On a recent shoot for AnheuserBusch InBev, Adrian Mueller was asked to shoot their new hard (alcoholic) Root Beer brand called BEST DAMN ROOT BEER. He was given much more creative freedom on how to execute the shoot than one may typically receive for an advertising job. The only main request was to make sure that one of the images accentuated the brewing aspect of BDRB, so Adrian opted to shoot the bottle sitting on top of a wooden barrel in a graphic cellar environment (with dust / small cellar window highlights), to insinuate that the drink is created as stated on the label.
On set, Adrian was able to execute his ideas through his plethora of strategies that comes along with being a seasoned still life photographer familiar with shooting liquids. Though he had much freedom, the client was still very much involved with the details when they were on set together.
When looking at the final images from the shoot, the beer bottle on the barrel looks as if it were effortlessly made all in one shot. But in reality, several exposures had to be made to accomplish the different lighting elements that were needed. On top of that, the glow of the liquid also had to be photographed separately from the crisp highlights in the condensation and the bottle, and combined together in post production with the exposures of the lightly floating dust in the air. Root beer is essentially black like any other cola, so in order to present it as a warm, amber color, Adrian needed massive amounts of light to power through the liquid. Using multiple Broncolor Scoro S 3200 powerpacks and shooting on a high aperture of f/22, he popped the strobes several times within one exposure to bring out the beautiful glow we see in the final images. To prevent flare, a fairly complicated set up of flags had to be employed.
In the root beer float image, the bubbly foam building up on the edge of the glass was executed like a science by the skilled stylist he had on set, who devoted several days in preproduction to craft the perfect foam, bubbles and floating ice cream.