Shooting in a studio isn’t the only way to find perfection. Try these expert tips and tricks for capturing sharable photographs in your favorite cafes.
Chances are if you’re on Instagram, you’ve taken photos in cafes. Taking beautiful images of top-down lattes, paired perfectly with the daily New York Times, has blown up on Instagram over the past few years.
The reason? Not only is taking photos in cafes simple to do, it’s also a fantastic way to create a beautiful, versatile image. Cafe culture highlights a slow life, a moment to take a step back, relax, and live in the moment.
Images by zjuzjaka
But that’s not the only reason photos in cafes are popular. Photos in cafes sell. On Shutterstock, customers around the world search for a perfect image that tells a story. When it comes to coffee, that story could be a group of friends catching up over a coffee. Or, it can be an elegant top-down image of a beautifully-styled cafe scene.
There’s an emotional pull that a viewer gets when they look at photos in cafes. These images evoke a sense of moodiness, whether that mood is pondering out the window or passing the time with a good book and a cup of joe.
Image by PTCH
In the following article, we’re sharing our top tips on how to capture shareable Instagram-worthy photos in cafes for you to share on your own social media. Or, better yet, how to capture a cafe photo that will sell on stock and earn you money.
7 Tips on Capturing Instagram-Worthy Photos in Cafes
Tip #1: Order photo-ready food and drink combinations
Nobody wants to like, share, comment, or use an image of a boring food or drink item. Keep it interesting. The first step in capturing a beautiful image in a cafe is photographing a beautiful subject. An easy go-to in a cafe is ordering a latte, especially if you know the cafe is known for unique latte art.
Image by zjuzjaka
Next, look for special ingredients. Is there a lavender latte on the menu? A Turkish coffee pour-over? Unique elements are what cause a viewer to stop, stare, and engage with an image. Before you order your drink, consider what the shop creates that will be the most photographable.
Tip #2: With more than one person? Rearrange the scene
If you’re at a cafe with more than one person, rearrange the scene to come up with a variety of compositions. The more variety, the more options you have to select the perfect image from. Move the avocado toast to the corner, and then try it in the center. Move around the forks and knives to come up with different compositions. The more subject matter you have to play with when taking photos in cafes, the more opportunity you have to craft a truly unique image.
Image by Olga Pink
Tip #3: Find natural light
In cafes, you aren’t going to want to cart around a reflector and an assistant to capture the perfect cafe shot. Instead, search for natural light when possible. Natural light is a crucial tool for capturing stunning photos in cafes. After all, natural light gives you the softest light available.
Image by Halinskyi Maksym
Tip #4: Scout a location beforehand and find the perfect shoot location.
Consider asking for a store manager or the email of management to request permission to shoot and hold the space. Sometimes, places will even be willing to let you shoot before or after hours so you have the space to yourself without bugging other customers.
Image by zjuzaka
Always remember to bring a property release if you capture any recognizable space, and have it signed by the owner to ensure your images are accepted if submitting to stock.
Tip #5: Source props to add to your scene
Props are crucial to capturing beautiful photos in cafes. Not only do props add visual interest, but they also bring a more realistic approach to your images and help convey the emotion you’re trying to express.
If you’re shooting for stock, refrain from using logo items such as newspapers and books (unless you can hide them or block them within your composition). Instead, use found objects such as old film cameras without logos or flowers, plants, or cutlery to add visual interest to your frame.
Image by Veles Studio
The key with props is not to overdo it. Keep it simple, shoot, and add more to the frame as you go. Not only will adding and taking away props provide variety in your final batch of images, it will also help you craft a story that’s visually interesting if you choose to share the images on social media.
Tip #5: Bring a friend or model. Or, better yet, ask a stranger!
Models can be fantastic additions to an image when shooting images in cafes. Instantly, a viewer can imagine themselves being that hand in the frame, or that person sipping coffee.
Consider shooting from behind the model’s shoulder to provide the idea of a person, without necessarily having them as the focus of the image. Alternatively, a top-down image of a coffee with a hand reaching in can be just as visually interesting.
Image by Igesheva Maria
If all else fails and you’re not able to bring a friend, consider asking a stranger to borrow their hand for the frame. But remember, all recognizable people need to sign a model release. So, ensure you always have one handy in case the opportunity arises.
Tip #6: Move your angle around to vary composition
When shooting images in cafes, it’s really easy to get stuck on one angle. Move your subject around, and shoot a subject at a variety of angles. Some of our favorite go-tos are 45 degrees, flat lays, and profile view angles. Providing a variety of these images in your stock portfolio allows customers to select the best image that works for their marketing needs. In addition, this gives you a wide selection to choose the image that suits you best if you decide to post it on social media.
Image by Barbara Dudzinska
Tip #7: Shoot with a shallow depth of field
In cafes, a really beautiful way to evoke a certain mood in your images is to shoot with a shallow depth of field. Consider using a prime lens to keep your image as sharp as possible, such as a 50mm f/1.4 or f/1.2. Shoot at an aperture between f/1.8 and f/2.0, depending on how much bokeh you would like to create.
Image by Efetova Anna
A shallow depth of field is great for ensuring any logos or recognizable people in the cafe are blurred while the focus remains on the drink.
We hope these tips help you the next time you take images in cafes. We can’t wait to see all the avocado toast, flat white, and latte images you create next for Shutterstock.
Featured Image by Zamurovic Photography.
Looking for more food and drink inspiration? Check out these articles:
- 8 Delicious Tips for Taking Irresistible Photos of Tacos
- 11 Tips for Flat-lay Photos That Stand Out from the Crowd
- Cheap Tricks for Wallet Friendly Stock Food Photography
- Artist Series with Food Photographer Joanie Simon
- Explore 10 Pro Tips on Taking Better Videos of Food
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