Have you ever attempted to capture the elegance of a wine bottle in a photograph, only to find yourself grappling with reflections, distortion, and other challenges?

Despite its seemingly straightforward nature, wine bottle photography can be surprisingly intricate and demanding. From managing reflections to selecting the right equipment and perfecting post-production techniques, achieving stunning wine bottle shots requires attention to detail and a touch of finesse.

To embark on this photographic journey, let's first address the common hurdles encountered when photographing wine bottles. Reflections pose a significant obstacle, often manifesting as unwanted glares from surrounding lights, equipment, or even the photographer themselves.

Additionally, lens distortion can distort the bottle's shape, detracting from its elegance and allure. But fear not; with the right approach and equipment, these challenges can be overcome.

Prepping the Bottles!

Preparation is key to successful wine bottle photography. Begin by meticulously prepping the bottles, ensuring they are free from fingerprints and dust, and wear gloves! This attention to detail will set the stage for flawless images.

When it comes to equipment, selecting the appropriate lens and focal length is crucial. Opt for a lens with minimal distortion to accurately capture the bottle's proportions and curves.

Start with the Right Equipment

Begining with the right equipment right fromo the get-go will save a lot of frustration. When I first learned to do wine bottle photography, I watched YouTube videos, then I spoke with a photographer who also just happened to rent out space and equipment to other photographers, then I booked a time slot to practice. It cost me a few hundred dollars to do it but it certainly paid off and now I have my own mobile studio.

To control reflections, use strobe lights positioned strategically on either side of the bottle. Using strip box light modifiers helps create soft, diffused reflections that enhance the bottle's appearance without overpowering the scene. Placing diffusion material between the wine bottles and strobe lights further softens reflections, resulting in a polished and professional look.

Furthermore, I use a third flash (a speedlight) to light the wine bottle labels.

Planning Your Setting

Are you setting up a lifestyle scene or are you wanting a plain textured background? For example, in this photoshoot, I chose three plain textured backdrops as my client needed three photos for their wine club web page, one for each wine club tier. There needed to be consistency and the focus needed to be on the bottles themselves.

I chose backgrounds of varying shades that complemented the bottles without stealing the spotlight. The lighter backdrop represented the lower tier, the mid-tone backdrop represented the middle tier, and the deep tone represented the premium tier.

Props also add visual interest and context to the photograph, but be mindful not to overwhelm the composition. The focus should remain on the beauty of the bottle itself. In these photos I chose props that I thought would represent the quality of each tier.

Camera Settings

As you prepare to capture the shot, pay careful attention to camera and flash settings. I always shoot manual and I always use a tripod for these kinds of photoshoots to ensure stability and consistency throughout the shoot.

Labels and bottles need to be well lit and sharp so I use an off-camera speedlight and an 5.6 f-stop. Experiment with different angles and perspectives to find the most flattering views of the bottle.

In post-production, fine-tune your images using software like Adobe Lightroom. Adjustments such as color correction and exposure can enhance the overall aesthetic of the photograph. For more advanced editing, turn to Photoshop to remove any artifacts, reflections, or distractions that may detract from the final image.


Mastering wine bottle photography requires patience, precision, and a keen eye for detail. By addressing challenges such as reflections, distortion, and composition, you can elevate your images from ordinary to extraordinary. With the right equipment, techniques, and post-production skills, you'll be well-equipped to capture the beauty and elegance of wine bottles in stunning photographs.