruit or paper cocktail umbrellas are also great for pops of bright contrasting colours.
Use acrylic ice cubes
Ice cubes make great props and add depth and texture to the image. However, they can melt quickly and make you rush your photographs. If you want a really professional touch, buy some fake acrylic ice cubes.
When using real ice cubes, be sure to use big square ones rather than the small rectangular ones produced by a regular ice cube tray, which are a giveaway sign of an amateur mixologist!
Create a frosted finish
To give the impression that the drink is freshly chilled from the fridge, spray the glass with a mixture of glycerin and water. This will create a realistic and long lasting condensation effect.
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