Creating a professional image

Having invested wisely in getting the branding, design, material and print quality of your wine labels spot on, the final step is to get those beauties photographed.

Whether dealing with press, uploading to an online shop, promotion via social media, creating tourism and trade brochures or tasting notes and technical sheets, there are a myriad of uses for bottle shots; they are not just for big producers with big marketing and PR machines.

Although it’s crucial that the entire range of products is available with a plain, white background, there is no reason not to get creative with product photography and there are some enticing examples of well-done photoshoots throughout the UK wine industry.

Regardless of the creative direction, English and Welsh wines are a premium product and so it is vital to treat the bottles with the respect they deserve. While the majority of the population has access to a camera phone and it is possible to pick up a relatively inexpensive, high quality digital camera, bottles are notoriously difficult to photograph.

Producers going down the DIY route will be able to save a few pennies in the short term but will be doing the estate’s brand and image a huge disservice in the long run. Having amateur, low resolution pictures showing multiple light sources, with the photographer’s reflection visible, imperfect bottles marks and skewwhiff labels, is one of the quickest ways to detract from the packaging, undoing all the hard work and effort which has gone into creating something which looks indulgent, special and professional.

When it comes to finding the right photographer, it’s advisable to find one who has experience of working with wine, and a quick look through a portfolio should give an idea of the photographer’s capabilities.

While cheap is not always cheerful, budgets don’t have to be astronomical either and as the UK wine industry grows there are companies such as Wine Cellar Door who arrange special photography days for English and Welsh wine producers to help keep costs down.

As autumn is the ideal time to get bottle shots ready for Christmas campaigns, Sussex-based photographer Ian Pack, who has worked with a range of English producers, is offering  discount rates throughout September.

Once you’ve found the right person for the job it’s essential to select and prepare the bottles properly so that the photographer has the best chance of taking perfect images.

“Producers ideally need to send unlabelled, symmetrical bottles, with any foils protected and labels sent separately,” said Ian Pack. “If a producer doesn’t have any unlabelled bottles to hand then they will need to carefully choose ones which don’t have the mould line of the glass running through the centre of the label. Back labels will need to be removed as well as they disrupt the light. If a producer is local I will often go and select the bottles myself because it guarantees they will be right.”

A professional photographer will ensure that the lighting is suitably configured, will be able to touch up any bottle defects, should ensure that the colour of the wine is kept as close to reality as possible and will be able to provide a both high-resolution versions for use in print and low-resolutions copies for use on websites and social media.

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