In a Snap!: Cocktail Photography 101

Daniel Krieger of

Daniel Krieger, professional NYC food photographer, and Jim Meehan, of PDT New York, presented a hands-on educational session focused on photography in your bar sponsored by Anchor Distilling during Day 1 of Tales of the Cocktail.

Krieger emphasized the importance of lighting to his audience several times, stressing that there is no replacing natural light. He also explained to avoid direct sunlight when photographing food and cocktails, but instead focus on using window light, adjusting shades, side lighting and backlighting accordingly.

Composition was another hot topic in the seminar. Krieger explained how to use the space effectively by experimenting with angles and scanning your frame for unwanted items. The rule of thirds is also an effective strategy as it is appealing to the human eye. Using balance and symmetry draws viewers into a photo while using negative space helps to emphasize your subject.

In discussing the difference between a smart phone photo and one taken on an expensive DSLR, he showed two photos side by side and the difference was miniscule. However, he told his audience that the bokeh background (the way the lens renders out-of-focus points of light) could not be captured on an iPhone or Android device. 

With Instagram growing exponentially every day, Daniel explained how important it is to be on this social media train. He joked about his impressive 133K Instagram followers before saying, “Seriously, if someone with that many followers comes into your bar and tags a picture, they are pushing that out to thousands of people. It is free advertising for your bar with instant gratification.”

A few pieces of advice that he had for growing your followers on social media was to interact with others, post consistently while focusing on quality over quantity, use professional photos whenever possible and to share when you travel.

In order to take the best photo, Krieger suggested taking several photos using both hands, playing around with the settings (depth of field, aperture and ISO) and using tripods.

Daniel’s best tips for enhancing your photo with different software and editing techniques was to use applications like Snapseed, Priime, Touch Retouch and VSCO from your smart phone, while adjusting white balance, contrast and exposure on your DSLR photos.

Jim Meehan suggested using a “hand model” in photoshoots of cocktails that include a human presence as opposed to showing off your bartender’s “cavemen” hands. He followed up with, "If the press is asking you to be in their media, you will likely be in the press again. And the press reads the press, so you have a vested interest in making sure your shoot goes well."

You don’t have to wait another year before being able to attend another educational session like this one.  The 2016 Nightclub & Bar Show will offer simple steps to create the perfect photo for your social media and marketing strategy. 


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