This week is Sacramento Beer Week!! Last week my friends at New Glory Brewery provided me with a sample of their Lemon Meringue Pie Specialty Ale before it was going to be released for Sac Beer Week. When I got the can I looked at it and decided I was going to challenge myself to come up with a creative way to describe this beer in a photo.

The flavor description on the can’s label read, lemons, vanilla, and graham crackers. But, I really wanted to incorporate a lemon meringue pie in the photo somewhere.

Last week I met up with Jason, one of the head brewers at New Glory to collaborate photo ideas. He is as creative with food styling as he is with beer making. He suggested a photo with a piece of frozen lemon meringue pie as a garnish on the side of the cup. I loved that idea and even tried it in the shoot.

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After visualizing his idea, I decided to take it a step further and and take a big slab of pie and throw it into the beer . This is the photo that New Glory decided to use for their special release advertisement.

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During this shoot I learned that photographing beer is tough. With so many awesome breweries popping up all over the area I thought I could offer some tips on how to capture beer at it’s finest.

Tips to Photographing Beer:

  • Karo Syrup diluted a bit with water makes excellent water droplets in can, bottles and glasses. It is thick enough to stay in it’s form on the item. Beware, it does get sticky!
  • The head on beer is essential to have with any beer photo. However, it dissolves very quickly during a shoot and that can be frustrating. I found using warm beer results in better head. I also found that once the head dissolves, throwing salt into the beer creates a reaction, the beer fizzes and the head comes back.
  • Reflections are the worst when it comes to photographing glasses. I used the 18″ Fotodiox Pro Flapjack LED as my main light source and had to move it several times around the glass to move the reflection away from New Glory’s logo. I feel that using an LED is easier than strobes and speedlights when it comes to reflections on glasses and bottles.
  • I used a frozen pie which made it easier to cut and put into place. A thawed pie would have crumbled inside the beer.
  • I shot with the Nikon D810 and the Nikon 105 f/1.4 lens. I wanted to be able to give the brewery enough resolution to print as big as they wanted, and the Nikon 105 gave me light and the bokeh I needed.

This was a super fun shoot for me and I cannot wait to do more. And, yes I did drink the unsalted beer after the shoot 😉

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All Images and text by Becky Cody