Using speedlights to photograph food and drink

For you Brummies who love a wee dram, The Birmingham Whisky Club in Jewellery Quarter is right up your alley! With the widest range of Whiskies per measure available for miles, and a variety of levels of membership, I am proud to have been their photographer from the beginning

Since they opened a year ago I have photographed their interiors, monthly sponsors, summer cocktails and seasonal deals.

Manager Amy Seton is very keen to create a distinctive and loved brand, and to make sure the little details of BWC are captured in each photo. As a result I have stopped lugging my 500-watt Bowens heads, with huge light-shaping tools to each shoot. Instead I have found that using 2 flashguns off-camera with much smaller soft boxes works just fine, and actually allows more space to keep the Whisky Club in shot

Although not enough power to fill a large room, photographing small items like whisky bottles – or plates of food – with this set up allows for greater flexibility. I also means I can travel a few miles on my bike, with all of this strapped to my back (just about)

Set up is only a few minutes and I hardly take up any space, with no hazardous cables across the floor. The bar can operate as normal, whilst I work quietly in the corner

My preferred choice of lens for almost all these shots is my Canon 100mm f2.8L Macro lens, that is pin-sharp and great for the close-up details. As long as I have a decent distance from the products to work with. To make my job easier, I also carry fake ice cubes so that drinks appear cold in photos, without them actually melting

The most important thing is to look like the shots were indeed taken at Birmingham Whisky Club, and not in my studio.

Almost all these shots use both flashes off-camera, with wireless triggers, with first flash at 45° to the left, and the 2nd flash as a kicker. Just a little bit of enhancing afterwards to enhance colours, and make the images pop is all that is required

Below is another example from the ‘summer cocktail’ shoot, with the drinks presented on the bar – whilst still allowing enough space for business to continue as usual.

Kit used in above photos:

Canon 6D Mk1, Canon 100mm f2.8L Macro Lens, Canon 580 MkII Flash, Canon 430 MkII Flash, Calumet wireless triggers, Vanguard tripod, 2 light stands, 2 Hahnel softboxes,

2018-12-20T19:14:19+00:00December 19th, 2018|Commercial, Food/Drink|