Whisgars is a unique concept bar with venues located throughout Southeast Asia, serving one of the largest collections of high-end single malt and premium hand rolled cigars in the region. I was hired by Bamboo Labs, the digital agency in charge of Whisgars’ website redesign and social media management, to conduct a photo shoot and cover their extensive selection of whisky and cigars at their Sukhumvit 23 branch in Bangkok.
Due to Whisgars’ large inventory, we were required to set up the shoot on location instead of booking a studio, which created several challenges for us to overcome. As Whisgars 23 does not have a spare room available that we could convert into a temporary studio, we had to set up our equipment next to the bar and seating area. This meant that our set-up had to be compact enough to fit into limited space and it had to be easily portable. Another consideration was time. With roughly 100 bottles and over a dozen cigars to shoot, we had to make sure that our setup provided consistent lighting that worked for bottles of varying shapes, sizes, materials and colours and we had to complete the shoot by mid-afternoon when the venue was set to open its doors to customers.
The setup was kept fairly simple with two main lights firing through a diffusion panel and a third light acting as an optical spot to highlight labels. A large foam core reflector was placed opposite the strobes to reflect light back onto the bottles and illuminate them from the side. Staying true to the ambience of the venue we used one of their wooden tables as a shooting surface and placed another light fitted with a red gel beneath, illuminating a brick wall that made for the perfect backdrop. In order to bring out the colours of the whisky we placed reflective sheets behind the bottles, carefully cut to match the shape of the subject, which illuminated the liquid from behind by reflecting our main light source through the glass.
The post production process mostly consisted of cleaning up the bottles and labels, as well a removing any dust particles from surfaces. As Whisgars is known for both its single malt whisky and cigars, we played around with white smoke enveloping the bottles to further evoke the atmosphere of the location. The tax labels were purposely kept on the bottles as they are required by law for the sale of alcohol, and it was not feasible to remove them during post production.
All in all, the shoot went very well and even with limited space available and a narrow time slot to capture the images, we managed to produce beautiful product pictures for the venue in a setting that stayed consistent with our client’s branding.