Cocktail photography is a beautiful and exciting genre of photography that showcases the creativity and elegance of mixology. In this post, I will share how I shot a refreshing Summer cocktail.
*This post is sponsored. All opinions are my own.*
Summer is here, and what better way to celebrate than with a refreshing summer cocktail? As a photographer and stylist, I love creating beautiful images that capture the feel of the season.
In this blog post, I’ll take you through my process of styling a summer cocktail photoshoot, from choosing the right style and props to editing the final image.
Step 1: Deciding on a Style & Mood
Choosing the style and mood for a photoshoot is one of the most important steps. It sets the tone for the entire shoot and guides all the decisions you make. For this summer cocktail shoot, I wanted to create a relaxed and inviting Mediterranean vibe. I envisioned a scene that would transport viewers to a hot, sunny location right next to the sea.
To achieve this mood, I started by creating a mood board. I gathered a few images of Mediterranean architecture, greenery, textiles and food (I intentionally did not want to look at drinks!).
This allowed me to see how different elements worked together and helped refine my vision for the shoot. Once I had a clear style in mind, I could start working on the details.
Step 2: Choosing the Right Props
Props are essential to creating a compelling image. They help to convey the mood and style of the shoot and provide visual interest for the viewer.
I knew I needed something that would match my moodboard. So I brought in wooden and stone boards and beige textured textiles. I even found an old tree root hanging out in the garden. By choosing props that fit the style I wanted to recreate, I was able to create a cohesive image that tells a story.
Step 3: Choosing the Right Backdrop
The backdrop is an important element in any photoshoot, as it provides the foundation for the image.
I love these backdrops because I don’t have to worry about how to keep the standing backdrop stay in place. They come with handy Duo Legs that hold the vertical backdrop still, even if your scene is nowhere near a wall.
Plus, they can be easily cleaned and wiped down. I have not yet encountered any staining on these.
Since I was going for a fresh summer mood, I needed to create a clean and minimalistic feel using simple yet textured backdrops. This allowed the focus to remain on the cocktail and props while still providing something interesting to look at.
Step 4: Creating Summer Light
Lighting is one of the most important aspects of photography. I generally really love using hard light for my Summer cocktail photography.
And since here I wanted to create a bright, sunny feel, too, I used a flash with only a small beauty dish and no diffuser to create deep shadows and contrast. I also used a white foam board on the other side to reflect light and fill in those shadows quite a bit.
And since summer is all about lush greenery, I used some tree branches with leaves and placed it in front of the light to get them to cast a shadow on my scene. This makes it feel like you’re outdoors.
Creating this specific lighting helped to create a natural, summery feel and added depth and dimension to the image.
Step 5: Taking Some Test Shot
Taking test shots is an important part of any photoshoot. It allows you to see how the lighting, composition and even the props and backdrops are working together and make any adjustments before you start building your scene.
For this summer cocktail shoot, I took a few test shots to ensure that:
- the lighting was creating the mood I wanted
- the props work with the light and the feel
- the composition is well-balanced and dynamic
Step 6: Finishing the Styling and Taking the Final Photo
Once I had the lighting and composition set up, it was time to finish styling the cocktail. This included adding the final touches to the props, adjusting the garnish, and making sure everything was in its right place.
The goal was to create an inviting and visually appealing image that captured the essence of a refreshing summer cocktail.
I took my time with this step, carefully adjusting and fine-tuning the details inside the glasses until everything was just right. I added ice to the glass, adjusted the angle of the garnish, and made sure the background was clean and unobstructed, before pouring in the sparkling water. The key was to pay attention to the small details that could make a big difference in the final image.
I actually took two final photos – one with less filled glasses and one going all-in! I like both of them, but I’ll let you decide which one you prefer.
*Note: These are the photos after editing. To see the difference between the raw photo and the edited one, keep reading.
Step 7: Editing – Making Sure the Editing Complements the Story
Editing is the final (AND CRUCIAL!) step in creating a great image. It allows you to refine the mood and style of the shot and ensure that it tells the story you want it to. For this summer cocktail shoot, I wanted to enhance the natural summer feel of the image but have it look refreshing, so I kept the edit relatively neutral and not overly warm. I used my Summer Sun preset and tweaked it a tiny bit to perfectly match the look I was going for.
What is more I made sure that the shadows are not too dark to distract from the drinks.
And I made sure that the white Terrazzo V-flat backdrop is not overexposed and shows its lovely texture.
Summer cocktail photography involves careful planning and attention to detail. By choosing the right style and props, creating the perfect lighting, and editing to enhance the mood, you can create an image that perfectly captures the true feel of the season.