Do you want to take better photos with your smart phone? Do you enjoy trying new beers and documenting them with a picture? Do you use the craft beer social app Untappd?That’s a lot of questions to begin a post but if you answered yes to one or all of the three this blog entry may help you.
Today’s post is about three easy steps you can take to get better beer photos. I’ll also link a powerful free app I use to do some edits on my photos after I shoot them. Before the tips, just a couple pointers. Whether I’m posting to Instagram, Untappd, Facebook or Twitter I use the photo app on my phone to capture the picture I want. I also usually set the format to square since that’s the default display used on Instagram and Untappd.
Let’s get to it. Tip number one is about light, the basic element of photography. Not just light but the right kind of light can be the difference between a flat lifeless picture and a photo that tells a story. Take a look at this beer photo I snapped using my iPhone flash. It’s everything that’s wrong about beer photos.
Tip number one is kill the flash and seek out natural light whenever possible. The flash does nothing to improve the photo. It doesn’t highlight the beer or provide any valuable accents at all. Seek out filtered natural light wherever possible. Position your subject (beer) so that the light falls across it on an angle. This will add depth and highlight your subject. Take a look at these photos. Same phone but better composition and NO FLASH. Speaking of composition that’s tip number two.
Take a moment to compose your photo in your mind. Remember tip number one as you create the photo in your mind and once you find the lighting you want consider the background. Avoid clutter and anything that doesn’t add to the story. Look at this picture from Ethereal Brewing in Lexington, KY. It gets a check mark on the filtered natural light. In fact I’d say it’s not a bad photo EXCEPT, what’s that spotted thing in the background?
The bartender popped into the frame just as I was shooting my picture creating an unwanted distraction from my tasty craft beers. Not to be too picky but the background is also kind of busy and doesn’t help the picture. There’s a great free app that can fix the background and I’ll tell you about it after the third and final tip.
This final tip is probably the easiest and takes into consideration the previous two tips. After you have selected the lighting and composed your photo in your head the way you’d like then use tip number three to get good spatial arrangement. That’s as easy as shooting pictures using the rule of thirds. Divide your photo into verticals and horizontal thirds then use that grid to position your subject slightly off center. The off center position is more pleasing to the eye. It also avoids making your subject appear it’s been put in a box which creates a boring story.
Hope these three tips make your Instagram and Untappd beer pics better. Just remember angled natural light, compose your photo in your mind and take into account the background and shoot the picture using the rule of thirds.
Check out this powerful free photo editing app Snapseed by following this link. After a slight learning curve you’ll be adding fun effects like text, blurs, vignettes and lots more. Here’s hoping your photography is as fun as your beer drinking. Follow me on Untappd user RobbLee and on Twitter @robblee.