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Cocktail Photography 101: How To Use And Style Props To Enhance The Image

cocktail photography props

A lone drink in a glass that is set against a backdrop does very little to convey any notion of allure. This is where props come in as they not only enhance the visual appeal of the cocktail but also tell a compelling story. Everything from choosing the right glassware to garnishes plays a role in creating a visual that looks inviting enough for the viewer to taste the concoction. Let’s look at various styling props that can be used to turn your cocktail photographs into a feast for the eyes.

Choosing the Correct Glassware

Selecting the right glassware for your cocktail is a basic that you shouldn’t skimp on. But first, you need to understand what glasses are used for what drinks, and also the mood you are trying to achieve in your photographs. There are plenty of resources online that will help you understand this. However, if you are just starting out, a safe bet would be to use versatile options like a high ball or rock glass. You should also consider the texture of the glass. For instance, plain glassware is ideal for cocktails that come with a lot of garnishes, and patterned glassware is great for when you want the drink to be the highlight of the picture.

Stirring Up the Story

A great way to set the mood for your photographs is by including various cocktail paraphernalia like shakers and other utensils. When you have a shaker in the backdrop of your shot, it conveys the idea of a freshly made drink. However, shakers can be difficult to shoot, especially if they come in reflective materials. So, choose one that is either glass or has a matte metallic finish.

Whisky Bottles and Beyond

Just like the shaker, you can also incorporate fancy spirit bottles to create sophisticated-looking photographs. The best part is that these bottles come in an array of visually appealing shapes and designs, and are a great way to hint at the cocktail’s persona.

Elevating the Display of Spirits

If you don’t have spirit bottles on hand or if the bottle isn’t visually appealing, use decanters to showcase and store the spirits in your cocktail photographs. Decanters are a great way to add a touch of luxury and refinement, and instantly elevate the shot. 

Adding Action and a Human Touch

A great way to add a dash of action to your cocktail photographs is by using pouring jugs, which simulate the act of serving a drink. It also creates an opportunity to use a human element in the shot. This, along with the fluid motion of the liquid being poured, adds dynamism to the image.

Adding Decorations

Decorations like stirrers, cocktail sticks, straws and umbrellas can instantly elevate the visual appeal of a drink while also adding to the narrative you are aiming to convey. Cocktail sticks are great to add an elegant touch while colourful umbrellas are a nice touch if you are going for a beachy vibe with your photograph.

Working With Ice

Ice can be tricky to work with considering its perishable nature. However, it is an integral component of cocktail photography. Different drinks call for different kinds of ice, like crushed ice for cocktails and large ice cubes for whisky on the rocks. Consider investing in ice cube trays of different shapes and sizes, so that you have ample options to work with. Since ice melts quickly, you can use fake ice cubes while you set up the drink and the lighting. You can then bring in the real ice when you are ready to photograph. 

The Crowning Glory of Your Cocktails

Just like decorations, a cocktail photograph is incomplete without garnish. Olives in a martini glass or citrus slices in a mojito are the ideal finishing touches that not only add a visual interest but also a flavour context to your drinks.