How to Capture the Ultimate Bourbon Flat Lay Photography Shot

Posted by: on Jan 29, 2024

How to Capture the Ultimate Bourbon Flat Lay Photography Shot

Within the world of overhead photography, the artistry lies in the meticulous arrangement of elements, a dash of creativity, and, of course, the essential tools of the trade. Let’s take a behind the scenes look at the secrets behind capturing an elevated Bourbon bottle photography shot with proper lighting, hardware, and composition.

Gear You’ll Need:

  1. Black or dark seamless background paper
  2. Glass, Pyrex baking dish or similar clear container. We used a 5 qt. dish, measuring in at 17” x 11” x 2.5”
  3. Gaff tape rolled into four balls. These are to be placed on each of the four sides of the baking dish, creating a cavity below to fit backlighting
  4. Lump charcoal
  5. Bourbon of choice
  6. Laptop or tablet of choice
  7. Tether Tools Ultimate Flat Lay Photography Tethering Kit
  8. Smart Shooter
  9. Three Spekular KYU-6 LED Light Wraps
  10. PMI Gear’s SmokeNINJA or other handheld fog machine

How to Compose Your Overhead Photography Shot:

  1. Place background paper on flat surface.
  2. Place baking sheet on top of the black surface.
  3. Roll gaff tape into small balls and place them under the baking dish on each corner to elevate the dish and create room for KYU-6 LED Lights.
  4. Fill the baking dish with lump charcoal.
  5. Place the Bourbon bottle within the center of baking dish, surrounding it with the charcoal, but leave room for light to spill through the underside of the baking dish.
  6. Setup key lighting for the Bourbon scene. We’ve used a few Aputure 120d Mark ii LED Lights attached to Aputure Light Dome Soft Boxes at about 45 degrees to the subject, but this can be done with other studio lights or with the natural light from a nearby window.
  7. Setup backlighting for the scene. Turn on KYU-6 lights, apply the fire effect or other similar red/amber lighting. Slide KYU-6 lights under the baking dish so that they shine through the baking dish. Slide them to the right, left, and bottom sides of the Bourbon bottle. Adjust lump charcoal if necessary.
  8. Move Tether Tools Ultimate Flat Lay Photography Kit or similar setup over the Bourbon bottle, so that the edges of the baking dish are cropped out. This does make it easier, but can also be accomplished in post if using a wide lens.
  9. Open Smart Shooter 5 or your choice of tethering software and adjust for composition, focus, and camera settings. Below were our camera settings:
  • Camera: Sony A7iii
  • Lens: Sony FE 24-105mm F4 OSS
  • Focal length: 105mm
  • ISO: 320
  • Aperture: f/4

10. Using the dry ice effect, use the Smoke Ninja or similar fog machine to generously apply smoke closely to all sides of the Bourbon bottle. Get creative with this. You can let the smoke sit in or gently blow it to create movement within the shot.

11. Take the shot.

The Final Result

Now you’ve got the tools to spice up your overhead bottle photography game. From laying out the charcoal, creating a fire effect using the KYU-6 led lights, to adding some mystery with PMI Gear’s SmokeNINJA, we’ve set the stage for you to try it out yourself! So gear up, follow the steps, and let’s see your recreated Bourbon shots! 🥃