Women Behind the Lens in Craft Beer Photography
While there has been a significant amount of discussion about how women should or should not be portrayed in advertising and social media, it’s refreshing to focus on women behind the lens. By browsing social media these days, it’s easy for a craft beer enthusiast to discover numerous examples of their work, and that’s great news for an industry that greatly struggles with equality. Women are involved in every aspect of the craft-beer business, and photography serves as an excellent demonstration of how their efforts have provided a boost to the entire industry.
The following highlights just a few of the professionals helping to advance the craft beer scene with their photography.
Current city: Bristol, Connecticut
Social media handles: @BeautyOfTheBeer // @Lissaj09
Currently drinking: Marlowe Artisan Ales, Eager to Share
What’s your background in beer, photography and beer photography? Pictures mean a lot to me, I remember regularly pulling the photo albums off the shelf at my Grandmother’s house, flipping through the sepia-toned images of her life and her travels completely fascinated with the way her world was documented among the pages. Those images instilled a desire to both travel and document my moments. When I was 12 she gave me my first camera and I’ve been snapping photos of everything ever since.
Ommegang Brewing Company in Cooperstown, NY was my first exposure to the craft beer world. It was a handful of miles away from where I went to college and was the first to influence my appetite for better beer. As the years passed and the desire to seek out other craft breweries grew, my partner Eric, and I began to make it a weekend habit of getting into the car and heading off to explore. As we discovered new cities and breweries, I recognized an opportunity to document our travels in hopes that others could also find their way to some often unexplored areas of the craft beer world. And thus my passion for beer, photography and social media converged.
What’s your favorite subject matter (photojournalism, portraits, etc.)? While I’ve focused largely on still life in my beer photos, my passion lies in documenting moments in time and I’m working hard to do that with my beer photography as well. I want to create images that convey the craft beer experience and comradery within it.
Preferred locations to shoot for beer-related work? The simplest answer is anywhere near a large window or outdoors in the late evening light.
In a more physical sense, I’d say Austin Street Brewing in Portland, Maine. There’s a perfect combination of bright natural light and great beer there that presents a beautiful summer mood that I think of when Maine comes to mind.
Favorite trends in beer photography? Breweries are coming around to the idea that good photography matters and are therefore hiring professionals to help promote their product. I really appreciate a good photo on social media from a brewery.
What would you like to see more of in beer photography? The people involved with the evolution of the beer and can in my hand. I hope that each of the people involved in getting the can to its destination are highlighted for the work they do.
What/who motivates you to take better pictures? Steph of @Mulvatronn, Kristen of @Craft.Sessions, Cory of @Cory_s_Smith and Julie of @CraftBeerDeer are my major beer photography crushes. I always look to them for inspiration and the reason I constantly push myself to be better.
Advice for amateurs? Don’t give up, religiously follow the people that you admire and try to leverage some of the things you learn from the composition of their photos, the lighting techniques they may be using and try to identify any themes in the things you like about the photos that stand out to you. Maybe you like a dark space with a touch of light on your beer or perhaps you love that bright white space that gives everything a fresh and vibrant feeling. Whatever it is, just keep shooting and you’ll find your groove.
What’s your background in beer, photography and beer photography? Way back in the olden days before digital, I actually got into photography shooting film. Originally, I was far more interested in photojournalism – even making it one of my majors. But after college, I lucked into a product photography job and fell in love with it. Craft beer came way later. Technically, I’d been working as a commercial product photographer professionally for over a decade before I photographed my first beer. It’s only in the last year that beer photography has become my day job.
What’s your favorite subject matter (photojournalism, portraits, etc.)? That’s an impossible question. Though most of my photos are either e-commerce or editorial, I love all styles of photography, especially photojournalistic ones.
Preferred locations to shoot for beer-related work? Since almost all of my beer photos are studio shots, I do most of my work at home. Specifically, I do most of my shoots in my living room since my new roommate (my girlfriend’s cat – who is not the biggest fan of mine) has now commandeered my home office/studio.
Favorite trends in beer photography? I love how creative people are getting with their photos. Whether it’s beautiful flat lays, crazy splash shots, or gorgeous styled portraits, I’m constantly impressed with people’s creativity and dedication.
What would you like to see more of in beer photography? Breweries understanding that quality photography is as important as quality label design. In this day and age, photography and social media/marketing are supremely important and should be compensated as such.
What/who motivates you to take better pictures? Artwork is so amazing these days! I’m constantly inspired by can and bottle labels. Designers do not get enough credit. As a visual person, I’ve often purchased beer just because I like the can design.
Advice for amateurs? Get a camera and experiment! Youtube videos are a great place to dive in. Or just get weird and try things out. The advent of digital photography has allowed for experimentation. Take advantage of that!
Current City: Buffalo, NY
Social media handles: @craftbeerdeer
Website: (under construction)
Currently drinking: @attaboybeer The Rube Saison
What’s your background in beer, photography, and beer photography? I’ve always had a camera around my neck. I shot everything – just for fun. About 7 years ago my boyfriend introduced me to craft beer, and I loved exploring all of the different styles. I started to take photos of it, but I had nothing to do with them. He was the one to suggest I start a beer Instagram. I was kinda early to the scene, so there weren’t a lot of beer accounts at the time.
What’s your favorite subject matter (photojournalism, portraits, etc.)? I shoot everything – weddings, real estate, portraits, events, but beer is my favorite.
Preferred locations to shoot for beer-related work? I’m most energized to shoot in beautiful breweries, restaurants/bars, and Airbnbs.
Favorite trends in beer photography? It’s always fun to see when people get creative and play off the can art.
What would you like to see more of in beer photography? Storytelling images. More than just a can and a glass. I’d like to get a feel for the whole scene of where the beer was enjoyed. A mood to go along with the brew.
What/who motivates you to take better pictures? Most of my inspiration/creativity comes from my surroundings. Traveling to a new place or the perfect lighting. The photographers behind @mattthelist, @drinkinmoderation, @postmarkbrewing and @allagashbrewing are some inspirational accounts that come to mind.
Advice for amateurs? Use Natural light! A little post production to enhance your image. If you don’t want to pay monthly for an app like photoshop or lightroom, snapseed or vsco can offer some of the same controls for free. Also, keep your feed consistent. Find the look you like with your edits and stick with it.
Jackie Dodd Mallory
Current city: Seattle, WA
Social media handles: @TheBeeroness
Currently drinking: Lately, I’ve been really into sessionable beers and sours, which are also often sessionable. A good Gose during a summertime pandemic makes it all just a little easier!
What’s your background in beer, photography and beer photography? I’ve written three cooking with beer cookbooks, all hit #1 on Amazon’s bestseller list at one point. I’ve been photographing beer for 8 years, and I’ve been a contributing photographer to countless online and print publications, as well as my own books and a few books I didn’t write.
What’s your favorite subject matter (photojournalism, portraits, etc.)? Abandoned buildings. I know it’s weird, but I love a good abandoned space. When I was living in LA there were so many within driving distance, I find them hauntingly beautiful and a reminder that life goes on, no matter what. Second favorite is bars, I love the energy and the people, and the ability to capture even a split second of a moment of people connecting over a favorite beverage is addictive.
Preferred locations to shoot for beer-related work? I almost always shoot in my garage. The light is good and I have a little set up there with my props and backdrops, but I vastly prefer shooting in a brewery taproom. Actual brewing spaces are a lot harder to photograph, almost no natural light and lots of overhead fluorescents, but taprooms are usually so fun to shoot in, plus there’s beer so that’s a win.
Favorite trends in beer photography? I really love how some people are doing amazing photoshop images with crazy amazing concepts. It’s not in my wheelhouse, but I love what some people can pull off. I’m much more of a lifestyle photographer, but I’m always so impressed by people who can pull of these insane images that I could never even conceptualize.
What would you like to see more of in beer photography? I love a good product shot, but I love the behind the scenes, the hard work the brewers do, everything it takes to get a beer from concept to can. I’d love more images of the process.
What/who motivates you to take better pictures? I love the images that @craftbeerdeer puts out, so beautiful. I’m always really impressed with the conceptual stuff that @elitraks does. I also love the emotion that’s in everything that @cory_s_smith shoots.
Advice for amateurs? Just keep going. Keep learning and keep asking yourself what you want to learn next and how you want to improve. It’s never over, there is always something more to learn, you just have to keep going.
Feature image photo credit: Julie Roesser.