September 25, 2023
Some of the most popular images I capture at my University of Alabama graduation sessions are photos of grads spraying champagne in front of Bryant-Denny Stadium. It’s such a celebratory image that has become iconic to grab during graduation sessions!
Believe it or not, there’s more to just shaking and spraying the champagne bottle. While some grads may run to Publix in the hours before the graduation portrait session to grab whichever bottle is cheapest (no shame in that! You aren’t drinking it, after all!), others spend the months leading up to their session looking at painted bottles for inspiration for their own bottle design, or even researching which bottle of bubbles is actually the most bubbly.
My graduation portrait clients always ask me how to get the ‘perfect pop’ for their photos, and I joke that I have been popping champagne bottles since I was a Freshman at UA– but the truth is, I only recently popped and sprayed a champagne bottle myself for the first time! A group of Alabama graduation photographers got together to celebrate the end of the Spring 2023 graduation portrait season by getting our own ‘champagne spray’ photo, so I am happy to say I now have hands-on experience to share.
The steps to the perfect champagne spray are to first, fully open the bottle of champagne, removing the cage and cork fully. It’s important not to shake your champagne bottle prior to getting the cork off! I’ll typically open the bottle for my grads, just to be sure that if there are any malfunctions or if the bottle has gotten shaken around, I’ll be the one to deal with the unexpected spray– and not my graduation clients!
I’ll hand the bottle back to my grads, and instruct them to cover the opening of the bottle with their thumb, the same way they would hold a hose pipe to get it to spray. Then, I’ll step back and encourage them to start shaking the bottle!
It’s fun to work in a foot pop if we get a spray long enough, and I’ll be yelling lots of encouragement behind the camera to remind them to smile and not look as stunned by the pop and spray!
Following these steps, I always get lots of beautiful and celebratory images to end a graduation session. Scroll through some of my favorites below, and when you’re ready to get your own stunning champagne pop portrait, reach out here.
PS: Want to hear a unique story about a champagne pop at a session where we somehow went through not one, not two, but THREE bottles of champagne? Check out this blog to hear that story!