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Holiday Liquor Shot: Jack Daniel’s Single Barrel Whiskey

Holiday Liquor Shot: Jack Daniel’s Single Barrel Whiskey



Holiday season gets more and more eventful every year for me.  With family gatherings, travel, work, gift shopping and living in a prime holiday shopping area, the holiday season can start to look pretty crazy for me starting in the middle of October.  And as I’m writing this, I know that it’s far from over.  Every once in a while, it’s kind of nice to sit down, take a deep breath, relax, and shoot a glass of whiskey.  And by shoot, I mean take a picture.

I was excited about writing this holiday liquor shot tutorial for a few reasons.  First, I love coming back to shooting anything in a glass bottle.  Second, I was curious to try implementing a couple of new techniques that I had picked up recently.  Lastly, I was just itching to write something new.  Hence…

Holiday Liquor Shot – Product Photography Tutorial


This being a Christmas / New Years holiday liquor shot, and living in the Chicago area, I knew that I wanted to incorporate snow.  Once I knew that I was shooting whiskey, I knew that I would want to play with the warmth of the whiskey color and contrast it with some atmospheric coolness.  As I continued to conceptualize, I pictured a hardwood surface that would give the image an organic feeling, and some bright back lighting.

I toyed with the idea of using bokeh filters with Christmas lights in the back (and you’ll see in the BTS shots that the Christmas lights were still up), but as I continued to work, I felt like the lights were really detracting from my subject.  I couldn’t make the concept work in a way that didn’t draw too much attention to the lights, so I shifted direction in the middle of the shoot.

I still knew that I would need something to balance off the bright back light.  You’ll see what I opted to do, but first…

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   In the Gearbox


Studio Strobe Lighting:

Light Modifiers:

  • Bowens Fresnel 200 Spot
  • Cellfoam panels
  • Strip Box (12×56)
  • Barndoor sets (2)
  • Black Fabric Sheets (for blocking background illumination)

Other Essential Accessories:


21 responses on "Holiday Liquor Shot: Jack Daniel's Single Barrel Whiskey"

  1. great tutorial, very well explained! thanks for sharing it :)

  2. Great tips, Im looking forward to giving this a try myself

  3. Awesome image and even better tutorial Tim. Thanks so much for taking the time to share!

  4. A quick tip for making artificial snow is to use a nappy (otherwise known as a diaper). Cut it open and add a bit of water to the absorbant inside.

    Great tutorial, thank you for posting it for us.

    • Thanks so much, Hayley. I’m actually kind of glad that you mentioned this “alternate” method because, the material used in diapers (nappies) to absorb the bodily fluids is the exact same technology I used above. They are both SAPs (Super Absorbent Polymers). So, essentially, folks, this is the exact same method. I just didn’t want to mention diapers in the body of my tutorial. ;)

      Also, you can currently buy the SAP powder in a jar for about $13 (US) for 100 grams, which is enough to make 2 gallons of snow. The amount of SAP I used here would probably be the equivalent of 3 diapers. If you don’t have time to order this stuff and you actually have diapers on hand and you don’t mind the mess of having to cut them open, that is an excellent alternative. Otherwise, it’s more economical to just buy the powder and have it on hand for future shoots. (Also, the stuff in cheap diapers is usually scented. Yuck.)

      Thanks again, Hayley!

  5. Nice shot, great technique well explained. We also use dishwasher salt for snow, it has a nice crystalline quality to it.

  6. Awesome shot and tut, thanks for the tips. Looking forward to creating something for contest, or should I say ‘hoping’. ;)

  7. Nice tutorial,…..It would be best using real whisky !!! and have a good drink after shottin !!

    I wish you the best on this nmew year !!


  8. Great tutorial Tim and beautiful final shot. Some great tips and tricks in there. Thanks for sharing your BTS and happy holidays!

  9. I use soy sauce too, perfect color matching with whiskey :) great tut.

  10. Thank you ! It’s always interesting to read a good tutorial like this and to know what’s going on in the photographers mind during the process. And I also liked the crystal trick a lot…

  11. Excellent tutorial!

  12. Very nice shot and tutorial.

    I see that we have the same taste in bottle choice ;) :


    Thanks especially for the crystal trick!!! It’s brilliant, and I will use it for sure for futur shots :)

  13. Very good post, learned a lot about the efforts that got into a single product shot. Great work.

  14. Thank you TIm, Great explanation and got my mind going to create some things myself.

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