Shooting Cocktail Images On Your Phone? Use These Key Tips
Image Credit: Vecteezy

Just as a photographer would take care of their camera’s lens, having a smartphone with a great camera can be as resourceful if learned to use well. In the area of cocktail photography, investing in equipment only makes sense when you want to grow and evolve in your skill as a photographer. However, practicing by using a phone camera can be one of the introductory ways in which photographing drinks can be done to assess where you stand when it comes to constructing an aesthetic frame.

Clean Lens

Start off by polishing the lens of your phone camera to get rid of any smudges or fingerprints, since it is prone to smudges that significantly impact the clarity of your photos. Use a microfibre cloth to wipe your phone’s lens, so that you can start with a crystal-clear frame to create an imagery. Additionally, the kind of backdrop chosen will determine the ambience and mood of your cocktail. Hence, opting for clean and uncluttered backgrounds that complement the drink and not compete with it allows room for experimentation. Consider incorporating textured surfaces or stylish accessories to add a touch of drama to your shot.


When working with cocktails, use natural light as much as possible since it is one of the easiest sources to work with. Make the best out of natural light by positioning your drink near a window without coming in contact with direct sunlight. Work with soft, diffused light to bring out the colours and textures of your drink without creating unflattering shadows. The best time to photograph with natural light is early in the day or before sunset as this is the time when the light is diffused.

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Camera Angles

When photographing cocktails, it’s all about experimenting with different angles to find the one that best showcases the drink’s unique features. Shooting from the side can emphasise the various layers of the drink and garnishes, while also highlighting the shape of the glassware. A good tip to keep in mind is to choose an angle that is representative of how someone would be viewing the cocktail when they stand in front of it.

Image Composition

The principle of dividing your scene into nine equal segments using two vertical and two horizontal lines can be easily achieved by switching on the grids in your phone camera’s app. Position the cocktail along the intersections of the lines to create a well-balanced image as this helps draw the viewer’s attention to the important elements in the photograph.

Blurred Background

Creating depth in the frame can elevate your photographs, giving your pictures a professional look. Most smartphones today have an in-built feature called portrait mode, where you can control the depth of field in an image, to effectively highlight and isolate your drink from its surroundings. Experiment with varying levels of background blur to find one that best conveys the essence of your cocktail.

Burst Mode

For a fool-proof trick to be more candid with your shots, utilise the feature on your smartphone to capture action when it’s happening. By using your phone’s burst mode, you can photograph the pouring of the drink into the glass. All you have to do is hold down the shutter button of your phone to capture a series of shots without missing out on any of the action.