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Capturing a cocktail

By December 12, 2017 Photography No Comments

Who doesn’t like a cocktail from time to time? They’re always so appealing to look at with their bright colours and exotic glasses.


When it comes to photographing cocktails, you might want to think about showing the drink in the context of the surroundings. It’s all part of the experience, after all. Whether at the beach, by the pool, or at a nice bar, people want to see it!

This particular drink was served at the Seven Stars in Brighton, an attractively decorated pub with a gorgeous copper bar top. Shooting drinks at the bar is a popular technique as it gives the impression that they could be for you, along with the promise of an enjoyable time ahead. It’s abit more inclusive than shooting at a table where you may feel you’re intruding on someone else’s party.

Here, the curved section of the bar creates a line that naturally leads your eye to the subject and also divides the frame in an appealing manner. Meanwhile, for a nice background, the photographer shot toward some lights in the distance that could be turned into attractive out-of-focus blobs by opening up the lens aperture. Doing so also better isolated the subject and let it stand out.

These are fairly standard compositional techniques, but the copper bar also presented an opportunity for a reflection. The trick with reflections is to adjust your position back and forth and, importantly, up and down until you get the desired effect. It was particularly tricky here so as to capture the full glass in the reflection for symmetry, but without angling the camera too far down which would mean losing the desired background composition. In the end it was shot from quite a low angle, almost square-on to the glass and a viewfinder gridline in-camera helped to ensure the stem and its reflection were vertical.

This was shot with an Olympus OM-D EM-1 fitted with the Panasonic/Leica 25mm ƒ/1.4 for a natural 50mm eld of view. This lens is great for blurring backgrounds when you select a small ƒ/number, and here it was wide open at ƒ/1.4. The photographer was in Aperture Priority to select the desired ƒ/number, but left the camera to work out the rest as it does a good job with metering.


Blurring the background is a popular photographic technique to help the main subject stand out. This technique employs a shallow depth of field and the potential for it becomes greater on lenses with large apertures (indicated by small ƒ/numbers) and at longer focal lengths or closer distances. If you’re shooting with non-telephoto lenses, you really need a lens with an ƒ/number of 2.8 or smaller to achieve much blurring.

EXIF data

  • Olympus OM-D EM-1
  • Panasonic/Leica 25mm ƒ/1.4
  • 25mm (50mm equivalent)
  • ƒ/1.4
  • 1/80 second
  • 0 EV
  • ISO 200
  • Natural white balance

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