I spent many December nights wandering Chicago and checking out some of the best new bars this town has to offer. Not a bad way to pay the bills, although far from a simple assignment. I really wanted to avoid using strobes to let the bar interiors really speak for themselves. Not usually a problem if you’re locked off on a tripod, but working people into the mix complicates matters. Most of locations were as dark as legally possible and contained as many as infinity color temperatures (I’m looking at you Three Dots), forcing me to rely on super high ISOs and a lot of time in Photoshop trying to balance things out to something worth looking at. I also used a very low powered (see: shot thru white napkins) Speedlite to fill in shadows a bit, CTO’d when needed. The top image of the whiskey was shot on a tripod and lit with continuous light (Kino Celeb LED and a Wescott Ice Light to create the vertical line on the left of the glass) along with some silver bounce hitting the ice from above.
Bars included (from top to bottom): Revel Room, Birreira at Eataly, Berkshire, Nico Osteria, Punch House, Billy Sunday and Three Dots & a Dash. Thanks as always to Megan Lovejoy at Chicago and my sister for hand modeling/assisting/listening to be complain about how dark all the locations were.