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Milk Stout from Left Hand Brewery | Commercial Beer Photography

Milk Stout from Left Hand Brewing Company

How to Cut the Bottom off a Beer Bottle Video.

An Amazing American Stout | Left Hand Brewing

The story of Left Hand Brewing Company out of Colorado is an all too familiar story of modern day micro breweries, It all started making small batches of home brew . Here it is right from their about us section of their website :

Our story started in December of 1990 with a small homebrewers kit. Dick Doore, the co-founder of Left Hand, received the kit as a Christmas present from his brother. According to Dick, “it was all downhill from there.” His obsession with homebrewing led him back to Colorado in August of 1993, where he met up with a former college buddy and soon-to-be Left Hand co-founder, Eric Wallace.

It didn’t take the two long to start brewing beer. Dick had been homebrewing for years, and Eric had traveled extensively internationally, seeking out great beers wherever and whenever he could. After brewing several batches that impressed their friends and lucky neighbors, they became more confident in their craft. It was only after drinking quite a lot of really good dry stout that Eric had brewed that they had their epiphany: “Let’s start a brewery.”

A few weeks later, in September of 1993, we incorporated as Indian Peaks Brewing Company, in honor of the serrated ridges and jagged peaks of the Indian Peaks wilderness that you can see nearby. Then the search for the location was on from Golden to Loveland. In November of that year, home became a former meat packing plant nestled next to the St. Vrain River near downtown Longmont. In just a few weeks, the brewery was starting to take shape, labels were being produced, and kegs and bombers were purchased. The place was hopping. However, the euphoria was quickly sidelined when a conflict of interest surrounding the brewery name surfaced. Indian Peaks was being used by another brewery for a beer style. So, not wanting to start off on the wrong foot, we quickly changed the name of the company to Left Hand, in honor of Chief Niwot, whose tribe wintered in the local area. (The name Left Hand is derived from the southern Arapahoe word “Niwot” meaning left hand.)

Micro Brewery Project at RGG Photo

A few months back we set out on a mission to highlight some of our favorite beers around the USA that have a unique bottle design, label, and/or flavor profile. This is the first installment of this monthly blog episode where we highlight a unique micro brewery and a specific line of beer. The folks at Left Hand were gracious enough to send us a couple cases of beer to play with.

Milk Stout is best served cold, real cold, and unlike most other beers, the beer is supposed to be poured hard, directly into the glass upside down. This goes against traditional careful and slow pouring. Knowing this, we built a set that complimented the ice cold and pour hard concept. 

"With Milk Stout Nitro, the Longmont company became the first craft brewer in the nation to gas one of its beers with a blend of carbon dioxide and nitrogen. As a result, the rich stout pours creamy and thick out of the bottle, with bubbles that cascade up from the bottom, just like it would if it were being drawn from a nitrogen-infused tap at a bar."-westword.com

Luckily we had exactly 3 beers left over out of 24 to try. They were indeed delicious and incredibly smooth. Overall we had a blast concepting this beer image and are looking forward to this project. We even found a new way to cut the bottom off of a bottle. This was beyond fun and totally random. Check out the video for details.


If you have any micro brewery suggestions for us to shoot, please send an e-mail to gary(AT)rggphoto.com. Keep an eye out next month for an image from us about Urban Chestnut Brewing Company.

Cheers, 

RGG Photo Chicago and St. Louis Commercial Photography

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Middle School Creative Writing Field Trip

30 Teenagers Invade RGG Photo

Every year, a good friend Ted Ibur brings his creative writing class to the St. Louis RGG studio as an example of a creative industry profession, and creative atmosphere to work in. It's great to talk to the youth of today and guage what's driving their creativity and where they draw inspiration from. We talked about film, which you can imagine the look of bewilderment of what that is, the early days of digital, and even the iPhone's power now compared to the first digital cameras. The kid's heard Rob talk about the creative process, working with creatives, and the process of creative epic shots for advertisements. Afterwards they were encouraged to find a nook and write for a 1/2 hour. Here are some iPhone shots of the whole ordeal. 

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Working with Creative Directors | The Photographer's Role

Working WITH Creative Directors in the creative process

In this 2 minute video excerpt, Rob Grimm touches on the importance of the photographer's role on a photo shoot for a brand's campaign. The photography of a campaign is just a small portion of the work being done to enhance a brand's image and appeal and the photographer should know that. For the entire interview, click HERE.

Chicago and St. Louis Commercial Photography

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Commercial Shoe Photography | Naturalizer from Brown Shoe

St. Louis Commercial Shoe Photo Shoot

Above are some of tear sheers we received from Brown Shoe Company, based here in St. Louis. These are for their Naturalizer Spring catalogue of women's shoes. Shooting shoes is always a great challenge and a great exercise of white and black cards and  meticulous lighting. Then there is always the patent leather shoes that rarely cooperate rendering strange highlights where there shouldn't be, which is always a challenge. We had a blast shooting this catalogue and can't wait for the next one.

Chicago and St. Louis Commercial Photography

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Chicago & St. Louis Commercial Photography

St. Louis Commercial Speaker Shoot

At a photo shoot for Klipsch speakers, we got to use an amazing penthouse type condo with a spacious 2000 sq. ft. porch overlooking St. Louis with everything you could possibly want. This could be one of the coolest bachelor pads we've used on a shoot. The outdoor patio area had a TV man-cave great for watching the game and grilling with friends. Out of the sun yet still technically outdoors, this is one kick ass roof top. 

Chicago and St. Louis Commercial Photography

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Commercial Watch Photography and Photoshop Retouching

RGG Photo + Phlearn Pro Tutorial

Here is a preview into a Pro Tutorial we made with Phlearn. If you haven't heard of Phlearn, they are dedicated to teaching you the workflow and techniques into becoming the best retoucher you can possibly be. Phlearn makes the most complex techniques simple with innovate methods and tricks to Adobe Photoshop. If you are at any level of Photoshop, there are relevant tutorials for you.

For a link to purchase this Full Length Pro Tutorial, click HERE. We go into every step in lighting, composition, workflow, and retouching. 

Chicago and St. Louis Commercial Photography

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Phlearn & RGG Photo | 2 Days in May Video

Behind the Scenes - The Making of Pro Tutorials

Here is a behind the scenes look at a collaboration between RGG Photo and Phlearn to create 2 Pro tutorials highlighting concept, composition, lighting, and photoshop retouching for commercial photography. Check out Phlearn.com for the best photoshop tutorials on the internet.

Chicago and St. Louis Commercial Photography

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How To Print an Awesome Commercial Photography Portfolio

Portfolio Printing

The only thing better than pizza and beer is pizza, beer, and tequila. This is especially true when said tequila is Espolon. It's portfolio printing week here at RGG and we've been busy printing, thinking, and re-printing. Above is a layout we used as part of our new PDF and print portfolio, which we spent the past 2 days printing on our Epson Pro 3800. Printing a portfolio takes more time than you'd think. A lot of energy and consideration goes into pagination, pairings, and overall content of you book. It's the final process, the end game, and a powerful tool that is used to get new work. Having said that, we don't take this process lightly or quickly.

Below is a step by step look at printing our portfolio. At our studio, we currently use the company Lost Luggage for our glass frosted portfolios at 11x14 portrait double sided.

Step 1. Print out all of your images in about the same size and same dimensions. We typically do this with 4 1/2 inch wide images and lay them out on the table. These prints can be low res off any printer that you have available. You will want to make sure the tones are somewhat accurate, though. Pairing images based off similar tone is critical so having a decently accurate printer is important. Don't rush this step and make sure to get second opinions on the images you picked.

Step 2. Start making pairings based off of tone and content. Put images together and see what tones complement each other. For us, we try to pair images that have complimentary tones but are different in terms of content. And when we say different, we mean not too similar and not too different. For our portfolio, we print each image at 11x14 making the entire spread 22x14. This is especially critical when shooting images as well. Always be thinking to yourself, will this fit into my book, and how? Once you have the approximate amount of images, tape these image pairings together and flip through each page. If you are printing a one sided portfolio then don't worry too much about this step. Again, make sure to get a second opinion on the pagination and image pairings. 

Step 3. Consider pagination. Pagination is a lot like writing an essay. At the end of each paragraph, your content should begin to introduce the next topic or paragraph for a smooth transition into the next idea. Think of each page in your book as a paragraph. Each page layout should compliment your next page layout. Whether it's with tone or similar content, each page should flow smooth between the previous and take you on a journey through the book. This is one of the most time consuming parts, so prepare this to take you at least a day and maybe a week or two. One thing you do want to keep in mind, though, is content that is too similar. For example, in the above tequila shot, we did 2 very different bottles for the client. While the shots were similar, the same lighting was used and the addition of a second shot wouldn't make sense anywhere in the book. While the shot was awesome, the content was too similar and didn't add anything new. If you have images that are too similar, it can actually hurt the impression your book gives. It's like a video reel with the same awesome clip shown too many times, which is super destructive to the overall experience. It may make some want to stop watching. Less is often times more, especially in your book. You want to send a clear and concise message of who you are as a photographer without repeating yourself anywhere.

Step 4. Know your printing settings, color profiles, and printer capabilities front and back. Each type of paper has a specific color profile that you will want to get from the manufacturer. We use a program called ImagePrint that allows us to load each specific profile into the program. It's very expensive to make a mistake in printing, especially when you are printing double sided prints. Whether it's your fault or the printers, it's never fun seeing a print come out in any way other than what you expected. Printing can be a massively frustrating process, even if you know what you are doing and have a pro level printer. There are tons of things that can go wrong including but not limited to the printer not grabbing the paper and aligning it properly, file corruption, user error (a big one), and random faint roller marks. Always buy more ink and paper than you think is necessary to make up for errors and testing. And always make sure you ware watching what is coming out of your printer. It's like a baby, don't leave it unattended plugged into the wall. Also, wear white gloves while printing to preserve the pristine quality of each print. 

Step 5. Work off of a numbered and visual example. We can't stress this enough. If you don't have a visual aid that's numbered, it may open you up to printing the wrong image on the wrong side of the paper or on the wrong image. Re-printing just means more money and time. Each image takes upwards of 4-8 minutes to complete from loading the image into the program to final output. This doesn't take into consideration file preparation, numbering, photo finishing, and you forgetting to que up the next image.

Step 6. Protecting the pages is also very important. We use Moab "Desert Varnish" by legion paper, which is a UV and H2O resistant lacquer that enhances the life of the digital print. This helps protect the images from the greasy muck on everyone's hands. Over time, you want your book to be seen by as many people as possible, right? Unless you want to be reprinting pages due to stains and smudges, make sure to take the extra step and protect each page with 3 coats of Desert Varnish. The stuff is highly toxic and flammable, so make sure to open a window, turn on a fan, and put out your cuban cigar while printing.

Want to see our final PDF portfolio? Click on the link below to view. Want to see Rob Grimm talk about putting together a portfolio in an interview with Arron Nace from Phlearn? Click for the interview HERE.

DOWNLOAD PORTFOLIO HERE

-Gary W. Martin, Studio Manager

Chicago and St. Louis Commercial Photography

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Behind the Scenes Commercial Photography | Cabo Wabo Tequila

Here is a look at a shoot we did in May 2013 for Cabo Wabo. We had to switch gears mid shoot and use Fresnels to create the look we needed with ominous shadows of a tequila bottle. It was the first time, in a long time, we had to have a fire extinguisher on hand.

Chicago and St. Louis Commercial Photography

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Bacardi Tear Sheet | RGG PHOTO

©RGG Photo_ Rob Grimm Photography__www.rggphoto.com-FLV_RockCoconut.jpg

It's Tear Sheet Thursday again, or TST for short. If you are unfamiliar with Tear Sheet Thursday, it's a day that we just made up this morning, just now. It's kind of like Taco Tuesday, bot not as delicious and/or edible. So it's a close second place. 

Chicago and St. Louis Commercial Photography

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Behind the Scenes with Magnet Works | RGG Photo

Here is a shoot we did for an amazing client, Magnet Works. Every shoot we have done with them has been fantastic and gets our studio trashed. And we aren't happy typically without a trashed studio. Also these shoots are great because we get to bring in our amazing St. Louis prop stylist, Vivian Ogier, a seasoned vet in the industry. She is an amazing stylist with an amazing eye for making our sets look great.

We've been ramping up our BTS video as of late and will be publishing more and more videos of behind the scenes both with Phlearn and with our regular shoots. If you would like to be a part of our Chicago and/or St. Louis Behind the Scenes Video production team and learn more about the industry, please send Gary W. Martin an email at gary@rggphoto.com with your credentials.

Music provided by Michael Franco, an amazing producer and musician currently residing in St. Louis. If you have seen any of our other BTS videos, theres a great chance we used his music. Check out his stuff here: www.franco-hill.com

Chicago Commercial Beverage Photography | Rob Grimm

San Pellegrino Commercial Photography with Rob Grimm

San Pellegrino make some very tasty beverages in addition to their bubbly waters if you hadn't noticed. They come in both a can and a bottle, which are both unique in their own way. The bottle, seen above, has a unique bowling pin design with a hammered textured glass feel.

During portfolio week a few months back, we took the Pellegrino bottle,  a variety of clementine oranges, some ice, a few glasses, and a water tank and combined them to make the image seen above, which is comprised of about 13 exposures.

In the process of creating this scene we actually used a black plexiglass for the base, which reflects the background as a mirror. So what you are seeing above is actually a dark black but very reflective piece of plastic. To light the stainless steel background we took blue gels on a pan head and blasted light focused primarily behind the bottle to create an even gradient behind the oranges.

The bottle and glass are each shot separately and composited together. An interesting note on the glass is that it actually has real condensation while the bottle has a unique mixture that we use to create fake ice. This allows us to freeze the bottle, in a sense, and be able to light multiple parts of the bottle with cards and experiment with lighting without worrying about if the ice is moving.

Once we were happy with the images for both the glass and bottle we brought in the fish tank and placed it in the approximate same position as the glass and bottle. From there we focused on creating unique bubble trajectories as the oranges broke the surface of the water. At the end of the day we had over 100 images of oranges flying through the water to choose from.

To find out all of the techniques used in photoshop and in lighting, check out one of our Pro tutorials we did with Phlearn HERE.

Phlearn and RGG Shoot | Day 1 Behind the Scenes

Here are a few pictures of some of the Phlearn and RGG Crew from yesterday's "Hipster's Clean Up" photo shoot with a Burberry Watch. We are creating and filming back to back Pro Tutorials this week here in our Chicago studio based around product and beverage photography.

Our Pro tutorials show the behind the scenes thought process behind shaping light, building sets, working with props, camera settings, lighting diagrams, and the over all workflow. Also we highlight the working relationship and back and forth dialogue between the retoucher and photographer.

Chicago Commercial Pizza Photography

0163 12-311-Plated_Pizza-900px.jpg

It's been a few weeks since our last blog post. This is because we've been hard at work curating new content, and building a new site and blog. Today we are on our way back to Chicago to meet up with the Phlearn guys to film a few new episodes of Commercial Food and Beverage Photography with Rob Grimm.

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Chicago & St. Louis Commercial Food, Beverage, and Product Photography. 

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Part Deux of the Interview with Rob Grimm and Phlearn | Commercial Photography Interview

Here's part two of the interview with Rob Grimm and Aaron Nace from Phlearn. Check it out. We would love to hear from you as well. E-mail, Gary Martin at gary@rggphoto with any questions or requests.

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chicago & st. louis commercial food, beverage, and product photography. 

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www.blog.rggmotion.com

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Tank 7 Beer | Awesome Commercial Beer Photography

We've recently announced a partnership with Phlearn, a Chicago based online company that helps you achieve the impossible in Photoshop. Phlearn's mission is to provide the skills, confidence and encouragement for creative individuals to pursue their dreams, overcome their fears, and live their passions. They provide you with the technical knowledge to make your vision become a reality AND the confidence to craft your art true to your vision. Phlearn offers web based tutorials geared towards retouching commercially grade images from start to finish with custom made brushes, textures, and creative concepts. It's a concept many companies and individuals offer but not even close to this level of creativity, entertainment, and expertise that Phelarn offers. Aaron also makes learning quite entertaining. 

Over the next year, Phlearn and RGG will be tackling not only the roles of the photographer and retoucher, but also producers, assistants, digital techs, creatives, food stylists, etc. It will be a great supplement to new and existing creatives in the industry. If you aren't currently in the industry but would like to learn more about getting your foot in the door, these tutorials will help educate you not only on the technical skills like Photoshop or lighting but also on the intangible knowledge nuggests shared by industry professionals.

The above shot was one of the first collaborations we did with Phearn and retouched by Aaron Nace.

Have a great thursday, now get back to work.

RGG Photo

Chicago & St. Louis Commercial Food, Beverage, and Product Photography. 

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Phlearn Interviews Rob Grimm | RGG Photo

This is part one of a two part interview with Rob from Aaron over at Phlearn.  Since meeting the guys from Phlearn we have been onboard with their creative vision and have since formed a great working realtionship for both learning and teaching. The Phlearners traveled to our St. Louis studio for a few days, where we covered the ins and outs of the cmmercial photography industry, client relationships, and finding your own niche in the photography world. Check out the interview above.

Also, if you missed it, take an exclusive look behind the scenes of Amazing Beer Photography with Rob Grimm

Stay tuned next week for part two of our interview with Rob, where we’ll cover specific images in his book an ask him questions from the Phamily!

Today we have officially released the first of many pro tutorials that we will be doing in partnership with Phlearn. For access to download the entire behind the scnenes video, check out this Pro Tutorial here. We cover the preperation and vision behind making an image of a San Pellegrino bottle.

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Chicago & St. Louis Commercial Food, Beverage, and Product Photography. 

Web - 

www.rggphoto.com

Blog - 

www.blog.rggmotion.com

Chicago Studio - 312-380-9339

St. Louis Studio - 314-652-9797

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