How I Shot A Spotted Cow

The Food Photographer’s Beverage Challenge:

Beer is always a food photography challenge: Getting that head of foam just right, and showcasing the color of the beer in particular. Lighting and timing are crucial. For the Spotted Cow brand of beer, brewed in New Glarus, Wisconsin, and only available in local venues and stores, these challenges were no different. However, being a seasoned beverage photographer, I already had in mind what this photoshoot would require aesthetically, the bigger challenge was in making this brand stand out from the 20,000 or more already on the market.

Branding Photographer:

It isn’t enough as a branding and marketing photographer to just be able to take a great-looking photo, it has to sell as well. After all, that is what the client is really hiring a food or beverage photographer or for; to showcase their product in a professional way to make it more appealing to their audience.

Some clients hire a marketing team to decide what their photography approach should be and then they usually sit in on the photoshoot, either physically or via live video conference, so they can instruct and tweak as the photo session goes along. Some of the smaller companies, however, greatly appreciate it when a photographer can save them a bundle of money by already possessing marketing knowledge themselves. Since I have had over 30 years of experience in the marketing and advertising industries, my background becomes an extremely useful tool to my clients.

While this glass has a fairly decent head on it, I was looking for something more.

Showcasing a Wisconsin Beer:

Spotted Cow is most definitely a Wisconsin beer, not just because it’s brewed there, but also because Wisconsin is their largest customer base. Therefore, my marketing photography challenge was how to appeal specifically to an audience that the client was trying to narrow down to one geographic area and not a general demographic like all of their competitors. Hence, I chose to add props and atmosphere that would appeal to their specific target as well as a broader audience since the brand isn’t going to limit themselves if their beer catches on elsewhere like it is starting to in Northern Illinois. Beer and football have been done to death by all the national beer brands, I wanted to get a little more audience-specific. The atmosphere in the shot is as equally important as the featuring the brand itself. Since Wisconsin is a heavy bar-hopping crowd, letting them know that this beer is available in bars was a must. Otherwise, how would they know to ask for it while they are out on the town – which Wisconsinites always are. Pizza is also a main food group with Wisconsinites, so putting the two together was a good move.

Holding the color of the beer and the pizza was difficult and I had to adjust my lighting several times. Placement of the props was also something to consider with the people seated in the background. I also wanted to capture the slight heat rising off of the pizza, which involved completing this session before it cooled off. I wanted that fresh-out-of-the-oven look.

And there you have it! Marketing and branding photographer success!