With summer in full swing here in chilly Scotland, the slightly warmer weather has made me want to a more summer-themed series on my YouTube channel. To finish off the few prop videos I have been doing, and to start a summer drink series I decided to list 10 of my favorite drink photography props.
Just remember these are not essential for all drink photography, most a just a luxury in a prop collection so it’s best to have an idea about exactly what you will want to shoot and maybe pick a few things that suit your own style or drinks best.
This may seem really obvious, but in the world of bartending and cocktails, the correct glassware is very essential. They’re not forgiving either, so it’s best to do your research and know what glasses are used for particular cocktails when you want to photograph them. If you aren’t quite sure what drinks you’re going to want to photograph it’s best to start with some glasses that are a bit more versatile like high ball and rock glasses. There are a number of different cocktails served in these. If you know what you want to be shooting, for example, martinis, you’re going to want to get martini glasses.
Cocktail Shaker (Other Cocktail Making Implements)
A cocktail shaker or other utensils are used in cocktail making. These are a great way to add some story to the image. Like it’s just been freshly made. I have a glass cocktail maker which helps in photography as it’s not reflective like metal ones. You can find matte metallic ones too which are also great for this!
Fancy Spirit Glasses
I am a huge whisky lover, yes one of my favorite things about Scotland. Some of the whiskies I have come in the most interesting bottles and these are great for photography. They can add some interest and hint towards what’s in a drinks. A gin bottle next to a cocktail is going to help the viewer know it’s a gin cocktail. However, doesn’t need to actually need to be the same whisky or gin (unless shooting for a particular brand), I wouldn’t be using any fancy whiskies in cocktails.
Similar to the spirit bottles, this is a fancy way of storing spirits and displaying them in an image. A really elegant way to hold your whisky, or brandy in the back of a drink photoshoot. Especially if the bottle it came in is lacking in some character.
As it’s summer, garden parties are going to be quite popular and a way to add that communal or sharing scene to an image is to have more of your subject ready to be served up in either a sharing jug or container. One I have that I love is a large Kilner jar with a tap. I am never going to manage 3ltrs of mojitos myself(shh), so having this in an image gives it a sense of being shared which is great for setting a scene in your image.
These are smaller than the serving jugs, these smaller jugs are great to pour into other drinks, maybe like it’s being served. This is a great way to add action and a human element to your images.
Boards or Trays
These are great to either have your drinks sitting on to frame the subject or add some height into an image. A great way of adding some depth. Another use for trays is to have garnish being cut or served up on a small chopping board. Another great way to add some depth as it’s adding in some extra levels into the image.
I have put a few things under this category otherwise this list would go on forever. By extra decorations, I mean anything that is added to the top of a drink for decoration, such as stirrers, umbrellas, cocktail sticks, and straws. These are a great way to add more interest to your drinks and add to the story. Add an umbrella and a stirrer to a drink and it gives it a fun beachy vibe, a staw adds a fun childish feel to an image, and a cocktail stick can add more of an elegant rich vibe.
Ice Ice Baby
Although you’re not going to serve ice with all drinks, this is a summer drink series so ice is going to be a big part. There are a few different types of ice and it’s important to serve it with the right ice. Crushed ice is used for a lot of the more summery long cocktails, and a large ice cube will be more for a whisky. Ice is a great way to help drinks look refreshing, an important factor for summer drinks. I have some great ice cube trays from amazon for large cube ice and round ice! Great way to add some interest to an image.
Last, but definitely not least on this list is a garnish. Maybe one of the most important props on this list. Nearly all of your drink photos will include some garnish. They are a great way to add some interest to your drink and let people know what is in it. A martini really looks similar to water, add olive and it’s instantly recognizable as a martini. Adding things like lime and mint can help a drink feel refreshing, and cinnamon and orange will help it feel warmer — a great way to help your viewer taste an image.
About the author: Amie Prescott is a professional photographer, and food photography combines two of her favorite things: food and photography. Prescott put a good spin on lockdown by using the bad situation to create YouTube videos in an effort to help people looking to learn food photography.