Five Tips for Better Beverage Photos from Steve Giralt

Tutorial

You may know Steve Giralt from his outstanding effects work with his production company The Garage or his in-progress education Kickstarter, but in this 9-minute video, he shows you five tips that promise to make your beverage photos better.

Giralt calls himself a visual engineer, which is a person who uses a mix of styling and camera control to make stellar finished images. His five tips are simple, easy to understand, and will make notable impacts on your images:

Pay Attention to the Background – Giralt says that especially with beverages, your background is important. Because liquids are translucent, whatever background color you pick has a direct effect on how your liquid will look. “Keep in mind what your background is doing, what kind of light gradation is happening on your background, because it is very heavily affecting how your drink looks.”

Apply Diffusion – If you want your drink to stand out better and separate from the background, you need to create that separation. You can do this with diffusion, and you can apply it in one of two ways. One, you can cut diffusion paper to fit into the back of the glass so you can diffuse the back of your drink. The second way involves using dulling spray to diffuse the glass exactly where you want that done.

Use Good Ice – Real ice has its problems, like looking murky, fogging up your glass, or having inconsistent shapes. Also, it melts. Giralt suggests using fake ice made out of acrylic. They’re hand-carved, polished, and even though they can cost as much as $30 or $60 each they have significant advantages over real ice.

Utilize Reflections – Use mirrors or reflective cards to add interesting reflections to images. If you, for example, place a reflective card behind a drink, you can add a level of interior brightness to the liquid that adds depth and dynamism. If you want to go a step further, you can use LED light strips to give yourself even more control of how light goes through the liquid.

Add Condensation – Especially if you’re not using real ice, adding condensation to a drink will add to the visual feeling of cold to whoever sees your photo. Giralt uses spray-on water that he finds at a local pharmacy to add a frosted, condensation look. If you want larger droplets, you can add glycerin to water which will create larger, big water blobs.

There are a ton of other techniques he’s shown off in the past, which you can peruse here. For more, follow Giralt on Instagram and The Garage Instagram.

(Via ISO 1200)

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