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Photographing Bottles

Updated on December 5, 2013
Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0
Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0 | Source

Liquor comes in many flavors and just as many shades as well as aromas. This photographic project is very simple. Like the title states, you will be photographing the many shades that go with liquors.

We are not going to be using the most common ones like beer or wines but rather our focus will be on drinks such as whiskeys, Midori, Amaretto and most liquors that are used to make mixed cocktails so long as they feature a strong and appealing color hue.

The only aspect of the project is that you should use clear containers preferably square in shape or flasks. Although regular bottles will work they tend to be too narrow to get good images. Avoid using containers that clearly show markings or etchings like serial numbers or manufacture's identifying numbers and there should not be any labeling or writing present or at least not too prominently shown. Otherwise you will have to crop the images.

The project is not just getting some liquor bottles and taking their pictures. It involves creativity. Place the individual liquors in the clear bottles ; one type of liquor per bottle, don't mix them, and set them against a uncluttered backdrop such as a black wall, but most colors will do.

Next, using either a lens that allows you to get in close or a zoom that lets you stand a few feet away while focusing close record the images. Try various angles and various perspectives, including photographing at eye level, to give your photographs a different look.

Keep in mind that even thought in essence you are doing product photography you are not showing any markings or any other identifying details. The theme is to capture colors. To do this place a light source close to the containers either on the side of the bottle or you can try back lighting them as this technique enhances the shades and hues that these liquors naturally have.

You will notice oranges reds, blues greens, yellows and many shades in between. If using real liquor that is probably all you need to do.

Liquors are not cheap and the project can run up quite a bill. An alternative is to visit a privately owned liquor store and ask to photograph some samples in exchange for copies of the images which they can use as decorative art work. You can do the project one bottle at a time but this can take forever. Be mindful that liquor producers rely on advertising to sell their wares and their containers are most always plastered with their labels and other identifying details, so this may not be a feasible alternative.

Another alternative is to compare the shades of the original spirits and make your own using a concoction of water with sugar or better yet, with clear Karo syrup. Add food coloring until you get the desired shade. To enhance the color with this alternative you can use a color gel insert that matches the color of the liquor placed in between the light source and the subject.

You can also get a sheet of semi rigid colored cellophane like those used to make folders for school. Cut it to where the top does not go beyond the bottom of the bottle's neck and make sure that it covers the circumference of the bottle. Roll it and introduce it into the bottle. Once you release it it will tend to open. Note that this will work for round bottles only.

Your objective should be to record images that also show some parts of the container. Do not just record images of only the liquid by going so close that you eliminate every other element. You are not doing abstract photography.

Your viewers should be able to tell that they are feasting their eyes upon a bottle of spirits. They do not need to know which drink is being featured in your photographs.

These images can be used as works of art as this is what they mostly resemble and many photography publications can use them to showcase the technique. A good idea is to frame them in wooden picture frames with the border in the same shade as that of the liquor.

Some of the better examples are Midori; bright rich green color and the bottle is suitable for photography. Solerno Blood Orange, Curacao Blue Liqueur, Chambord, red vodka as well as most fine whiskeys.

Want to see many more photography themes with ideas and suggestions for projects?

CC BY-SA 3.0)
CC BY-SA 3.0) | Source

© 2012 Luis E Gonzalez


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