Over the holidays I received a lot of beer, including two different sets of Belgian beer with matching glassware. Long before it became a thing, I photographed some of the beers I drank so I could better remember which rare beers I’ve tried. Now the craft beer scene has Untappd, but before that there was Flickr.
Instagram and Pinterest have stolen some of Flickr’s lunch money, but I am loyal person and Flickr is a lot more like Pinterest and Instagram now than it was back in the day. Flickr is a good place to host your photos if you want to use them in your WordPress blog and share them on social networks. Having photographed many many bottles of beer I’ve gradually improved. My original iPhone was a 3GS, now I have a 5S which has a very good camera. I also bought a Panasonic GM1 before my trip to China, but I was too busy with the CFA® exam to blog about a camera.
When I first started out I was taking the photos for myself, maybe to put a small photo on this blog, but now with such a good camera in my phone and a niche social network just for beer aficionados I’ve tried to be more creative with my beer photos. Sometimes the beer is served in a plain glass or the light is poor and you just want to enjoy the beer, you don’t have a lightbox and the time to take dozens of photos. Sometimes I photograph just the bottle, sometimes the bottle with a full glass beside, what looks best is the specialized glassware favoured by Belgian brewers.
You also have to do a good job of pouring your beer, especially if you have exactly one bottle of a difficult to find beer. With a better camera and a built in flash if needed, my photos are starting to look better, you also have to remember that some social networks will crop your photo, to allow for that I’ve taken to putting my phone much closer to the subject filling the viewfinder as much as possible instead of trying to photograph the entire bottle/glass. Photos shared on social networks do much better than just text with a link.
A new craft brewery opened up over the holidays and it just happened to be in the small town of Cumberland BC where I have many relatives so I hustled to interview them for the BC Beer Blog and also took a couple quick snaps. The camera in the iPhone 5S is so good I rarely use my Panasonic, if your goal is to quickly share a photo on a social network there is little need for dedicated camera nowadays.
Update March 2016
I’ve been living in China and although I’ve been losing weight, I’ve also had many different beers and I’ve documented most of them on social media. I even went on an official brewery tour. Pinterest has recently changed their algorithm and is now recommending more stories, I’ve also been very selective about which boards I follow as a result I got recommended two beer photography articles. Apparently the trendy place to do online beertography is Instagram, but if you just want to take better photos I recommend the second article.
Update September 2016
I am still living in China no one seems happy about this but I can not convince anyone to hire me to do anything except teach English which there is an inexhaustible demand for. Apple’s Photo app seems to have lost some of my photos including the featured image on this post, maybe it is still in a database somewhere but I am not happy about this, iPhoto definitely seemed better at least for what I used it for. Most of my best photos still get uploaded to Flickr eventually and a few end up on Instagram, more end up on WeChat. I am trying to update the featured images to be larger on old posts so that I can use Twitter’s summary with large image metadata format.
I did travel to Japan and drink too much beer, I also toured a brewery and a whiskey distillery.