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Red River Pros: Lou Mana

Lou Mana at Red River Paper Pro Corner

Award-winning photographer, author, and teacher

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.

Lou Mana - Award-winning photographer, author, and teacher
© Lou Mana

The Client

Inocente Tequila.

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: [email protected]. Information about his new book, photography tips, and future workshops can be found at: Digital Food Photography.

Favorite Papers

UltraPro Satin

UltraPro Satin looks and feels just like traditional photo lab paper and features a medium depth luster finish.

Favorite Of: Jim DiVitale & Peter Randall

River Linen

River Linen adds a special dimension to your printed image with its premium quality linen surface paper.

Favorite Of: JVS & Helene Glassman

Aurora Art

Made using fine 100% cotton rag content, Aurora Art White and Aurora Art Natural offers the look and feel of fine art paper.

Favorite of: Marilyn Sholin, Matt Hoyle, Susan McCartney, & Kaitlin Walsh

Arctic Polar Satin

With its crisp blue white shade, Arctic Polar Satin ensures your images will project more brilliance. Its state of the art microporous coating will enhance details and color saturation.

Favorite of: Al Francekevich & Susan McCartney

Last updated: August 31, 2021

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