As I'm sure you know by now, I photograph just about every beer I drink. Lately almost all those pictures come straight from my iPhone4, but every now and then at an event or tasting I'll have my better cameras handy. For the iPhone, I find that lighting is the key. Really this is the key for most photography... but especially for the phone because the flash is pretty weak. The 3G I had before though... well it had no flash and was a lot smaller picture size, so at least it has that going for it.
I had a few pictures of some beers that I drank in Houston to demonstrate... first up is the Lagunitas Imperial Stout... this beer should appear extremely dark with an off-white head... here's the picture with no flash.
Without the flash it's a little blurry, but you can see the actual colors of the beer. Here's is a Bridgeport Scotch Ale with the flash, the beer should be a reddish-brown color.
For some reason with the flash on, the iPhone4 gets a little better focus with cleaner lines, but it fades the color. It's hard to even see the red hints in the beer with the flash on. Now two pictures of the Sierra Nevada Southern Hemisphere Fresh Hop Ale... one with the flash, and one without.
As you can tell, the flash really enhanced the contrast, to the point where the lighter beer was totally lost. The non-flash picture come a lot closer to capturing the true color of the beer... so let this be a tip to all of you. Flash = bad! That being said, if I'm in a dark bar or dimly lit restaurant, I'd still rather use the flash and get a picture than forget all about that tasty brew.