Cocktail Photography with Anthony Nader @52Chefs

September 5th, 2019

Bartender Journey Podcast #284


Today we talk about cocktail photography with professional food and beverage photographer Anthony Nader.  His company is called 52 chefs. He is a lot of fun.  

I was lucky enough to be invited to his seminar recently that was specifically about taking great photos of cocktails with your phone.  It was sponsored by Tequila Avión - thank you very much for that Ms. Veronica Chaparro. It was at the roof top bar at the Park South Hotel, which is an awesome place, if you ever get a chance to go.  Bar Methods was going on while we were there, and I got a chance to say hello to friend Chris Bitmeed who runs Bar Methods which is a once a year, 3 day educational event.  I did it about 3 years ago, and I encourage you to look into that for next year - its an amazing educational opportunity. 

Anthony gave a great demonstration about how to take great photos, and then we paired up into teams of two - I pared with Hazel, and we had a photo and video competition.  There were lots of props and drinks. We had to submit one photo and one slo mo video. In the end my photo won the contest! It was a picture of a Tequila Avión Nigroni.  

We are excited to announce that the special project is our new book, Cocktails Made Simple: Easy and Delicious Recipes for the Home Bartender!  It’s coming out on October 15, 2019!

I think you'll find our book serves as a great guide to making drinks, with an explanation of tools and techniques, in addition to classic cocktail recipes.  

If you're a Home Bartender looking to entertain family and friends, you'll learn how to build a functional home bar with essential tools and cost-effective tips in order to craft cocktails in your own home.

It was a great experience writing this with co-author and our West Coast Bartender Journey associate, Amin Benny and a quick thanks to Hazel Alvarado for Back of House duties on this project.

The book is available NOW for pre-order on Amazon.  Click here to sign up for our email newsletter to keep informed about the book.  And please follow Bartender Journey on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Its @BartenderJourney on IG and FB, and on twitter I’m @BarKeepTips.

Cocktail Photography Tips:

  • Be sure to Clean the camera lens.  It gets dirty. You can clean it with a soft cotton t-shirt or any soft cloth.

  • Zoom in a little.

  • Setting the exposure and locking in the focus. Click on the subject before taking the picture - the subject will be locked into both focus and exposure  Also, next to the yellow box surrounding your subject, there is a tiny icon of the sun. If you slide that up and down, you can change the exposure.  

  • Display abundance - use props...use your imagination.  

  • Get close -  I had always composed my cocktail photos very neatly, displaying the entire glass and garnish - usually shooting from slightly above the glass so that the surface is visible.  I would center the cocktail. Try getting in very close. Art can be a little messy!

  • Focus on garnish - or on the little droplets on the outside of the glass or whatever - something specific in the drink - not the drink as a whole.

  • Bounce light. A white paper menu is one way to do that.

  • Use a friend’s phone with a white screen - I’d heard at other seminars, or maybe read somewhere, to us the flashlight from a friend’s phone for light when you are in a dark bar or something, but that light is harsh.  A white screen is softer - you can just go to for instance. And of course on iPhone you can go to Settings / Display & Brightness to control the brightness of the screen if you need more light.

  • Pay attention to other photos - what do you like?  When you see a picture that you like, think about what you like about it.  Some ideas for looking at great cocktail photos on IG, are Anthony’s stuff at @52Chefs and our friend Natalie @BeautifulBooze.  I would also encourage you to follow the #cocktails

  • Speaking of IG when you are editing your photo in the IG app before posting - don’t use the pre fab filters - edit the settings individually.

    • When you first get to edit mode in the IG app, above you photo there is a little icon of the sun that is white on the left and black on the right.  This is the lux setting. I did not know about this! Its awesome. I don’t know enough about photography to explain what lux is, but its related to exposure.  Do this first.

    • Then Anthony recommends adjusting the settings in this order:

      • Contrast

      • Warmth

      • Sharpness

  • Turn each setting all the way up to see what it does, then scale back from there.


I hope you learned something from the show today.  I’d love to see your cocktail photos, hopefully using some of the stuff you learned from listening.  Post your picture to IG and tag me @BartenderJourney.


I wanted to share one more thing with you - I just read an outstanding article on  Its called “What’s Malt, and Why is it Needed”.  It’s a really worth a read.  It not only does a great job of explaining the process of producing alcohol , but also some of the differences between scotch and bourbon and also the definition of a Single Malt.  I’ll have that link on We’ll have to try get the author of that article Mr. Henrik Brandt on the show sometime.

Share | Download

Play this podcast on Podbean App