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13 Oct 2013

I had always wanted to try taking pictures of liquid pouring into a glass (e.g. wine pouring), but shun away from it as I am concerned with the mess that I would create during the photograph shoot and the clean-up after that - especially when I had to do this all by myself. It was raining a couple of days back, and that give me the perfect excuse to stay indoor and try out wine pouring photography.

Red Wine or Ribena?

It wasn't difficult for me to scramble a wine glass and several bottles of red wine from my house. However, I was considering whether I should use actual red wine and waste it. I ended up with the decision to use Ribena in place of red wine. 

I spent some time "concocting" the Ribena drink to be as closely matched to the color of red wine, although I know that the textual and density would not match. I bottled the Ribena drink into an empty wine bottle so as to simulate the flow of the pour from a bottle as close as possible.

The Setup and Equipment

Having taken fruit splashes before, I pretty much had an idea on how my setup will be. The following shows my eventual setup:

In order to have a completely clean white background, both my Bowens strobes were placed against a white backdrop. I also had a fill light to the right of my camera just to illuminate the transparent wine glass and wine poured from being "wash-out" by the strong background light.

I pre-focused my lens on the spot where the wine glass will be held, set my camera to the following setting: ISO100, F16 and 1/200s.

I also placed a big round bucket directly below the position where I would be pouring the "red wine" so as to catch any spills. In addition, I had standby mobs and cloths as well.

Additionally, I attached my camera to my MacBook Pro, so that I can see what is being taken from the wine pouring position.

Practicing the "Wine" Pouring

I do not have any suitable clamps that could hold the wine glass firmly in a slant position that I wanted, so it means that I've to manually hold the wine glass and do the pouring. Before the shooting, I spent some time practicing the pouring of water into the wine glass the toilet. It was all wet ...

I had to adjust the height of the pour and practice when to stop so that it does not spill all over the place.
As I had to stay out of the picture frame, I had to practice pouring from a awkward position holding both the wine glass and bottle without being caught in the picture frame (see illustration below).

With this position, I had to adjust the height of the pour so that I get the splash in the wine glass that I wanted, and knowing when to stop pouring so that it does not spill all over the place. It was also quite tiring to hold the wine bottle and doing the pouring from this position.

The Shooting Process

Once I was confident after my practices, I proceed on with the shooting. With both hands busy with the wine glass and bottle, I had to trigger my camera with a wired remote using my toe on the floor (amazing but can be done).

I must say that the entire shooting was quite smooth, with only little spills such as the picture below. It took me about 20 shots, just to filter out 4 shots that could make it. Although it would be more ideal to see a longer stream flowing into the wine glass, but I think it is not too bad for a first try considering that I had to do the pouring by myself and avoid my arms from being captured in the picture.

Cleaning Up The Mess

It was sticky all over especially when Ribena was used. I had to mob the floor, and carefully clean all my equipments to make sure that they don't attract ants when I store them away :) Although it was tiring and lots of work, but it was especially rewarding to see the outcome of the pictures taken.


In the post-processing, I only have minor touch up such as cropping away the hand holding the glass, adjusting the contrast and making the "red" wine looks more saturated in color.

Please visit to see the photos in higher resolution ...