A lot of people seem to think that food photography is conducted with smoke and mirrors…
…that there’s a lot of “cheating” going on to make it look more appetising (heard of glue for milk in popular cereals?). That may be the case for some photographers, but in my experience it shouldn’t be necessary. Shoot the right food in the right light and in should sell itself off the plate.
But I do make exceptions. Making a bottle of beer look like it’s the perfect antidote to a hot day can be tricky. You want it to look icy cold, crisp and refreshing. In reality it often looks like an off-brown liquid in an off-brown (or green) bottle. If you’re lucky, you can get nature to go to work for you. Like it did for me last week.
I’m just back from a shoot in St Vincent & The Grenadines where they brew a wonderful beer called Hairoun.
On a hot day (that’ll be all 365 of them) it does just what it should do – slakes the thirst. But how to make it look appealing to someone 4,200 miles away? Easy. Grab a bottle fresh from the fridge, take it outside and let the hot sun create some instant condensation. In a second you get that “drink me now” look.
Trouble is, I seldom get to work outdoors in 33 degrees of heat. So here’s a little tip. Add a couple of drops of glycerine to water in a pump-action spray bottle. Carefully spray the bottle (and glass if you’ve already poured some of the beer) and you’ll get the same condensation look, like it’s straight from the fridge and ready to drink.
And here’s another – always use warm beer. It gives a much better head and produces more bubbles.
In the Caribbean I got to enjoy plenty of those cold Hairouns. Not sure I’ll feel quite so tempted next time I’m shooting “cold” beer on a grey January day in Kent.