A Cook's Diary

How to photograph food: coffee

speedy-veneracion, How to photograph food: coffee

Based on coffee photos that I’ve seen on the web, it would seem that most people think that the only interesting coffee shots are those with froth. You know, with fancy figures which has come to be known as latte art.

But there are so many ways to take photos of a cup of coffee. Plain black coffee can look so photogenic in an attractive cup. Or as part of everything else in a table set for breakfast or mid-afternoon coffee. “Liquid pour” is a highly specialized field of photography. You can take photos while the coffee is being poured from the pot into the cup. Or when pouring cream into the coffee.

Or you can make the coffee part of a bigger picture by creating a more complex image with a variety of elements. For instance, above, Speedy sipping his coffee and, in the background, an intriguing painting on the wall. Quite by chance, the angle of the body of the woman in the photo echoes Speedy’s as he sips his coffee. To fill the frame, two more cups of coffee, Sam’s and mine, and the jar of sugar are left visible on the table.

The thing about complex images is that it is more mentally stimulating. While most food photos aim for one reaction and one reaction only — to make the viewer drool and vow that he will have that food or drink in the photo the soonest possible moment — a complex image is remembered longer for its uniqueness and for the way it tickles the mind.

sam-veneracion, How to photograph food: coffee

This second photo is also a photo of a cup of coffee. But it also shows a photographer at work. That’s Sam photographing her coffee for an exhibit.

Location: Java Jazz Cafe, Tagaytay City

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