Tips To Overcome Common Challenges Of Photographing Drinks
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Capturing a moment where you want to show-off a well-made cocktail is something that has now become synonymous as a way of being driven by social media. Enjoying a drink by yourself or with friends is enhanced by the documentation of the memory, but it always doesn’t have to be a badly taken or blurry photograph. Even in a professional set-up, chances of one facing unforeseen challenges can be many, and hence using a few key guidelines are purposeful in tackling the challenges of taking the perfect photo of your crisp drink.


Getting the lighting right is perhaps the biggest challenge in cocktail photography since overly bright environments or shadows can take away from the real colours or textures of your drink and making your picture appear lacklustre. Counter this issue by working with natural light as much as possible – capture photos next to a window without exposing your frame to direct sunlight. Use soft, diffused light since it will help in highlighting the little details of your drink without overwhelming the overall composition. If it isn’t possible to shoot in natural light, opt for adjustable LED lights to provide controlled illumination.

Glass Reflections

Choosing the right glassware for your drink is crucial while photographing cocktails but one must also take into consideration the reflective characteristics of the material. Look for glassware that is matte or patterned or strategically position your lights to avoid any kind of glare with reflective serving glasses. You could also use a circular polarising filter on your camera’s lens by rotating the filter and reducing reflections on glass surfaces, for the actual colours and textures of the drink to shine through.

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7 Food Photography Tips For Beginners

Melting Ice

Working with ice is always a race against time due to which, it can be quite stressful to work with. Working in an air-conditioned environment and making sure to have all your props ready beforehand is of great help to slow down the process. You could also place your glass in the freezer for a few minutes to chill before assembling the drink and garnishes. Not only will this help in prolonging the lifespan of the ice but also give you the perfect shot of a chilled drink, making it a sensory experience. Working quickly and efficiently by adding ice only towards the end after a shot is set-up can also be of great help. Consider using artificial ice cubes which are as good as real ice and a lot easier to work with.

Difficult Garnishes

Like ice, garnishes are as crucial to cocktail photography, not without their own set of challenges. Take for example a citrus twist or a delicate herb sprig to stay put in a particular position, which can be dealt with by having a pair of tweezers close by to ensure precise placement. Use small dabs of honey or syrup to ensure that the garnishes are adhered to the glass instead of floating away.

Colour Fidelity

Capture the true essence of your drink steering clear of overly saturated backgrounds or props that can distort the colours of your drink. Use colour cards to calibrate your camera’s white balance settings in order to match the time of day and mood you want to convey. Always make sure to shoot in the RAW format as it will give you more flexibility to fine-tune the colours and lighting in the image in post-processing.