Early on in my career as a photographer, I recognized one of the consistent photography services for the Napa Valley is professional wine bottle images. Those sleek and sexy bottle shots featured in Wine Spectator magazine, or the smooth images set against a standard white background to integrate with wineries online eCommerce stores.
The workflow and techniques were new to me. I had a rough idea of what was needed and how to execute this style of photography, which is ultimately “product photography”, but there was a lot to learn. So I paid my dues, purchased books, worked with other professionals in the field, studied tutorials, and put the techniques in to practice.
Years later I can happily say my experience is strong enough in the field where I have top of the line wineries calling for my services. I’ve also consulted with wine industry companies on setting up their own wine bottle shot studio in house.
I’ll share a few small tips and show some of my wine bottle images below.
Wine Bottle Photography Pro Tip #1
Stay out of the reflection of the wine bottle! Nothing is as tacky as seeing a warped reflection of the photographer within the reflection of the wine bottle. It takes away from the image and shows an amateur level. To do so, set your camera up on a tri-pod at least 5-7 feet away from the bottle and zoom in to the appropriate focal length.
Wine Bottle Photography Pro Tip #2
Create a nice setting, indoors. I usually set up a backdrop with some sort of rustic or winery related scenery, although the backdrop is usually out of focus and used to help create a depth of field, it’s good to have something aesthetically pleasing, not just a bed-sheet or brick wall. Additionally, I like to use some props that are well placed and spaced around the bottle (see my image of the Dutton Estate bottle below). A little secret here, try to use props that help convey the tasting notes of the wine or what the wine should be paired with. For example, on the dessert wine below, I incorporated some jam and clove to help represent the tasting notes of the wine.
Wine Bottle Photography Pro Tip #3
If you’re aiming for the “floating” wine bottle shot where the bottle is seemingly floating against a white background, you’ll need a product tent or a seamless white backdrop with the appropriate photography scrims around it. One of the keys here is to make sure the bottle is evenly lit with strategically placed lights and scrims to balance. You want to avoid any major “hot spots” of bright light on the bottle, and ultimately aim for the sexy “lines” of light that cascade up and down the neck and shoulder of the wine bottle (again, see examples below).
There is A LOT more that goes in to professional wine bottle photography but these are just a few insights to the behind the scenes magic of those eye-catching images.
Feel free to reach out to me directly regarding any wine bottle photography in the Napa Valley or Sonoma County via email or phone call: [email protected] or (707) 363 – 2489.