Mar 06, 2013

Amazing Beer Photography With Rob Grimm

A few weeks back we had the opportunity to join food, product, and beverage photographer extraordinaire Rob Grimm for two days of shooting in his St.Louis studio.

With over twenty years of experience and clients such as Bacardi, Microsoft, Budweiser, and Energizer, Rob Grimm is a highly successful commercial photographer and we’re excited to be bring his knowledge and prowess to the phamily. Make sure to view his full portfolio at!

“Rob Grimm Photography is built upon the creative force that is Rob, with over twenty years in the advertising business under his belt. We take great pride in the images we create, believing that the process of crafting exceptional images is rooted in unmatched production, an open and problem-solving mind, as well as a good sense of humor.”

Lighting Schematic

In the realm of commercial Beverage photography, each piece of an image is shot separately and put back together in post production. The labels are lit primarily by the Visatec, which provides a narrow focused beam of Light. The polarized pan head Lights the bottles from above without creating a glaring Highlight. The Broncolor strip Light provides that even streak of light on the left side of the bottles. It’s not shown in the diagram above, but the warm glow that seems to come from within the bottles is provided by a piece of metallic gold Card stock positioned directly behind the bottles.

Tricks of the Trade

It takes more than Lighting Effects to get beer to look this good. A mixture of water and glycerin is applied to the bottles to create those water droplets. The glycerin thickens the water and prevents the droplets from running. The head on the snifter (that’s a fancy word for cup, folks) takes time to get right. When stirred with a wooden chopstick, the carbonation in the beer explodes, giving Rob control over how large the head of foam is. When the beer has no carbonation left, it is sucked out of the glass with a pump and replaced with fresh beer for another try.

Final Image

Look out for an exclusive interview with Rob Grimm as well as a special collaborative Phlearn PRO Tutorial on Beverage photography in the near future!

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  • user image

    Just, Wow! Aaron, did you pick up any tricks on how to keep the glycerin/water mixture from funking up the label? Every time I’ve tried that in the past, it looks great for a while, until the label starts sucking up some of the mixture and get’s all spotty and rippled. Any tips on how he avoided that?

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      Hey David,

      To get that frosted look without the labels being damage you can try coating the entire bottle with a soft wax, like surf wax. Then rub it evenly with your hands. Take a cloth and wipe if off. If you leave a light residue on the bottle it will help give it a chilled look.

      Another technique to giving bottles or glass that frosty look is to apply an even but light coat of dulling spray, or matte finish spray.

      The next step would be to apply the 50/50 of water and glycerin mixture.

      In regards to creating perfect drops and drips you can try a product call aqua gel. You can dip a wooden skewer in it, then either create droplets or you can drag the skewer down the side of the bottle to create a drip. The best part about aqua gel is once it is placed it doesn’t change shape or run.

      If you want to give your product that ” just taken out of a tub of ice look” you could apply some “crystal ice” in strategic areas. This looks like small particles of ices.

      I hope these tips and tricks help with your next product shoot.

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      Gary Winchester

      David. We will be going over all of that in episodes to come. In the extended Pro tutorial we go over dressing a bottle, ice, spritz, slush, and a whole lot more.

    • user image

      Spray with Krylon Crystal Clear. 3 coats. It will protect it from just about anything.

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    Jonathan Partos

    Aaron, very interesting stuff! Do not wait to launch this pro tutorial you! I’d like to see more material like this shooting and editing advertising.

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    claude laramee

    Wonderful that Rob is willing to share his tricks of the trade ! Indeed he is a master craft in photography, thanks to him and to Phlearn ! Cheers 🙂 !

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    Zach Holz

    The polarizer on the light and the lens is such a great idea I’d never thought of! hmm, now to find polarizer for lights…

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    Christer Svedle

    I really must ask this. If you use a polarizer gel on the strobe and also a polarizing filter on the lens. That would cut off the light with at least 4 f-stops together?!?! What aperture do you use shooting this? How many watt seconds do you have on that strobe?

  • user image

    The final picture is great. I like the result alot, but am I the only to find that it looks fake? You can’t see through the beer at all. Don’t get me wrong, I like the result, it is great for advertising but it’s just not realistic …

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      Keith R Allen

      Maybe this beer is a little hazy, like some wheat beers or IPA’s are? Not all beers are bright and clear.

  • user image

    Hi, great pictures…Could you pleae tell us more about the mixture of water and glycerin

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    Gustav F

    A very interesting video, but the constant music in the background makes it a bit difficult to hear what is being said.

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    Any reason for using pan head above the bottles? Isn’t Visatec already lit the labels?