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I spent a few years as a comercial food & beverage photagrapher. 

My photography gigs have taken a back seat to my career in 3D .

     But these lessons in lighting, composition, and creativity I use everyday.      

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All photos taken on Canon T3i and edited in Photoshop's Camera Raw.

The cocktails were a collaboration between Eric Levine and I.

Below the gallery I included some unedited versions of these photos.

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All

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Pear Haymaker

Pentoshi Pear

Sunspear

Sunspear

The New Gift

The New Gift

Wildfire

Wildfire

Florian & Jonquil

Jonquil & Florian the Fool

The New Gift

Cinnamon Wind

Estate In Spagna

Estate In Lys

Wildfire

Weirwood Sap

The New Gift

Riverlands Rye Frisco

ahi seabass
Gravlax

Savory Cheesecake

Duck

Duo of Duck

Veal

Veal Scallopini

gBolo

Gnocchi Bolognese

Scallops n Beets

Scallops & Beet Risotto

Steak

Ribeye

Scampi

Scampi

Duck

Brodetto

Vine

"Vine" Salad

Pizza

Hawaiian Pizza

Pesce

Pesce Del Giorno

72 ribs

72 hr Braised Shortribs

Lobster Pot Pie

Lobster Pot Pie

Anti

Dungeness Crab Antipasta

Tiramisu

Tiramisu

Before and After Editing

Color/lens corrections done in Camera Raw; everything else in Photoshop.

'Jonquil & Florian the Fool'

The aesthetic of these cocktails is based on the fictional legendary lovers.

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Editing included removing the brown dried parts of the lime garnish (by masking the area and changing the reddish/brown hues to a clean green), and accentuating the depth of the glass. To accomplish the latter I took a lower exposure shot, increased the highlights, and decreased the shadow levels.

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Another aesthetic to this shot was to use the limewheel and twist garnishes in an effort to immitate a highborn lady's hat for Jonquil (left) and a fool's jester hat for Florian (right). Also the bright variety of colors (yellow, red, and blue) were in the spirit of the bright motley colors of a court jester/fool.

The 'Wildfire' Shot

The trick to this shot was blowing out the flame and compositing the smoke. The goal was to get three tiers of smoke: the dispersed background smoke (seen to the left of the glass), the sharp recently-blown-out smoke (to the left of the flame), and an intermediate smoke to fill the gap between the two. Of course there is no smoke when the candle is burning, so the flame was masked and composited as well.

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The color correction was primarily aimed at leaning the yellow hues of the saffron syrup in the cocktail towards the green spectrum, in homage to the color of its namesake substance: thick, murky green flames of writhing emerald serpents; a gushing green poison from the endtrails of a dying beast; a jade holocaust.

Group Shot

Typically for shots like this that have a dynamic variety of colors and refractive/translucent properties I take two or three shots from the same exact angle: one slightly over exposed, one slightly under-exposed, and one neutral. This allows me more control when compositing.

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For this shot I masked out each drink and had it on its own layer. The color correction was done on each drink separately. That is, I opened the same file 5 times in Camera raw and made different adjustments to each drink. I used the photoshop brush to paint a vignette effect around the edges and corners.

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Notice that for the center drink, there was a regular orange on the inside. However, he original recipe calls for a blood orange. At the time of this shot we put away the blood oranges, but I had already taken the shot of the single drink which had a blood orange in it. I masked out the inside of the blood orange from that shot and blended it with the original.

The 'Sunspear' Shot

I try really hard not to saturate picturees by more than 3 or 4 (in the Photoshop saturation properties). From my experience, the right exposure, white balance, and levels adjustments are enough to make colors stand out, especially if the final image size will be reduced to something much smaller and the color contrast will get crunched in the process. Here however, because the colors here are almost entirely some shade of orange, it was difficult to create enough contrast to diversify the contents of the glass. I almost ended up not using this shot because I felt it looked cheap. After working on it longer than usual, I ended up adding more yellow to the lighter hues of orange where the light coming from the left hit the right side of the glass. Finally I reduced the luminocity setting of the magentas in the blood orange slice.

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One more edit I made was adding the thyme to the bottom of the glass. After reviewing the original i felt it was missing something, so I quickly took a shot of the glass with the thyme at the bottom. I then ended up masking and compositing it over the original shot, and blurred the end of it to make it blend in more.