7 Essential Equipment To Capture The Perfect Cocktail Photograph
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Aside from clicking photos for social media, professional cocktail photography involves a list of factors which have to come together in order to create an impressionable imagery. While props, styling and colours are largely what elevate the image setting, having the right kind of apparatus to achieve the desired effect, is of equal importance. Hence, a basic list of things that double up, not only as great investments but also get you started on your journey of cocktail photography is crucial.


Even though most smartphones are equipped with essential features to create stunning cocktail photographs, their capacities can be limited as far as offering precise control over features like aperture, shutter speed and ISO are concerned. For a food and drink photographer, investing in a mirrorless camera or DSLR allows one to exert greater control over these features, helping achieve a professional look. Use a high-end smartphone to practice and learn all the nuances of cocktail photography before investing in a camera.


If you have to work with a low-light setup or experimenting with long exposures, using a tripod can eliminate chances of blurry images, while also allowing the photographer to set their camera on self-timer mode. This prevents any shake that is a result from pressing the camera’s shutter. Choose a tripod that is adjustable so that the drink can be captured from various angles as well as to set-up a frame where you can decide what the best angle for a photograph would be.

Lighting Equipment

For any photographer, it is a given that good lighting is the foundation of any great photograph. While natural light is ideal for cocktail photography, chances of working with it may not always be ideal. Consider investing in external lighting equipment which offers control over the intensity and direction of light. A portable LED light or a softbox can help create soft, diffused lighting as well as contribute to enhancing the colours and textures of a drink. Experiment with coloured gels to add a different dimension to your shots.


The backdrop one chooses to photograph a cocktail will decide the aesthetic of the final photograph. While it is ideal to scout for a good location to shoot at, consider investing in different textured or coloured canvas and paper backdrops. Incorporate textured or marbled surfaces on which you can place the drink, to add more character to your picture.

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Colour Correction Cards

External light and using a variety of vibrant elements in the frame can create a sense of business, producing colours and casts that can make the image look less appealing. Achieve the right colour profile by opting for colour correction cards so that the right hues of your cocktail are represented. Once can also set the white balance in the camera and shoot colours that are true to life.


Whether you are working with natural or artificial source of light, a reflector helps to manipulate the light source and achieve the desired highlights and shadows in your photographs. Make use of a reflector to soften the shadows and enhance the overall brightness in your images by bouncing the light back onto your subject.


Since cocktail photography is all about capturing the intricate details of a drink, invest in a good lens for your camera. A prime lens with a wide aperture is a great choice to have if you want to create a shallow depth of field. Alternatively, you can also look at using a macro lens to capture extreme close-up shots that highlight details like the condensation on the glass or the texture of the garnishes.