Portrait of a Brewer Part 1 of 2 - Bonneville Brewery

Magazine issue featuring beer and the people that brew it? I am in... Here is a bts look on how I went about capturing portraits of head brewer Dave Watson at Bonneville Brewery. And Hoppers Grill (& Brewing Co.‘s Donovan Steele. in Part 2 of 2).


Before each shoot, I was told the date and time available to the perspective brewers to capture a portrait. I pack my lighting equipment and upon driving to each location and inspecting the shooting area available.

1st up... Bonneville Brewing

Upon arriving, parking in the rear of the restaurant/brewery and entering the loading door, the first room available being used for supply and storage (pictured). Not exactly what I am looking for but have to look around more. 

First room/entryway to the brewery area. Bonneville Brewing.

After getting past the next wall you are opened to a small staircase and then a room full of vats and a brewing equipment. I knew that this room was obviously the one to shoot in. 

 Brewing vats, brewery floor. Bonneville Brewing.

Brewing vats, brewery floor. Bonneville Brewing.


I tell the brewer I am going to set up my light and then place him in a couple spots for a shot.

I set up a small light stand and attach my speedlight, battery pack (for quick recycle) and place them in a 31.5" Octagon Umbrella Softbox.

I want to capture the range of the room, I only need 1 final shot to be used, but a variety is always the best route. I spot a huge vat where the by product is being shoveled out, the tall vats towards the rear window(pictured) and the row of shorter vats on my left.


I take a test shot as the brewer scrapes out the remnants of the vat, but instantly see that the overall composition is... A bit boring. I get to my knees for another shot and then climb a small set of stairs for the next, introducing more context and interest in the shot.


Next shots, I want to include that sweet paddle, shovel tool that he was using. I ask him to strike a casual pose, only suggesting holding the tool or standing it to the side.

The tall vats in the rear are my first backgroud, and again I take a lower pov to accentuate the height and the glare off of the metal.

The next and final shot I move the brewer forward about ten feet and move myself to the right, I get a view of the row now behind my subject moving away, giving depth to the shot.


I have my images that I need to submit for this new Beer Issue, I thank Dave for his time and pack up my things.

Here are the final result below.


Canon 6D

BE SURE TO CHECK OUT Part 2 of 2!! With Brewer Donovan Stele from Hoppers Brewery. Coming soon!




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