Bombay Sapphire, a sparkle in your party!

Posted on December 5, 2016

Bombay sapphire_nespressococktail_phil sills photographyYou know for sure that Christmas is on its way when in September, you’re booked in to shoot a fabulous New Year’s Eve drinks party!  Now, I will freely admit – no secrets here – I like a good gin and tonic as much as the next man (or woman) so it was, you might say “a double measure of liquid pleasure” to find myself an integral part of an Instagram campaign for Bombay Sapphire.  That’s the great thing about being a drinks photographer – getting to shoot fun things, whether in the studio or on location. There’s no doubt I’m someone who really loves his job.

Over the years, I’ve made a speciality of refining and continually improving the unique techniques needed for drinks photography in the studio. Partly because it’s an environment that’s totally under your control – as is the time you put into it, so there’s a great degree of comfort in working that way. However, when it comes to excitement and adrenaline-fuelled challenges, you simply can’t beat a location shoot, when what’s under your control often amounts to very little indeed. This was the case with the Bombay Sapphire location shoot which in addition had more than a little lifestyle thrown in. Talk about pushing the envelope, testing your nerve and stepping right out of your comfort zone –I loved every minute of it.

The day before my shoot there was a moving image campaign taking place, and so the whole gig had been set up by a production company and I mean they’d sorted everything – location, drinks mixologist, stylist and props, product, ice, models and wardrobe. You name it, it was all there, present and correct and looking great.  I felt like a kid let loose in a sweet shop, as if all my Christmases had come at once. With all this laid on for us, we needed to take best advantage and make sure we had all our kit and lighting exactly where we wanted it to get the best results. It was a great example of team work with each of the experts in their own field, making sure everything was where it should be, when it should be and how it should be.

Naturally, with the scene setting being a party, most of the images were pushing an evening or night-time feel, so it fell to my assistants to immediately get busy, blocking out the sunlight to achieve the mood. The style of the images had been pre-set by the director, giving us a clearly defined colour palette and route that I needed to follow to maintain the Bombay Sapphire brand style guide lines. It was a busy, albeit jolly shoot, with not too many minutes to spare and our time flew past. In fact, it was only sheer determination and hard work that ensured we finished the final image bang on 6pm, at which point the whole crew were literally packing up around us in an effort to get an astonishing amount of stuff out and into the waiting lorry.

It was a great buzz to be involved in a large scale location production even if I had little time to stop and think while it was all going on. I’m confident though that the team effort that went into the shoot very successfully captured the party atmosphere the client was after.  And best thing of all?  I got to take home a bottle of Bombay Sapphire.  I know. . . I am easily pleased. Happy Christmas!


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