Karen Botvin  

The Beer Party by Karen Botvin

July 2024 - The Beer Party

July 2024 - Karen Botvin


About the Image(s)

I have been shooting tethered in my home studio for the past few weeks trying different lighting styles. It’s too hot to be outdoors and this month’s photo represents a good cold drink on these very hot, humid days. I call it “The Beer Party”. As I said, I shot this tethered to my computer using my Nikon Z7-2 mounted on a tripod with a 24-120mm f/4 lens at 44mm. Using the typical flash settings, the ISO 100, f/8, and shutter speed set to my sync speed of 1/200 sec. Using 2 flashes, I set one low with a grid and pointing towards the background at -2.7 power and the second flash in a 2’x3’ light box with half the light blocked so to have a 1’x3’ strip box. That flash was set at +1.3 power pointing toward the back to just graze the sides of the glasses. In LR, I increased the exposure and whites just a bit, decreased the highlights, and increased the shadows. In PS, I cloned the dark shadowed areas on either side of the frame. I will say that shooting beer is a challenge as the head shrinks fairly quickly. I do like that the bottom glass’ rim lines up with the top of the head on the top glass, and the bottom of the head on the top glass lines up with the top of the head on the bottom glass. Trust me, that was quite by accident as I was pouring the beer from one glass to another to try and keep a bit of the head in both. I was happy with the outcome. What do you think?

13 comments posted

Shirley Pohlman   Shirley Pohlman
Congrats on getting all that flash stuff just right. I would have to rely on window light and/or one flash. Your colors are beautiful and foam perfect. Good idea of pouring the beer from one glass to another, or it may have resulted in your being out-of-focus from drinking. I would only suggest that the crackers be removed as, to me, it gets a little busy. Thanks for the encouragement of doing some indoor shooting as these 90's here are not inspiring for photography.   Posted: 07/03/2024 15:29:33
Karen Botvin   Karen Botvin
Haha, drinking it came after the shoot. I needed by then. Thanks so much for your comments. Much appreciated. I'm attaching my edits below that I could do in post rather than re-staging.   Posted: 07/05/2024 09:40:12

Martin Newland   Martin Newland
This is an interesting image, Karen.
I think I might have been tempted to drink the beer!
I would like to see how it looks without the packet of biscuits, leaving just the three leaning against the cheese board, and I might remove the blue/white object in the foreground thereby reducing the business of the image.
I like the way the cloth leads the eye into the image.
Maybe a fraction more separation between the two glasses and I would like to see how it looks with the background highlight lowered so that it shines through the glasses a little more, rather than above.
An interesting image. Well done!   Posted: 07/03/2024 20:10:18
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Karen Botvin   Karen Botvin
Thanks, Martin. Always appreciate your comments. You did a better job at getting rid of the cracker package. AI generate gave me a few crackers instead of the package. Tried several times. Even tried content aware. I like the image much better with everyone's comments. Edited version below.   Posted: 07/05/2024 09:46:19
Martin Newland   Martin Newland
Karen, my old version of Photoshop doesn't include AI so any alterations I do are done with the clone tool. I find using it very theraputic   Posted: 07/05/2024 18:15:34

Tor Nenzen   Tor Nenzen
Nice idea!
Here in Canada, I save indoor shots for January/February. I like your arrangement and there is clearly a connecting idea between the elements. If you don't mind, here are some ideas (not a critique):
-Try using a grey card and setting your white balance to it. Or use a white piece of paper. Just shoot one picture with it in the frame and then set the white balance to it in your post software. Super easy. I'm just thinking there's a lot of blue in the picture.
-Try spraying a mist of water on the glasses. I think the pros use a diluted glycerine mixture so it stays put.
-To make the picture look less like a studio shot, try using a patternless curtain as a backdrop, or a wall. I've found that dollar stores sell 1ft sections of fake brick/tile that can be stuck to plywood. If it is in soft focus, it looks real.
Great shot by the way!
Cheers.   Posted: 07/04/2024 12:30:12
Karen Botvin   Karen Botvin
Different end of the continent! January and February are the best times to shoot outdoors here. Thanks for your very helpful comments. Aside from the spray on the glasses, I'm attaching what I could do in post without re-staging. Wow, what a difference the white balance made. Thanks for that!   Posted: 07/05/2024 09:42:55
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Jim Wulpi   Jim Wulpi
I've done very little studio work, but have played around with beer. First off, I wanted a long-lasting foam head - and that's Guiness's hallmark. It's a very dark beer, but the head lasts the entire time in the glass. Mine was a sequence of 5 images starting with a full glass of Guiness, then the next frame had a bit less in it, and so on until the last glass was empty and the word "AHHHHH" was present. It was fun.
Not near as technical as your shoot, but I like what you're doing. well done.   Posted: 07/05/2024 14:18:25
Karen Botvin   Karen Botvin
Thanks, Jim! I just recently learned that putting salt in the beer will bring the head back, but of course, then one may not want to drink it.   Posted: 07/07/2024 15:20:46

Piers Blackett   Piers Blackett
The compositional element seems to be mainly repeated spheres and circles as opposed to leading lines except for the cloth which is contributing to a great result. I found I tend to overcrowd the arrangement and agree with comments to downsize. I understand the choice to use f/4.0 but the bottle does seem too soft - did you consider stopping down? Also I would show more of the curves on the cutting board and perhaps even a round of cheese with fewer slices, but at least two bottles of beer!   Posted: 07/05/2024 15:11:53
Karen Botvin   Karen Botvin
Thanks for your comments, Piers! I did think of using both bottles of beer but thought it felt crowded. Good idea about a round of cheese, but all I had on hand was a block of Swiss. I will put it together again and keep everyone's comments in mind.   Posted: 07/07/2024 15:25:43

Terri Adcock
I don't do a lot of set up work like this but my understanding is that the image needs to tell a story and the items should tie together to flow. Maybe its because I am English but in England cheese is mostly drunk with wine, not beer, and so i am struggling to find a link with the beer and cheese/crackers board. Less is more. Your lighting is perfect but i find the table(?) is a little busy with the pattern   Posted: 07/07/2024 02:09:10
Karen Botvin   Karen Botvin
Thanks for your comments, Terri. Here in the US, beer and pretzels or crackers and cheese are considered bar food. We also have wine and cheese but in a more elegant setting than a bar or pub.   Posted: 07/07/2024 15:29:50


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