My interest in photography began when my grandad gave me an Olympus film SLR back in the 90s. I think he used to take it on trainspotting trips — but I had other uses in mind…
With two decades of practice, a pile of books and a course of evening classes behind me, I’m now familiar with all the camera jargon, know the basics of lighting and appear to have a knack for composition. I’ve also been told I have a good eye, although that’s not for me to judge. However… I’ve always found product photography a hassle, and I still have trouble photographing wine bottles at home.
They’re just so fiddly to light, with all that glare from the glass. A friend of mine who’s a brilliant pro food photographer (click here to see an interview I did with him) recently gave me an interesting wine photography tip: position the glare from your light source at the angle where the main portion of the bottle turns into the stem. That way the size of the glare will be minimised. It’s easy when you know, but not something I’d considered before.
Admittedly, I do do a lot of photography with my phone these days. It’s just so convenient, and the Huawei P20 Pro that I use does take very good shots (it has a triple lens, made by Leica for what it’s worth). But I also use retro-style Fujifilm X-T10, which I admit I mostly bought because it looks cool.
And while the difference between the shots isn’t very pronounced on the small screen (especially as the Huawei’s screen is superior to the Fuji’s), the Fuji really comes into its own when you look at the pictures close up. Phones are fine for Instagram, but I’d never recommend using one to take proper product shots, especially for print.
So, with the Pink Lady® Food Photographer of the Year on the horizon, I pestered Fuji for some tips on how to photograph wine. And guess what… they sent me some.
Fujifilm’s Chio Fernandez’s Wine Photography Tips
“Try to think of the story you want to tell with your image. I start with an idea and then I move on to finding inspiration for props. Pinterest and Instagram are great sources of inspiration. Try not to copy directly, but do grab ideas from other images and then combine them and alter them to create your own image.”
“I tend to cover three different styles: minimalist, contextual and fine art. I start with the subject on its own, creating a simple image and once I am happy with that, I add props to add context to the subject. When it comes to wine, adding things like a bottle opener, a cheese platter, or some grapes to the frame can really set the mood of the image.”
“Another great way of creating context is adding a human factor. Try a hand in frame, grabbing a glass, or some wine-pouring action. And for the last part of the shoot, I like getting creative. Adding flowers or some quirky unusual wine glasses, you can really create something special. Think of all your images as complementary to each other.”
Chio Fernandez is a professional food photographer who lives and works in London. She is also a Fujifilm X-Photographer. When shooting food (and wine) she uses a Fujifilm X-E3.