Drink Photography and Splash Shots | Daniela Lambova | Skillshare

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Drink Photography and Splash Shots

teacher avatar Daniela Lambova, Food Blogger & Photographer

Watch this class and thousands more

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

8 Lessons (31m)
    • 1. Intro

    • 2. Basic Tips

    • 3. Editing

    • 4. Stop Motion Video

    • 5. Scene setup

    • 6. Splashes 1

    • 7. Splashes 2

    • 8. Project and Final words

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About This Class

This class will teach you how to create beautiful images of drinks and impressive splash shots. You will also learn the easiest way to convert those series of images into stop motion video.

What you will learn:

  • The most important tips for successful images of different types of drinks
  • How to create splash shots: camera settings, setup, lighting and execution
  • How to edit your series of shots in Lightroom 
  • The easiest way to make a stop motion video from your images

This course is made for beginners or intermediate photographers who want to learn more about drink photography. It is also great for those who are eager to dive into action shots.

After this class you will be ready to create your own splash shots and be more confident when it comes to drink photography. 

Meet Your Teacher

Teacher Profile Image

Daniela Lambova

Food Blogger & Photographer


I'm Daniela, a Food Blogger, Food Photographer and Cookbook Author based in Sofia, Bulgaria. I love everything about food, especially desserts. In my blog Dani's Cookings you will find all kinds of sweets, including sugar-free, low carb and vegan. 

I've been baking since I was a child and I enjoy helping other people become confident in the kitchen. My philosophy is that everyone should be able to eat good homemade desserts, made with love and without guilt.

In 2019 I published my first cookbook about healthy desserts (it is only in Bulgarian for now but I am planning to release it in English soon!)


My second big passion is the Food Photography. Since I started my first blog in 2012, I have gone... See full profile

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1. Intro: Drink photography might be very challenging, especially when it comes to splash shots. These are the shots where a camera captures a specific moment in motion where you see water or drink splashing all around. These images are really impressive, but they need a little bit of skills in order to accomplish them. In this course, I'm going to teach you how to make splash shots. Not only, I will also teach you how to create impressive drink photography. No matter what kind of drink you want to showcase. Either coffee, cappuccino, or wine, or maybe a beautiful cocktail. Drink photography might not be the easiest to master. But if you follow specific rules, you're going to learn how to do it. My name is Daniela. I'm a food blogger and a commercial photographer. And I created this course in order to teach beginners in photography how to create impressive drink shots and beautiful splashes. In this course, I will show you how I make my drink photography with splashes. And I will give you also a bunch of advices how exactly to shoot your drinks in order to make them beautiful and magazine worthy Last but not least, I will teach you how to create a stop-motion video. with splashes, the easy way. In order to make splash shots, you will need a camera or a smartphone. But a tripod is a must. I will show you how I create splash shots with my DSLR camera. However, you might be able to recreate the same images with your smartphone. So let's dive into the course and let's start shooting drinks. 2. Basic Tips : I will start the course with some basic tips about drink photography, which will help you understand how to position your drinks and how to style them, and how to make images of drinks more pleasing for your viewers. The first tip is regarding the lighting. Backlight is the best for most drinks. Well, for most drinks in transparent glasses. This is because backlight is creating some highlights which are much, much nicer than when you have sidelight. And here I'm going to remind you, if you haven't watched my phot photography for beginners course that in food photography we should prefer backlight or sidelight, but not front of light and not light from the top. So you can see these two photos. The one on the left is shot with sidelight and the one on the right is shot with backlight. The two photos are shot exactly the same time, one after another. Exactly the same lighting conditions, otherwise same settings. And we see that the photo on the right is much nicer because we see the highlight down the bottom of the glass is very nice. It's kinda glowing. And we don't have this wonderful glow in the other image. I would say that left image is not bad either. And also one of the reasons is the shape of the glass and the interesting texture of the glass. We're going to talk about this a little bit later as well. But the right photo in my view, and I'm sure you agree is much better. Of course not every single drink image will be benefited so much from backlight. For example, if you shoot coffee or let's say frappucino. Because in this situation we don't have transparent glasses to create this wonderful glow. So we're talking here many about drinks in glass. Another tip is about the diffusion. So here you see the image on the left. It has not very pleasing glare on the right side, actually on both sides it has glare. Glare is a result of my window. You have a very big window which is lighting the glass from the right, and this window is reflecting in the glass. So on the right side you see that the reflection is slightly different than slightly more pleasing because it's software, we don't see the same hard and sharp layer. So the reason why right, glass looks better is the double diffusion that are used. In fact, a large reflector place in front of your light source, like in my case, this is the window is going to clear part of the glare. If it doesn't work, then you can place another reflector on the other side. And on the next slide you can see my setup in this case, even though without the reflector on the left, the situation was already quite improved. But to go back to the two photos, even though the left photo has this unpleasant glare, it has also some glow, which is very nice in my opinion. You can see left bottom it has some law reflected on the background. We don't have the same glow on the right because the light is heavily reflected, which means that all the shadows are softer. Basically, we almost don't see any shadow in this case. So we need to consider very well the situation and what you want to accomplish before diffusing so much. Your light. On the other hand, this particular glass shape is not really the easiest to short. It creates a lot of glare by itself. We don't have the same situation with the previous glass that I showed you. So the glass shape is also important for how you're going to photograph your drink. If you are a beginner, I would advise you to choose wildly your glasses and to go with glasses. They don't create so much glare. We're going to see now how this glass is behaving with backlight. Again, it's a little bit tricky the situation with this shape of glass. So I have experimented with different shooting angles because one angle basically creates a reflection on the top of the glass and it's a big reflection and it looks like empty place, which is not field, while a different angle shows the glass in a much better position. So. Experimenting with our shooting angles is very important in order to reach good results when we have a glass that is difficult to manage like this one. Of course, you can always experiment with different angles even if you have the easiest third glass, you can try to shoot from below, from above 45 degrees and see which image you like the most. Here is another example of the same glass. It is a straight on shooting. And it looks, I think, nicer. Then the previous example, because it reveals more from the drink and lights and shadows are one next to another. The next tip is about styling. There are many different kinds of drinks and each one requires different styling. The general rule is not to fill up the glass until the top, but in my opinion does depends really on the drink. We can see on the left, this is all data. It is not filled up to the top. It's garnished. And it looks nice. Same way we could present the glass of milk with a straw. And it will look nice. However, when it comes to alcohol, we need to consider that the glass shouldnt be really filled up. We need to fill the glass at the bottom. On the other hand, if we shoot cappuccinos lattes, pumpkin spice latte. In this case, we can fill up the glass until the top and put some form. We can put up some garnishes which will go above and beyond the cup or the glass. So it's important to consider really drink. And on the next slide, you see three more images. I haven't shot these images, but just for you to have more examples on the left side. So this is a cocktail and is filled up to the top because also the glass allows this and it looks really nice. The second cocktail is not filled up to the top, but this is better solution in this situation. And also considering the glass, considering the whole setup entwined, very important. We shouldn't fill up the glass, especially with red wine. It should be more or less where the glasses wider. When it comes to white wine, it can be slightly above this line where the glass is wider. And when it comes to sparkling wine, the glasses are a different shape and then you can fill up a more, but not, not to the top of course. So my advice is before styling your drink to consider the drink, if you don't have any experience with drinking and watching this type of drinks, search online and see how exactly is styled this type of drink and how much is filled the glass. And it'll give you a lot of ideas and inspiration. Another piece of advice that I would like to give you is to buy artificial acrylic ice. The one that I bought is quite cheap. It works really well. I'm so happy using it. Here. On the first photo, you see probably my first image of drink. This is raspberry lemonade With realize, with lot of glare is I can see now and does not scale very well. The image is cropped obviously, but definitely not the best rig shot. And you see how the real ice is floating inside, but also it melts in a strange way inside these white, the outside they're transparent. And while melting it creates some shapes inside the drink, which are not very pleasant. Most of the times, working with artificial eyes, his quiet, easy. It doesn't melt. So you can have all the time in the world to style your drink, to shoot it. The only problem is that artificial life tends to stay on the bottom of the drink. It doesn't float on top like the realized, and that shows that it's not real. We can of course, resolve this problem by adding enough artificial eyes. So our whole drink is full of ice. That is easy for whiskey. Vodka. Not always easy for other drinks unless you really want to show a drink full of ice, because this is the only way it would work. You cannot just present one glass of lemonade with two ice cubes inside if you are using artificial eyes. So you need to be careful when styling your drink if you use artificial eyes. But overall, it's a great tool to use. Great prop. And most people will not notice because they're used to see so many drinks with artificial lights. Most of the professional photographers use it all the time. Actually, another issue of using artificial eyes is that the real one creates condensation outside of the glass. But if you really want to show the condensation, you can spread a solution of water and glycerin. So 50 percent water and 50 percent glycerin, you mix it and then you put it in our spray bottle and you spray that way it will look exactly the same as very cold drink that has water contains outside of the glass. And when you start your drink, always consider how you're going to garnish it. Because drinks rarely look flattering without any garnishing site. You can compare these two photos. The one on the left is kind of not really interesting. While the one on the right has something to catch the eye, you can use different garnishes. You can put the paper straw in a glass of milk. You can sprinkle cinnamon on Frappuccino or cappuccino or core powder for cocktails, Of course, it's easier because you can have many things from fraud to her head while you're styling your drink, be careful not to leave fingerprints on top, like I did with this image. And I did not only live fingerprint, I also left a mark from my lips while I was drinking from this drink, which I'll let you know what it is at the end of the video. Of course, I removed it in post-processing. But why lose all this time to clean something in post-processing? If you can be careful where you're styling your drink, you can use cotton gloves or simply be careful, hold the glasses just on the bottom and make sure you wipe the glasses from time to time to avoid these Nazi fingerprints. One thing that makes drinks look interesting and more beautiful is the hard light. If you have the opportunity to experiment with hard light and drinks, you will see miracles literally. So in this case, I've just pour two drinks and place them on top of my texturize background. And it looks already quite interesting when it comes to hard light. Consider that the shadows of the drinks will be separate objects in the image, like probes. So you need to find space for them. And of course they can overlap in some cases, but you need to consider them in your composition as well. And lastly, I will finish with this advice. When you should drinks, use fake alcohol. Basically, you don't need to use real alcohol and the waste it because in most cases it will be wasted. Did glass on the left is field, not with sparkling wine, but we can Boucher, which is similar to laminate. The drink in the middle is not Haram. It is tea, herbal tea, actually, Rosa Nina, if you have heard this, and the drink on the right is black tea, but dissolved with water in order to create this color that is similar to whiskey. So there are ways and ways to imitate drinks. In fact, you can make up every alcoholic drink. And it is recommended to use something that is not the real thing. 3. Editing: So now eyelid the image. One of the series, it actually one of the first shots which I took. I'm starting with the highlights, increasing them. As you can see, the row image is quite dark. I'll increase also the shadows. I'll increase the blacks, and I will decrease the white. This way I want to accomplish contrast. And now I'll increase also the clarity. This is one of my favorite settings and the vibrance. Let's go to the curves. And here I will increase again the highlights a little bit. And I will decrease the shadows so you see more contrast, more dark, and more highlights this way. But we need to increase the exposure as well because otherwise the image will be too dark. So here is the exposure. And actually, I think in this case I would better decrease the shadows because they are too harsh and we don't want a moody image. I need to adjust also the white balance because the image is to yellowish. So I'm making the temperature a little bit colder. It zoomed image to see if she has noise. It has just a little bit of noise, but I would like to clear it. The ISO was not that high in this case, but still it's good to remove any noise that could be there. So we're going all the way down to the noise reduction. And we want to move all the sliders up and this will help to decrease the noise. The ISO is 640, but in fact, anything that is above 200 already creates some noise, even minimum. I also want to add some vignetting for extra atmosphere. And of course we need to crop and straighten the image because you see the edge of the table. I hope I straightened it. Well, this is always tricky. I moved just a little bit the black slider down. And now I would like to add some more highlights and to decrease the shadows a little bit with an adjustment brush. This one helps to lighten more our hero, which is the first glass with splashes. And as I'm happy with the settings, I will copy them. I also copied a local adjustment, the basic adjustments and crop adjustments, because the next shots are in exactly the same Position. Going to the library, I'm going to select the next shot, the ones without the green, obviously because these were a little bit different. And by right-clicking on one of the selected images, I will go to develop settings and paste settings. This is pasting the settings simultaneously to all images. And now from here, we can export them altogether. And of course, create a video with them, potentially. 4. Stop Motion Video: I'm going to create a stop-motion video using the application. In short, it's the easiest way I know to create a stop motion. So first we need to select the photos and we select them in chronological order from the first to the last. Now we're opening the project in. We need to address the canvas. For the purpose, I'm going to choose two-by-three Canvas, but actually you can choose any if you want, Tiktok or real. So you can choose nine to 16. And I'm going to press the left button with the two check marks, which makes this canvas to be applied to all the images. Another second bar, choose the duration. I'm going to try with three seconds forests, but image. And now as I start, the video, looks like two seconds is way too long. So I'm going to adjust the duration two to 1.5 seconds. Okay, this seems also a little bit long. So let's try again. Select now zero-point eight seconds per shot, which seems to be even better. Okay, I like it. So I'm going to export the video to my camera roll. And basically that's it. 5. Scene setup: Splash shots are actually shots. You would need high shutter speed in order to capture specific moments in motion. Therefore, you might also need to increase your ISO quite a lot in order to be able to light while the photo, unless you have strong artificial lighting, there are no standard settings for shots. It depends what camera you have, what lenses you're using. And of course it depends on the lighting of your environment. Therefore, I advise you to experiment with different settings and see what would be the right one. I will show you how I created my images using Canon 6D, 100 millimeter macro lenses and nature of light. Beware that for splash shots tripod is absolutely mandatory. Now I'm going to start with the shootings. I will show you how exactly I will create the flash shot. As you can see, I have already three glasses on top of background. This looks like whiskey inside the glasses, but in fact TT t dissolved little bit with water in order to resemble whisky. Here we have backlight. But if you look on the other side, the color is completely different. There are no, this nice highlights disappear. And definitely for this particular glasses, for this particular drink. And with these particular colors, the backlight is the only way to create a nice photo. So here I'm going to use some artificial life, which I like very much. And you can see afterwards how, how good it works with the flashes. You also see I have put additional diffusion on the window, even though this is the exact time of the day when the sun is not shining directly through the window. So normally the light look diffused also, it's cloudy outside. But they created this diffusion because the windows creates some strange shapes in the highlights. And I'm trying to minimize them. In the front glass exactly where you see the action in the bed glasses, it's not that visible, so I believe is not going to be a problem. 6. Splashes 1: So I will change the settings accordingly in order to capture action shots, your shutter speed needs to be fast enough in order to actually capture the specific moments of splashes without them looking blurry. I'm not sure if one to 200 is going to be enough, but we can try and see if needed. It needs to be adjusted. I just don't want to rise the ISO too much in order not to create grain. And also, I don't want to open too much the aperture because I'm worried that not everything would be in-focus. Let's see how it works with the first shots. And if necessary, we will change the settings in order to create exactly the desired result. So there are two ways to capture the splash shots. We want to capture as many shots as possible. And one way is to use the remote control. Unfortunately, my camera doesn't support continuous shot with a remote control. Basically, they need to be, I need to press every time when I want to shop with the remote control while there's some cameras support the moment when you press the button and it shoots continuously, which is the best way. Unfortunately with my camera, we cannot do that. However, it supports continuous shot if I press the button, which is another option because we are not so far away, I'm not going to be too far away from the glass. And I would be able to keep them my hand on the bottom and throw the ice cube at the same time. Let's try this way. So I am holding the button. Unfortunately, we only managed to get two shots this way. So I will try now with remote control. So I want to add more icy site. I would say with a remote control is even less easy. Let's continue by holding the camera button. So you can continue this process as many times as you want in order to reach the desired effect. If we want to make a video afterwards, it is good to have as many frames as possible captured, at least 78 frames in order to create from the beginning to the end. The splash process. 7. Splashes 2: In fact, looks like this shutter speed into not exactly sufficient for the flash shot because some parts of the image during the actual splash and look blurred. So I'm going to increase the shutter speed to 1 to 400, and therefore I'm going to increase the ISO to 100. This is a full-frame camera, so hopefully they will not be too much grain with 1000 and I saw, but I'm sure I'll be able to clear it in post-processing. If I see some grain. I'm not going to touch the aperture because I think it's more or less what I want. So now let's try with the new settings. I added a green plant in front of the fourth glove because I feel that the green is a great addition to our orange and magenta scene. So now I'm going to again use the same technique of holding the shutter button, and I will troll the ice cube inside the glass. It wasn't exactly the right one. Let me try again. In one of the shots, we also have the ice cube falling inside the glass, which is potentially a great addition to our video. And let's do it just one more time. I like the fact that water is rushing around. It makes the highlights even nicer. Okay, I think we definitely have some nice shots and we can now go to the editing process. 8. Project and Final words: The project for this class is simple. Take several splash shots and post them in the project section. If you feel extra creative, you can also create through continuous shooting several splash shots one after another, and make a stop-motion video in the application in short. Same way as I did it. I hope this course helped you a lot in your drink photography. And I'll be really happy to see the splash shots that you be making after watching it. Thank you very much for watching. I really hope that it was helpful. If you have any question, if you are uncertain about certain settings or setup, please let me know. You can write the question in the discussion section. I would be very happy if you review the class because this will help me understand if I have something to improve and it will also help the trunk in the platform. Thank you once again for watching the class. I really can't wait to see your creations.