Local photography pros Brian Lantz and Andrew Sherman took a cue from the popular San Diego photography club, Beers & Cameras, and decided to spin it their own way. Wilmingtonians can join them once a month at different local breweries with their club, Aperture and Ales.
I was able to enjoy a beer with the guys as they set up for their May meetup. We chatted about two of their passions: local craft beer and taking pictures.
The group met at Waterman’s Brewing and focused (no pun intended) on food and beverage photography. Each month Lantz and Sherman figure out a topic they’d like to learn about or teach and go from there. One of the previous topics was portrait photography, and the hosts brought in a model.
The group is inclusive and designed for photographers of all experience levels and desires. And, yes, that includes folks with only camera phones. We interviewed the fellas about their group, which can be followed on Facebook.
encore (e): Why do you think beer and photography work together?
Brian Lantz (BL): For me beer has always been an interesting balance of creativity and science. Being a homebrewer allowed me to enjoy the technical side of brewing beer while opening up the artistic side of designing beers I liked. Photography is very much the same. Learning and understanding the technical side of photography can really open up a world that allows the artistic side to grow. Being a full time network engineer doesn’t allow me much of a creative outlet, so photography and beer feed that artistic side of my brain, while the technical side still allows me to geek out a bit.
Andrew Sherman (AS): Well, everything is better after a few beers, but truly, photography can be a daunting thing to learn. A lot of people are uncomfortable behind the camera or directing a model, and being in a brewery or relaxed atmosphere really helps ease that stress and lets people enjoy the process a little more. For me beer and photography go hand in hand because it incorporates a few things I love photographing. I primarily photograph food, architecture and portraits, and typically you can find all of these things surrounding beer.
e: What does an evening with you guys look like?
AS: A typical evening starts out by meeting up around 6 at a brewery or local watering hole and unwinding a bit from the day over conversation and good beer. Once it seems like the group for that evening has arrived, we usually move into a short talk about a specific photography topic—maybe dealing with lighting or portraiture and have a quick demonstration. From there it opens up and is more freeform where everyone can shoot, ask questions, and bounce ideas off each other. We don’t want it to feel too rigid, so we go with the flow and try to have fun with it, and help anyone with questions or issues.
e: How do you choose your venue?
BL: We have been trying to stick with breweries, brew pubs and in general beer-centric locations. We try and bounce from downtown to midtown to Ogden to CB. Our goal is to visit and support locally owned craft-beer-driven businesses. As we grow we hope to be able to expand meetups a little further out, to places like Salty Turtle, Makai, Red Hare, Crooked Lotus. We have so many amazing places to visit, so I think we won’t have a problem with venues anytime soon. We are always happy to hear from businesses that would be open to hosting us.
AS: This model works well because each venue has a different look and vibe. This gives us a unique chance to talk about photographing under the specific conditions we are dealing with that evening. Photography is about adapting to your environment and getting the best shot you can, so knowing how to work with what you are given is key.
e: Sell this hesitant iPhone photographer…
BL: Whether you’re a seasoned professional with thousands of dollars of gear, or you’re just someone interested in photography and your primary camera is your phone, we want you to feel welcome. I get excited every time we meet to learn something new from the people around me. I personally shoot with a professional series camera as well as an iPhone. I’m not afraid to use either one and do quite often.
To me the joy of photography has very little to do with gear and everything to do with the passion to learn and grow. If you see a beautiful photo and your first question is what gear was used to make the photo, you might be missing the point. I’ll take a passionate person that wants to learn with an iPhone over a pro that believes they have nothing to learn with a Hasselblad in their hand any day.
AS: This club is based around a group of friends hanging out and enjoying each other’s company and photography. We are here to offer help and encourage everyone who wants to learn, improve and try to share techniques and tips that apply to anyone taking pictures, from professional to amateur. Everyone that attends one of our meetups is bound to leave with a few tricks up their sleeves and a few new friends as well.
e: When’s the next one? Where is it and what’s the focus?
BL: Our next meetup will be on Thursday, June 27, at New Anthem Beer Project on Dock Street. We will meet at 6 p.m., have a beer and hangout for a few. At 6:30 we’ll then head out for a downtown photo walk, shooting and discussing whatever comes to mind. Want to shoot a portrait against a cool urban backdrop? Cool. Want to head to the river walk for some sunset landscape photos? Let’s do it. To finish the evening off, those that would like will head back to New Anthem for a beer. It’s also important to point out you do not have to be a craft-beer fan or partake in drinks to join us
e: Any final comments?
AS: The more you drink, the better you shoot!
BL: (With a wink) That’s not true.