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The Photographer
Lou Manna is an award-winning photographer, author and teacher whose work has appeared in national ad campaigns, major magazines and in more than thirty cookbooks. After shooting for the New York Times from 1975 to 1990, he went on to establish his own Fifth Avenue studio where he works with
corporate, advertising and restaurant clients to create exquisite food images.

The Client
Inocente Tequila.

© Lou Mana

The Assignment
Images to illustrate cocktail recipes at inocente's website.

The Execution
"I shot this image of an inocente Asian –lit with a softbox from the side– using an Olympus DSLR camera with a 100mm macro lens at 1/100 sec at F/16 with an ISO of 100. When the straight-on photographs required for the client's website were finished, I took my camera off the tripod and shot at various
angles to create a different look and feel.

"The overhead angle allowed me to get more of a reflection in the glass and I was able to highlight the glycerin used for the water droplets. I love the contrast of the star anise against the pale color of the drink. We added cinnamon sticks, ginger and more star anise to the surface at one point but it made the shot too cluttered and took away from the beauty and simplicity of the drink itself."

Post Production
"I used Photoshop to tweak the levels and enhance the contrast slightly. I prefer to get my exposure and lighting correct when I shoot."

The Output
"I like the look of the UltraPro Gloss paper this image. When I tested it against other brands it was quite obvious that Arctic Polar Gloss gave me the most detail in the dark area of the star anise. The paper also enhanced the pale color of the drink and brought out more depth in the image. I am so impressed with the performance of Red River Papers– and even more so considering that they cost close to twenty percent less than other brands."

Lou Manna's website is at: He can be reached at: Information about his new book, photography tips, and future workshops can be found at: Digital Food Photography may be found at



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