5 Tips In 5 Minutes | Hop House Beer Packshot Photography Tutorial
I’m so excited to share this week’s video with you all. It’s the first time I’ve been able to get into the studio and show you some actual photography! Up until now it’s all been Photoshop but going forward I want to do more and more in the studio.
The video itself is the first in a series I’m calling “5 in 5”; the series is all about giving valuable tips quickly. This video is about packshot photography of beer. It’s a subject which I know a lot of photographer’s struggle with, photographing bottles, but once you know the key factors it’s actually pretty easy and can be a lot of fun. The five tips I’ll be covering are; preparing your bottle, camera and subject position, back light, avoiding blown out edges, and cross polarization. That last one is really cool!
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Packshot Photography Guidance
I am a perfectionist. Not as in the pathetic job interview answer to “what is your biggest weak point” but as in an actual perfectionist where it becomes a bit of a problem. To put it mildly, I have a tendency to spend way too long on things. Packshot photography, just like all kinds, comes in all shapes and sizes. Some clients may want the ultimate in quality and have the budget for it. In which case, you may be spending quite some time on each image. In most cases, however, this will not be the case. An ideal scenario for packshot photography is being able to strike a balance between image quality and speed.
The thing I love most about this beer photography lighting set up is it allows you to do just that. When set up correctly, you can create some beautiful images and strike that perfect balance between quality and speed. Communication is so important when talking with your client about their expectations and the final images. Make sure you’re all on the same page and know exactly what level of packshot photography you’ll be creating.
Cross Polarization Is A Crazy Technique For Beer Photography
The last tip in the video was on cross polarization and bears a little more explanation. Firstly, you will need either a circular or linear polarizer on your lens, and a linear polarizing gel on your light. For the light, the gel must be the last thing which your light passes through; you cannot put anything else in front of it or it ruins the effect. Other than this, the effect, just like when using a polarizer, is heavily dependent on angles. Best thing I can advise is to experiment.
If you’re wondering what polarizer to get for your lens, Lenstip.com did a great comparison of brands a few years back, find it here. I purchased the Marumi one on their list which you can find here. The gel is a little harder to find. So hard in fact, that I can’t find where I originally purchased mine! Thankfully, B&H in the US seem to stock a few versions, click here to take a look.
Final Thoughts On Beer Bottle Packshot Photography
I hope this video has shown you that there is nothing to be scared of when photographing bottles. Sure, there will be times when clients ask too much and at those moments you either walk away or explain that you’ll be producing a lower quality image. After all, there are only so many hours in a day. On the other hand, if you have the time to prep your beer bottle and follow every other step outlined here, you should be able to produce some exceptional packshot photography.
My next video will be an in-depth lighting breakdown for this packshot. It’s impossible to explain it all in 5 minutes so I thought a longer video would be pretty useful Make sure you subscribe to my YouTube channel so you don’t miss it, click here.
One last thought to leave you with, lots of my images employ photoshop and photography equally to create the final look. My Baileys image is a prime example. Just think what you could do with the starting point we have created here. Yes, this was about creating simple packshot photography of beer but that doesn’t mean you couldn’t take this much further and produce an advertising quality image.