When most people think of non-alcoholic cocktails, they immediately think of sickly sweet drinks like Shirley Temples or virgin piña coladas. However, the non-alcoholic category has been growing in recent years, bringing with it booze-less distilled spirits like Seedlip, bottled cocktails like Ritual Zero Proof, and a new breed of bartender.
Han Suk Cho, a non-alcoholic beverage specialist, is one of the people who have been leading the zero-proof revolution. Los Angeles-based photographer Natasha Lee recently photographed Han Suk for a feature in Plate Magazine, where she is credited with redefining N/A cocktails. Natasha’s images showcase the young entrepreneur and her layered libations for her company Zero Proof Bevs, which offers complex culinary-inspired cocktails without the need for any booze.
For this project, Natasha received an email from Bert Ganzon, the art director for the magazine, after he found her through Wonderful Machine’s Find a Photographer page. Bert reached out to Natasha through email and asked if she was interested in taking on the project.
The shoot took place in the subject’s backyard in Los Angeles. After they had agreed on a day for the shoot, Han Suk Cho sent Natasha some candid images of the location to get an idea of what the setup looked like.
The iPhone pictures of the location helped me figure out how and where to set up my shots and the time of day to request for the shoot.
Once Natasha arrived at Han Suk’s house, she quickly began setting up as she had a vision of how the shoot would unfold before arrival. Han Suk already had all of her jars and mixes set outside, and Natasha placed them on a wooden shelf to display them, creating a look similar to that of a potions cabinet.
I was fascinated by her craft. I loved seeing the non-alcoholic bitters she made out of leaves, among so many other incredibly innovative concoctions that she uses in her cocktails. I had a sip of her non-alcoholic champagne after the shoot and was blown away at the science and the creativity behind creating it!
The shoot took place outdoors, and they had great sunny weather, which allowed Natasha to use a combination of natural light and strobes to create subtle highlights in the images. The uncomplicated setup also allowed her to speak with Han Suk and get to know her, resulting in natural-looking and relaxed portraits.
The shoot was very hands-on. I was cutting up fruit, arranging flowers, lighting, styling, and setting up the shots, all while getting to know more about her and how she came to be a non-alcoholic beverage consultant.
Natasha captured a series of soft, beautifully lit images that communicate the freshness and innovation behind Han Suk’s cocktails. While she styled the table for the last set of images, Natasha asked if they had any snacks she could place on the table and was pleasantly surprised to find out that Han Suk’s husband is also a chef.
The last shot on the magazine’s shot list was an image of Han Suk and her husband Kyle. It turns out that Kyle is a chef and when I asked about snacks, he came out of the kitchen minutes later with these beautiful shrimp cocktail skewers.
One of my favorite aspects of editorial photography is getting to meet fascinating people in their space and connecting with them about their passion.