The Bigger Picture
This week I take a closer look at an image taken during a recent commercial beer photography shoot. The photo was taken back in November 2019, at the Pumphouse Brewing Company, a newly opened Tap Room and craft-keg brewery hidden away on an industrial estate in the rural market town of Driffield, East Yorkshire. I loved the stripped-back, friendly vibe of this place from the moment I visited - and they really know how to make amazing beer! So of course I was happy when they asked me to start photographing for the brewery.
What was I trying to do in this image?
This is a pretty vibrant image. I’ve tried to keep my imagery for Pumphouse bright with vivid colours as I feel this is what best does justice to the atmosphere and the beers they’ve created.
In the photo, we see a man offering us a bright and zesty looking beer, we don’t know who he is but he’s behind the bar so presumably he works here. He’s wearing a tartan patterned flannel shirt – trendy within the hipster movement. Hipsters get a lot of flak these days, for their groomed beards and such, but in my photograph the casual “hipster” apparel serves to convey a certain stylish atmosphere.
We get a sense that this is not your usual old-fashioned English pub, that this place is a little different, a little more stylish. Additionally, to compound this thought, we see a trendy fluted glass instead of the traditional dimpled pint glass of yore. It’s important to think about the props you’ll be using in commercial photography, because they convey just as much meaning as the people and setting.
Finally, toward the bottom of the image, beneath the glass, in bold vinyl letters, is written PUMPHOUSE BREWING COMPANY. The image is kind of saying: “Welcome to the Pumphouse Brewing Company! Taste one of our new beers!” I wanted to make the audience almost want to reach in and pick up the glass.
How is colour used in this photograph?
Colour is an important element of this photograph. I noticed that the orange hue of the beer is really punchy, and because it is also mirrored in the barman’s tartan patterned shirt it stands out as the dominant colour. Orange is a strong, lively colour; it makes us think of the sunshine, it makes us feel warmth and has a stack of associated meanings including creativity, fun, enjoyment and freedom. These are good associations when you’re learning how to sell beer so I wanted to emphasise this in my image!
The orange in the photo is complemented and balanced by the cool blue shade of the breweries’ interior. Blue evokes calmness; it’s a peaceful, secure, and orderly colour. Blue is also a sign of stability and reliability. I worked on balancing these two main colours to convey these connotations and help push the welcoming message I wanted to achieve.
What’s missing from this picture?
You can’t say it all with a photo, so there are a few elements missing. We can’t tell when the brewery and taproom was established from the photo, or who the man is. But these are all things that can be written about in captions - and if I can get the audience to wonder about the answers to these questions, I can entice them to engage further with the brand by looking on their social media. It’s always good to leave something to the imagination!
What do you think? What would you have done differently? Leave a comment if you have any thoughts about beer and photography!
Big thanks to David & Zsolt at @pumphousebrewing for hiring me and making such awesome beer.
If you’re looking for a freelance photographer in East Yorkshire, or think you’d like to hire a photographer like me, get in touch or leave a comment!