The Perfect Pint Condensation Cold Look

How do professional drinks photographers make beer look so good? All is revealed in this step-by-step class.

How do you light, craft and shoot the image? How do you get the condensation droplets right? What tricks can you use to make the liquid glow? Find all the answers other pros won’t share.

As Karl demonstrates how to prepare the product and light the shot, you’ll pick up a variety of tips and techniques to enhance your own bottle and beverage photography. Cheers!

In this class:

  • How to photograph bottles and glasses
  • Creating perfect condensation for bottle photography
  • Lighting setups for reflective items
  • How to control reflections on glass
  • Creating gradient lighting
  • Using colour checker cards to ensure colour accurate images

To learn about the retouching techniques involved in this shot, check out The Perfect Pint: Post-Production.

If you enjoy this class, try Whisky Product Shoot and Whisky Photography.

Questions? Please post them in the comments section below.

© Karl Taylor


    1. Hi, I’m sorry I don’t understand your question? What did you find online and what would you like a link for?

  1. Hello Karl, greetings, if I don’t have the light boxes that you use, can something similar be achieved with smaller light boxes?

    1. Hi, the look of the light is based on the size of the light, the distance of the light, the size of the light from the subjects point of view and the type of directional light that the modifier provides. So for example a 100×100 softbox will provide a different light compared to a 100×100 umbrella etc

  2. Hi karl! fantastic shot just wondering why you placed the strip softbox on to the right to make a rim glow on the right of your glass but still you manage to get the rim rim light on the right ……….the glass and the liquid in it acts as a lense as you said in your other classes the softbox should be placed on to the left to get a rim light on the right side of the bottle. Please explain

  3. Hi Karl,
    Is it possible/easy to wash off the condensation, in case the same glass needs to be used for another shot without condensation at a later point? BR Sanna

  4. Hi Karl,
    I know it might sound a bit silly, but you didn’t mention in the video. Do you wait until the gloss spray dries or is it the wet paint that helps the thick droplets effect?

    1. Hi Dave, yes we usually leave a glass for a few hours and then the droplets set hard which makes working easier, but it’s always a good idea to prep several glasses to have on standby for more beer pours etc.

  5. hi karl, after many months of your lesson (and thank you because I won some awards on I’m writing because ,for me is always a problem keep the foam on the beer. Is there a good solution to keep a big foam on for 3/4 minutes?

    1. Hi Gloria, there are a couple of options to try:

      1. Don’t fill the beer to the top add the last bit at the end to create the foam
      2. Add a teaspoon of sugar when your ready and stir
      3. Use an alternative foam, such as a shaving foam or lather.

  6. Hello Karl, beautiful lighting. Just a tip I want to share with you. To get the head, stir the beer with a wooden chop stick. The enzymes in the wood made the foam pop in a very controlled manner

  7. Bahador_tabatabaei

    Hi Karl, I have question about product photography .Could you explain please, which composition and What angle should we use for them?

    1. Hi, that is covered in many of our other product classes and product live shows but generally we shoot products from low down to make them look more powerful, the composition of the subject depends on what attributes the subject has to offer.

  8. Gary Stasiuk

    Couple of questions on little points.
    When you sprayed the glass, in essence you chose a front side and only sprayed the front? It kind of looked like that. I assume it does you no favours to have the whole thing sprayed. And basically you spray a day ahead it sounded like.

    Also, say you only plan to fill the glass part way, as in some forms of cocktails that may have a garnish or just space below the rim to spare.. Do you just block the spray by masking it in some manner? Creating a paper crown over the rim and top of the glass.. for while you are spraying?

    Lastly, white wine.. chilled before drinking.. working from memory in my thoughts.. I don’t think the condensation is as beaded.. but I am going to test out a glass to make sure .. are there other types of condensation that you try to imitate? And any helpful hints..

    1. Hi Gary, Yes only the front sprayed as not really visible at the back and adding additional droplets there will just create more image confusion at the front (see the image of the Ale on my ‘Objects’ page it’s next to two lipsticks’ You can spray an hour ahead is enough for the first part to dry, if you want the beads of condensation set solid though then yes a day will do it. I think I only mention about not filling to the brim so you can create the ‘head’ on the beer as the last stage. I’ve not deliberately avoided spraying the condensation effect near the rim as I remember but I think I did show in another video maybe how to use a piece of card on a stick to avoid getting to much on beer labels. Yes real condensation looks much flatter and not always that good photographically, some photographers use it, the other alternative though is if you don’t want your condensation to look as ‘beaded’ then just omit the first stage prep that’s done to the glass.

      1. Gary Stasiuk

        Locally we have an artist supply outlet where I found several different types of artist spray varnish. I picked up two different kinds to test out on a glass. I just sprayed it right side – left side.. to see what I get. In one of your videos, you suggested a gloss spray, while on this video I believe you just said artist spray. Now they didn’t explicitly have a gloss spray, which makes sense from an artist’s perspective – preserving the original look of your painting – but I did get a Winsor & Newton “Professional” satin varnish traditional spray and a Krylon Kamar Varnish, which is a newer formulation which is apparently a bit more environmental. I’m in Canada, so our brands may not be the same as the UK or anywhere else for that matter, but I was curious what you used on the Absolut Vodka clear glass bottle.

        The satin, as a spray looks like a bit more frosted as a finish.. which would work well on any kind of frosted bottle, but I’m a little wary to use it on a crystal clear bottle. Once dry, it looks like a frosty cold glass pulled out of the freezer.

        The other spray looks more smooth, but has changed the glass surface a little to be a touch duller than original. I will put a few more coats on to make sure the surface is completely covered. If not covered completely, it looks a little like a spray paint (clear) incomplete coating.. slightly splotchy.

        So once again the question.. do I need a glossy spray to achieve the best look on a bottle that is crystal clear?

        1. Hi Gary, there are three types of varnish in my experience. Gloss, Matt and Satin which is inbetween. I’ve used them all and they all seem to work but yes the gloss will obviously look more like clear glass but if that is important or not is debatable after covering it with the condensation as it becomes mostly obscured at that level of detail.

          1. Hi Karl,
            has it to be varnish or would hairspray do the same job and why if not?
            Greetings from Germany.

          2. Hi AP, I’ve heard that hairspray works but I’ve never tried it. As with all these things the best thing to do is try.

  9. Thanks for another great tutorial Karl!
    For me – the biggest takeaway here is that thin metal sheet kept in the front. Takes care of so many issues when table set-up is large and lights can’t be brought close enough for continuous highlight.

    Could you please share more details of the sheet – Polished metal sheet.. is it made of stainless steel?

      1. Thanks, Karl. Would surely give it a try.
        Though I am in love with this polished SS sheet idea 🙂

        (acrylic mirror sheets have thickness and tend to scratch a lot)

Leave a Comment