Show how it’s made
Coffee cup photography is all about capturing the essence of this delightful beverage. Everyone loves the aroma and unique flavors that coffee brings. It can be prepared in so many ways and using different techniques. There is the concentrated espresso, the Turkish coffee, drip coffee, French press, Moka pot method, cold brew…. It’s interesting to explore the singularity of each process with creative coffee photography. Let the composition tell the story!
Creating the Style with Steam and without it
In Coffee cup photography many aspects will affect the final image and will be decisive to tell your story. Start with the coffee décor. Would you use steam? Serve it hot or cold? Even the temperature does not appear clearly in the picture, the details created by the hotness can make a notable difference. The cup you choose will carry the main subject of all the work. Coffee seems to be a simple and direct element, but the possibilities are endless for coffee and art! Try a lot and brew more than you would need for the shoot.
The Food Photography Setup
Have your basic food photography setup ready for starting trying and creating! I enjoy using natural and diffuse light (use white fabric to cover windows) and a reflector (anything can turn into a fill card). Get extra cups and dishware available for changing ideas and perspectives. Use transparent glass, old fashioned china, simple and clean designs and whatever your creativity tells you to do. The most important in coffee cup photography is to risk without losing the essence of the photoshoot.
Colored and texturized backgrounds contrast very nicely in. You can use neutral colors and not so appealing prints. Perhaps the coffee is part of a nice breakfast table? Or it’s just waiting on the top pf the table for being catch? The composition and the backdrops need to give plot, but perform supporting roles at the same time. In other words, if you are performing a coffee photoshoot, give the spotlights to coffee!
Take a risk at a time and find the answer
You might want to risk a bit or stay at something more classic inside the coffee cup photography. There are no rights and no wrongs! What should guide you, in reality is the goal of the coffee photoshoot. Do you need to showcase the brewing method? Would you desire to also focus in the scene around? Try, try and try! If you have never performed a coffee photoshoot, have all your tools ready and know what is needed to do with each of them. Change aperture and see how the background behaves, modify composition until you find the answer.
A nice effect to experiment is sprinkling sugar or other powder over the coffee. Some technical details will be important in coffee cup photography as they are in general food photography. For instance, according to how you adjust the aperture, shutter speed and focus, the image will bring a different effect. If you use natural light, you might be limited at some point, as the exposure could be affected by a fast shutter speed. You might want to change ISO to adjust exposure, but I particularly like to use it as low as possible because even with post production noise reduction, the quality will not be the same. So, the sprinkled sugar effect can draw a line in the frame, like falling rain, with slow shutter speeds or to be captured in close detail by a very fast shutter speed. Adjust your camera to get the best from it!
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