product photographer

Tips To Improve Your Beverage Photography: Secrets Of The Craft

This week I wanted to  share a few of the tools we commercial photographers use to create our tabletop images. Particularly the items used in photographing beverages. There's a lot of trial and error when it comes to this sort of photography, often times we find ourselves using things in ways far from their originally intended purpose. Having said that, there's a lot of things that have become kind-of standard practice in food/beverage photography, some of those items I'll share with you today. 

I certainly don't claim to know everything, as most of these techniques come from years of experience working with [food] stylists and even other photographers, a learning curve that never ends. I attribute much of what I've learned about food/beverage photography to my mentor Rob Grimm, one of the masters of this genre. Another source for knowledge on prepping food for the camera is a great book called "Food Styling: The Art of Preparing Food for the Camera" by food stylist Delores Custer, that has many more tips and tricks beyond what I've discussed here. If you want to know more, I'd recommend picking up a copy.

Below I've outlined the items mentioned in this video, most of which is available at drug stores and/or grocery stores.

Tacky Putty
Microfiber Cloth
White Cotton Gloves
Tacky Wax
Orthodontic Wax
Canned Air
Krylon Crystal Clear
Goof Off
3M ScotchBright Pad
Acrylic Ice
Rubber Funnel
Kitchen Bouquet
Ice Powder

I look forward to seeing what the viewers do with these tips, and hope you'll share your images on our Fstoppers community. If you have questions, please don't hesitate to hit me up on social media.

Diamonds are Forever | Jewelry Photography

We wrapped our first catalog shoot for Jewelry Design Center, a new client for our studio and one of the largest jewelers in Spokane. Shooting diamonds and precious stones is always an exercise in patience as even the slightest movement in lighting, camera, or subject position can dramatically change the sparkle or "fire" in the stones.

The settings and bands can also be a challenge because of their highly reflective properties which mirror essentially every angle in the room. Trying to balance the two (stone/settings) and make them both captivating at the same time takes a bit of magic.

Typically, for an advertising shoot, we would shoot for each of those elements separately and composite them in post. On a catalog shoot however, efficiency is key. The budgets are smaller with time frames to match, which means we have to capture the entire piece in a single setup.

With our PhaseOne camera, depth-of-field (depth-of-focus) is very shallow (only a couple millimeters) so we have to shoot 15 images per piece, adjusting the focus slightly with each press of the shutter. We then merge all those captures together in a process called "focus stacking" using special software. This allows us to show the entire piece in focus, a task that would be almost impossible with digital cameras.

Once we've merged the photos, we send them off to a retoucher specializing in jewelry, who cleans up any imperfections.

We look forward to doing more elaborate advertising imagery with JDC in the future, but this project was a great way to get familiar with the client and their preferences. Here's a few of the catalog images we created:

Diamond Jewelry Catalog Photography

Diamond Jewelry Catalog Photography

Tony Roslund Photography
Spokane - 509-995-6316
Seattle - 206-486-5857
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The Professional Advantage

There are times I communicate with potential clients regarding a project that they ultimately elect to either tackle themselves, or hire another photographer who may not have adequate experience in the applicable genre. The decision is usually made with the intention of helping their business by saving money. The problem with that philosophy is that photography is generally not an area where cutting corners actually helps a business. Before consumers buy a product or hire a service provider, they are usually drawn to images of the product or the service provider's work. Poor quality of images can actually work against a business having a reverse effect. In architecture photography for example, while a contractor may be a phenomenal craftsman, if the images they use to display examples of their work contain slanted walls caused by odd camera angles, or distorted counter tops, vanities, and furniture because of "wide-angle" lenses, potential customers may miss the intended message. This is where an experienced professional can be a huge advantage.

In the example below, a client of mine who's a very talented fabricator and artist, shot his own photo of a table he'd completed and used it for an ad in a local publication. Later, he decided that the image simply didn't do the table justice. He hired me to reshoot the table which we both feel better represents the stunning quality of his work.

Which image would capture your interest when thumbing through a magazine or newspaper? Better yet, which table would you be more inclined to buy?

Before (Client Photo)

Before (Client Photo)

After (Photographer Photo)

After (Photographer Photo)

Lighting for Lamps | Spokane Commercial Photographer

The first part of the week was spent photographing some really unique pieces for a local artist I've mentioned a few times on the blog in the past. All the textures, raw materials, and varying finishes makes these pieces fun to shoot. The client wanted solid white background, so my job was to create shape and texture through lighting, really showing the viewer (and potential buyers) what these things were made of.

I used Rosco 3008 diffusion material lit from the right as my main light source, flagging the light from the background.  I added a little kicker from rear left through a smaller piece of 3008 attached to a Matthews blade diffusion frame to help give a rounded shape to these globes. I also used a piece of foam core near the camera to bounce a little light back into the face of the lamps, brining up the shadow values just a tad. Finally, a 20" beauty dish illuminated the back (white) wall giving me the pure white background the client required. I made sure the entire set was far enough away from the wall so I didn't get any light bleed onto my subject (bouncing off the back wall).

Nikon D800, Nikon 50mm f/1.4 @ f/11, ISO 100, 1/200sec

Smart Smoke e-Cigs | Seattle Product Photographer

Spent the morning in the studio creating images for Smart Smoke, while a visiting up & coming photographer got an explanation of my technique.

Product photography for Smart Smoke in the Spokane photo studio.

Product photography for Smart Smoke in the Spokane photo studio.

Tony Roslund Photography
Spokane - 509-995-6316
Seattle - 206-486-5857
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Represented by: Wonderful Machine

I’m proud to announce that I am now represented by Wonderful Machine. Joining the ranks of well known photographers such as Zack Arias, Rob Grimm, and many other talented shooters.


Wonderful Machine provides creatives with the most comprehensive source of high quality photographers doing all kinds of work, all over the world. We’re selective about the photographers we show, we list them only in locations where they actually live, and only in specialties in which they are highly proficient.

Learn more about Wonderful Machine here.