Coffee Shop Photography

Photography is my passion. I love to use photography to explore the world, and record the fleeting memories of what I consider to be worth keeping. Another great passion of mine is drinking delicious coffee and visiting interesting coffee shops. I have found combining the two passions can produce some pleasing results!

So today we will look at photographing coffee, particularly shooting coffee within the coffee shop context. I’ll highlight 5 helpful areas to consider the next time you’re over at your local coffee shop with your camera in hand.

1. Shoot the coffee itself
The most obvious place to start taking photos is the coffee itself. It’s easy to think producing photos of coffee will mean they wind up boring and uninteresting like many others. That’s definitely the wrong attitude. The beauty of photography is that if you can think of something a bit creative, then any subject can become more appealing to the eye.

Consider snapping a photo of your drinks before, during, and after you’ve flooded your veins with a dose of caffeine. Try different angles, both above and to the side. Arrange and re-arrange things, and take a number of shots from each new perspective. You can always delete the bad photos later on.

I have found the key to capturing eye-catching coffee photos is to capture the drink in such a way that it makes the viewer want to reach out and grab at the picture. In order to achieve this, you need to get up nice and close, and capture all the minute details.

2. Get some customer shots
Another obvious subject to shoot is the customers dotted around the shop itself. This requires a little bit of discretion as people are there to relax and enjoy themselves. Be polite and merge in with the environment and you should be just fine.

Consider moving around to take photos from different perspectives. In the above example I used ornaments as foreground objects, and the wooden shelves to frame the subject. This helped it become a more unique and interesting shot.

Also try out a black and white shot if you feel the background colours are too distracting. Sometimes a nice soft B&W shot is very appropriate for this type of location.

3. Remember the cashier & workers
If you’ve bought a cuppa already, then taking a shot or two of the cashier is often well-received. Remember to interact and see if you can capture a smile.

Alternatively, a more candid shot can work well too, especially if you manage to catch the interaction between customer and worker. It all helps to give a more complete picture of what happens in the life of the shop.

Consider the workers out at the front, but also those slaving away further back. A sneaky shot over the shoulder is fine, but something more close-up feels far more relational.

4. Get behind the scenes
Be especially nice, and if the staff aren’t too busy, you may even be allowed behind the counter for some behind the scenes coffee shop photography. If you’re invited in, remember you are a guest, and don’t do anything to hinder them from making sales.

Behind the counter there are opportunities for macro photos everywhere. Be sure to get up nice and close to the various gadgets and machinery used to produce the coffee, and incorporate the staff into a shot or two if you can. Machinery is great, but add people and it then tells a story.

5. Notice the environment
I find coffee shop environments to be a goldmine of interesting people and things. The shop owner knows a big part of the success of their business comes down to how well-kept and aesthetically pleasing the shop environment appears.

You can either incorporate the context of the shop into your photos of customers, or instead produce shots that just focus upon the environment itself. If there is something interesting enough, try also to capture a few sneaky close-up shots to show what the eye may easily miss.

Each location will have a different feel to it. Maybe it’s a bit of a dark smoke-filled area, or maybe it’s a bright quirky place. Find things that reflect this, and capture it.

Suggested Reading