Drink and Lifestyle Photography for Blackheart Premium Spiced Rum

Every product needs two essential types of photography. Photography that shows what it is, and photography that shows how it will affect a user’s life. These needs require a mix of in-studio photography and on-location photography.

Recently, the parent company of Blackheart Rum, Heaven Hill, came to us to get both in-studio and on-location photography completed over a short time for their rum. The team at Heaven Hill worked with us for the studio work, while their agency partner XenoPsi worked with us to execute the lifestyle photography. The story illustrates the benefits of finding the right photography partner.

The goals:

  • Two well-executed product shots in the studio to use for and the brand’s new campaign materials extending to national media and in-store promotions.
  • An extensive library of 60 lifestyle photos to use for a variety of social media and digital promotions.

The goal added on the shoot day:

  • Short videos for social media use

In-Studio Drink Photography

For the in-studio work, Heaven Hill came directly to OMS Photo to work with our photographer TJ Vissing. TJ has an extensive library of drink and food photography, with over 30 years of shooting experience. He makes thoughtful lighting decisions when it comes to photographing bottles and glasses, making him a perfect fit for their needs.

The goals for the final images

  • Both images would be on a dark background
    • One with only the BlackHeart Rum Bottle
    • One with a tall glass filled with a rum and cola beverage next to the bottle

Located at our Cincinnati studio, the shoot lasted half a day. Drinks and spirits with a lovely amber color, like this rum, benefit significantly from numerous exposures for lighting highlights. TJ used the time to ensure every facet could be captured and then handed off to our retouching team.

Retouching The Bottle

After the shoot was over our digital retoucher, Scott Burchett and Lisa Cape had a fun time putting it all together. Enjoy this video that reveals some of the processes where all the pieces TJ created come together.

Party Time: Lifestyle Drink Photography

While the in-studio work was being planned and executed, OMS was working in parallel on creating the library of lifestyle images. The goal was to develop 60 final images over ten unique scenarios. Through discussions, it became clear that organizing all the models and locations for a single day of shooting would be ideal, but it would make for a lengthy day. Our photographer Monty Milburn was more than up for the challenge. His years of experience with on-location and lifestyle photography experience made him a perfect fit.

The primary concept for the shoot was to capture moments with people, “figuring out the whole adulting thing”Blackheart is a spiced rum that brings the right energy, has no pretense, and elevates a drinking occasion. The team likes to say Blackheart Spiced Rum makes an afternoon by the pool feel like a day at the beach. And since it’s not reserved for big moments, you can pour it out for weekend tournaments, backyard barbecues…or just ‘cause you can. All of which is a part of their “Up to Something Good” campaign.

The final crew consisted of the following members.

  • OMS’s team
    • Photographer Monty Milburn, Videographer Jake Anderson, Three Assistants, and Two Production Managers, one craft services
  • Xenopsi’s group of three people
  • Heaven Hill team of three people
  • 19 Models (mix of professionals and friends)
  • Two wardrobe stylists
  • Two hair and makeup stylist
  • Moreover, a few interns for the day.

All in all, around 40 people were a part of the shoot at any given time, which made it feel like a film set. It was essential to have two producers a part of the team to manage multiple locations and scenarios, which was vital to pull off 60 images in a single day.

To accommodate these variables, the agency worked closely with our producer Crosley Brammer to create the following schedule for 8 am – 9 pm. This timetable offers a small glimpse into the full day of shooting.

  • Photography crew call time at 8 am
  • Shoot call time at 9 am
  • 10:00 – 10:30 am Scene 1 Cooking with Drinks
  • 11:00 – 11:30 am Scene 2 Board Game Night
  • 12:00 – 12:30 PM Scene 3 Viewing Party/ Movie Night
  • 12:30 – 1:00pm Lunch
  • 1:00 – 1:30 pm Scene 4 Video Game Playing
  • 1:30 – 2:00 pm Scene 5 Karaoke
  • 3:00 – 3:30 pm Scene 6 River Bank Hangout/Canoe Fun
  • 3:30 – 4:00 pm Scene 7 Picnic Near River
  • 4:30 – 5:00 pm Scene 8 DIY Spa Day
  • 5:30- 6:00 pm Scene 9 Homegating
  • 6:30- 8:00 pm Scene 10 Outdoor Hangs
  • 8:00- 9:00 pm WRAP

The full-day let Monty and the crew take advantage of all the lighting conditions from the morning sun to nightfall.

A last-minute scare

The night before the shoot, the prop stylist selected by the Xenospi team was stuck in New York and couldn’t get a flight to Cincinnati due to weather conditions. Worryingly, he had numerous essential props and items for the shoot. The lead creative on the Xenospi team called us soon after learning the news. He asks our team if we could pull it together overnight. Within 20 minutes over phone calls Monty Milburn, our in-house producer Crosley Brammer, and freelance producer Emily Juengel knew what to do and got to work immediately. Overnight our team pulled everything together that would have been missing.

The shoot day still went off without a hitch and went great.

Enjoy out a selection of the photos.

Lifestyle Videography

Overall the shoot went great. Monty was able to shoot a little more than the intended goals. As a bonus, the Xenopsi team took advantage of our videographer Jake Anderson to create some video content. The goal here was to add extra footage that would be great for quick social media videos, for instance, something like boomerangs on Instagram.

While Monty was moving forward with the photography shoot, Jake was pulling in the extra models and using the recently set up scenarios. By adding videos to the shoot, Xenopsi was able to take full advantage of all the logistical work it took to bring the shoot together.

Enjoy a compilation of selected videos here:

Overall, Heaven Hill and Xenopsi were able to get some fantastic photography and video all from one source.