It’s the most wonderful time of the year…..

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Now for many of you, this is a seasonal holiday song made popular by both Andy Williams and Johnny Mathis  However, for the Stoutwhisperer and many other Stout lovers, the most wonderful time of the year is now.  It’s Stout season and we will raise our Stout glass this Thursday, November 1, by StoutDay-Untappd-2018celebrating International Stout Day!.  The traditional beer calendar associates Fall with cooler temperatures and the transition to darker, stronger, more warming beers….and that’s the obvious sweet spot of Stouts!  Stouts from every brewery are either brewed or, if they are barrel aged, they are awakened from their boozy slumber to be bottled, canned, or kegged.  Stouts are being released almost every day of the week….and Stout lovers are standing in lines for those hard to get releases.  For some, entire “Days” (or weekends) are being held – take a look at Surly Brewing and their Darkness Day extravaganza!  Perhaps the most2018-09-29_15-14-32_068 well known release is yet to come, with Goose Island releasing their Bourbon Country Brand Stout and variants being released on Black Friday!

For me, it’s a time to celebrate the Stout!  I may be biased, but I think Stout lovers are the most ardent and dedicated devotees of any style of beer!  Tell me what you will be doing to celebrate International Stout Day!  I believe I will have a Stout to salute and honor the most Stoutstanding style of beer!  Go to your local brewery or bottleshop and enjoy your favorite Stout!  Leave me a comment and let me know what you will be drinking to celebrate International Stout Day!

 

Stoutography

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When I decided to share my interest and passion for Stouts with the rest of the world, I didn’t realize the level of photographic genius that would be required.  Looking at Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, Facebook and all of the other social media options, it’s clear that there are those who have a knack for craftbeer photography and people like me who don’t.  I aspire to have the level of creativity and natural talent that some have.  I just put the bottle and glass in the frame, take a picture and post it.  However, there is so much more than that….and I need help!   Fortunately and thankfully the iPhone generation takes care of that…because there’s an app for that!!  I’ve been having fun with two specific  applications, Prisma and Color Splash.  Prisma is an app that takes a photo and converts it into a specific photographic motif.  Color Splash takes a photo, converts it into black and white, and gives the user the opportunity to add color back to any area of the photo.

I struggle with props, backgrounds, and themes – that’s why I envy those social media posters who have the natural ability to “know” what colors work or what backgrounds or settings work best with a bottle or glass of Stout….or any beer for that matter.  I try and learn from each photo….and hopefully can apply it to my Stoutography!

Here are some examples of how a normal picture can morph using the iPhone apps.  Here is a picture I took today of the Goose Island Bourbon County Brand Coffee Stout that I enjoyed.  Next to that is the Prisma interpretation using their “Old Fashioned” motif….

Prisma has about 20 different motifs that you can convert a picture into….it’s a fun, innovative and creative way to present a somewhat regular photo.  It’s free and highly recommended!

Here is a similar picture using Color Splash.  The picture on the left was converted to all black and white and I then added back the color to the label and the “EAT” sign in the background:

It helps to bring the intended subject to the forefront.  It’s a real easy app to use and I plan to use it more in the future!   One note – the iOS version costs $0.99 but I think it a worthwhile investment for something that works so well.

There are numerous other iPhone and Android apps to help the novice craft beer photographer, but there are many other tips and tricks that can be used with requiring an app.  Using an appropriate background and picture specific props can really make a normal picture become great.  For example, the Bourbon County Brand Coffee Stout picture could have been naturally enhanced had I put some coffee beans around the bottle or had I used some type of red background to compliment the label and to make the full glass of stout stand out.

Here’s a couple of pictures where I tried to use props to enhance the photos.  The one on the left just happened to coincide with the first snow of the year in North Carolina.  I thought the white snow would be an excellent backdrop to the dark stout and the blue logo.  I think the snow makes the Stout really stand out!   The one on the right was taken during the holiday season and I wanted to highlight the red label against the red and gold holiday decorations.  The red and gold coloring gives out a warmth to the picture that I think works well.

I’ve also tried a couple of outdoor shots and got real lucky on this one:

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I really like the sun streaming from between the branches of the trees…it was a unique feature that I didn’t expect and most likely will have a hard time ever recreating!

The next photo that seemed to get some notoriety is the one where I lined up my TenFidy purchase from the Barrel-Aged and Java Barrel-Aged TenFidy release event in Brevard, NC.  I tend to think that this got some love because of the excess of it all and the uniqueness of having all of those stovepipe beers stacked like that!

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The last example I’ll share with you is the value of having a “model” with the beer.  In this case, it’s Bella our black pug dog who, on occasion, has photobombed a couple of my shots.  She wouldn’t move from the shot so I decided to take it with her in the picture!  The funny part about it is if I try to have her actually pose for a shot, she won’t do it!

Creativity is key in successful craft beer photos.  While the run of the mill bottle/can plus a filled glass photo is nice to document the experience, it doesn’t really communicate anything else.  Having the imagination and creativity to somehow apply or connect the beer to something else in this crazy world is what makes the picture interesting to others.

If you post craft beer photos in the world of social media, I urge you to use your creativity and artistic background to search for that craft beer picture.  Don’t be afraid to try something new or different.

Let’s go on this craft beer photographic journey together…follow @stoutwhisperer on both Twitter and Instagram!  If you follow me, I’ll follow you right back.  Feel free to share any tips, tricks, or suggestions with us that work for you when taking Stout or any other craft beer pictures!