When it comes to planning a top-tier, quality photo shoot, photographers are always looking for unique, interesting ways to make their pictures stand out.
While there are plenty of tricks, filters, and gimmicks on the market, there’s nothing that makes a photo session pop quite like adding a little bubbly to the mix!
Whether you’re shooting an engagement session or taking a quick grad shoot, popping champagne photos can be a fun, light-hearted way to celebrate one of the happiest moments of your client’s life.
In order to get this right, however, it’s important to ensure that you’ve got the right camera settings to bring the image to life.
Appropriate camera settings can mean the difference between a vibrant glamour shot and a photo that just falls flat.
To keep yourself in the former camp, let’s consider the options and take a look at the best camera settings for popping champagne.
Bring the Right Camera
First things first, an artist is only as good as the tools they work with.
While there are plenty of advanced cameras on the market, we suggest checking the specs to ensure that your camera can pull off this often tricky shot.
Cameras with an extended ISO range are recommended, as well as those that can provide sufficient aperture priority for capturing these types of images.
While you don’t need to break the bank on an expensive new toy, it’s an absolute must to bring a camera that can provide the dynamic range necessary for high-speed photographs.
Shoot in Manual
Since you will need to account for lighting, movement, and overall composition, your camera settings should allow you to have full control over the images being taken.
Shooting in manual is the only way to ensure that you can manage every aspect of the shot.
If you’re not comfortable shooting in manual, it’s a good idea to take a few practice shots before hosting your session.
Trust us, the flexibility and control that comes with shooting in manual will be just what you need to perfectly capture the big moment.
Use a Faster Shutter Speed
In order to pull off this dazzling photo op, getting the shutter speed right can make or break your shoot.
For this reason, we’ll caution you not to make the rookie mistake of attempting this trick with your shutter speed set too low.
1/500th of a second should be the ideal shutter speed to help you capture that perfect image of champagne flowing from the bottle.
With a quick change using the shutter button, you’ll be able to prevent any unwanted blur and create a clear, well-defined image of your client’s joy during their session.
Lower Your ISO
You will also want to decrease your ISO sufficiently in order to block out additional noise and keep the focus on their candid reactions.
While avoiding noise is key in any photo shoot, it’s even more important when taking complicated action shots like these.
Reducing noise is also particularly helpful when the background of the photo is less than ideal. This way, instead of stressing about creating the perfect composition, you can direct all eyes to your desired focal point.
Popping Champagne for Photos
In addition to choosing the right camera settings, it’s essential to make sure that you’ve got the best possible composition to work with.
After all, even the most ideal camera settings can’t adjust for your clients ending up covered in cheap champagne bubbles (oops!).
In order to prepare the perfect shot, you’ll want to give the couples a few tips for uncorking the bottle to create the best image.
Pro-tip: Uncork the champagne bottle first, then allow your clients to use their thumb as a makeshift cork.
For the lead-up to spraying champagne, it’s best to make sure that they keep the business end of the bottle away from their face.
Holding the bottle at a 45-degree angle, they can shake it back and forth, and feel free to let the bubbly flow to their heart’s content!
Bring Multiple Bottles
Even when you adjust your camera settings and prepare accordingly, there’s still a chance that things will go south on the first try.
Give yourself some wiggle room by bringing an extra bottle or two; after all, if everything goes well, you’ve got a little extra bubbly for yourself!
Clear the Area
Naturally, popping champagne can be a bit of a messy job, so you want to make sure that there are no bystanders in the line of fire.
If you’re shooting in a public space, we’d suggest creating a perimeter at least 10 feet wide around your clients to give them ample room to let the foam fly.
Leave No Trace
Another tip for shooting in public areas is to make sure that you pick up any debris left over from the session.
In order to leave the space relatively untouched, you’ll want to grab the champagne cork and bottle on your way out to go edit your stunning photos.