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James Davenport
 
August 23, 2012 | James Davenport

6 Things That Make a Great Bottle Shot

Krista shared an excellent post last week about 6.5 Easy Fixes for a Better Wine List Page.
In my opinion, the most important tip is easily the first one about using quality pictures. With that in mind, here’s a designer's take on what makes for an awesome bottle shot.

What makes a great bottle shot?

1. Physical Bottle Quality

Send your best bottles to get the best photos. Look for imperfections in the glass, cap or foil, and make sure the labels are applied straight. Any blemishes can be cleaned up by a professional in Photoshop, but keep in mind that post-production can get expensive.

bottle shot with a poor label

2. Brightness, Contrast & Color

Proper color, contrast and brightness can make the difference between an ok and a great photo. Are colors realistic? Is the color contrast vibrant or does it look washed out? Are the highlights and shadows accurate? Does the color reflect the wine properly?

Bottle shot with poor color

3. Avoiding Reflections

Your customers want to get to know you, but they don’t want to see you (or your photographer) in the bottle’s reflection.

bottle shots with reflections

4. Proper Lighting and Shadows

Lighting is important in photography, and seeing multiple lamps and bright spots reflecting in a bottle shot is not ideal.Photographers use an assortment of lights, lamps, shades, reflectors, and umbrellas to get lighting just right.

Bottle shot with poor lighting

5. Remove Backgrounds & Use Photo Clipping

Some winery websites are in need of a photo clipping overhaul. Have somebody on your marketing team (or a pro) clip around the white box or background in the bottle shot, unless your site design has a white background.

bottle shot use clipping

6. Image Resolution

Use the largest resolution possible without compromising on the photo’s quality. Large photos look amazing on product detail pages, but ensure they’re optimized so the page loads quickly (Reduce image sizes using Photoshop, or a free program like Smushit). Avoid pixelation when resizing images. Start from the highest quality image and resize downward, never do the reverse.

bottle shot with pixelation

Examples of Great Bottle Shots

There are many sites using exceptional bottle shots taken by a professional photographer. Here are few that we’d like to mention.

It’s important to have awesome looking bottle shots. You’ll make a good first impression, boost customer confidence, and support marketing efforts outside ecommerce, such as print collateral, advertising, and signage.  

If you’d like to share some of the photos you’ve seen on wesbites, go ahead and share the link in the comments or share the photos on our Facebook page.

Comments

Sean Fenzl's Gravatar
 
Sean Fenzl
@ Aug 23, 2012 at 8:46 AM
Hey guys - I have a nice complimentary article to this from a photographer's perspective! I shoot a LOT of bottles and made the blog post for my clients to refer to... I'll be referring them to this article as well - really great!

http://seanfenzl.com/blog/your-wine-bottles-photographed-pre-production-tips-0

John's Gravatar
 
John
@ Aug 23, 2012 at 8:55 AM
Great tips guys! I can use these on my scotch collection at home!

James Davenport's Gravatar
 
James Davenport
@ Aug 23, 2012 at 9:09 AM
Sean,

Nice pre-production tips. They detail what imperfections to look for when sending bottles for a great photo.

Thanks for sharing. James

Gracia Brown's Gravatar
 
Gracia Brown
@ Aug 23, 2012 at 2:37 PM
Tom Liden does our bottle photography and he always shaves off the back label so there isn't a shadow showing through the back.

El Jefe's Gravatar
 
El Jefe
@ Aug 23, 2012 at 11:51 PM
You left Twisted Oak off of your list of great examples ;)

John Gavin's Gravatar
 
John Gavin
@ Aug 24, 2012 at 9:43 AM
I agree with Gracia. For a white or rose you need to remove the back label. You can see the effect of not doing so in the otherwise soild twisted oak shot shown here.

James Davenport's Gravatar
 
James Davenport
@ Aug 24, 2012 at 10:39 AM
Gracia - Great idea on removing the back label on clear bottles. The results on your site are very well done.

El Jefe - Definitely some great shots! Thanks for letting us use Twisted Oak as an example.

James

Mitch Rice's Gravatar
 
Mitch Rice
@ Aug 31, 2012 at 1:05 AM
I love that you are promoting good quality bottle shots! I have been photographing wine for over 20 years. You cover some very good points here but there is so much more that an experienced photographer can provide to enhance the look of your wine. Removing the back label from wines that you can see through has been mentioned by others in these comments and I agree.

In addition, having the label straight and centered (with no seam running through it), providing a pleasing glow that adds dimension to the wine, keeping the lighting from washing out important areas of the label, and using lighting and camera angle to bring out the detail and artistry of the label are a few other important steps in the process.

I have done thousands of bottle shots for hundreds of wineries... from the big names to the small family wineries... and experience has taught me that each wine has unique challenges and strengths. It's our job to make the wines communicate clearly to the consumer.

Thanks for getting people thinking and talking about great bottle shots! Mitch

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