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The Sip: Q&A with photographer Paul Body

Meet Paul Body, photographer for San Diego’s Top Brewers

Paul Body

Paul Body

A new book from Chefs Press, highlighting San Diego’s beer scene, with behind-the-scenes profiles of 18 award-winning breweries, the best craft beer bars, and more than two dozen beer-inspired recipes, will be available this fall. And while beer-loving locals are aware of San Diego’s world-class beer scene, it’s surprising how difficult getting the perfect photo of a pint can be. Paul Body, the photographer for the book, talks about the heady challenges of photographing beer.

What do you have to take into consideration when shooting beer?  When shooting beer, you have to realize it’s relatively clear and there is generally going to be glassware involved. Plus, it has a short life span, so you have to be ready to go when it hits the set.

What tricks do you have for getting perfect lighting? What, you want me to give it all away here? People will realize how easy it is! You do have to learn how glassware works lighting-wise and you have to make sure the beer has an effervescent quality to it. A general rule of thumb is, if it looks like you want to drink it, then that’s good! I definitely went for dark and moody with big highlights.

Any funny stories from the beer shoots? We were at Green Flash finishing up shooting. Bruce Glassman, from Chefs Press, was going to interview the brewmaster, Chuck Silva, so I stick around, and out comes a major flight of beers. I’m looking at my watch and it’s 12:30 on a Tuesday, but, come on, Chuck Silva is going to talk about his beers as you go through them? I was in! His beers aren’t for the faint of heart and there are a lot of them, so he keeps talking and, of course, I don’t want to be rude and not finish each taster. So I keep tasting and… let’s just say that when we finished, I ended up supine in the back of my truck for a while.

What were you most surprised to learn about the local brewing scene?
I was surprised to find out how world-class San Diego beers are. Most people kind of know we are good, but not this good! San Diego bagged first place at the World Beer Cup—that’s pretty impressive! There is so much talent here. One of the cool things about the book is that it’s not just a guide to where you can get beer. It also looks at the craftsmanship that makes the San Diego scene so world-class.


 

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