This article is prepared by Alvaro, who is a Commercial fashion and portraiture photographer.
Hey fellow volunteers! I’m making this guide for everyone so you can have some tips of how to make the most out of your photography while shooting the #brewathome campaign.
This will be pretty straightforward an I’m sure some (or mostly) all of you will know what I’m going to say but nevertheless here we go.
I will also be giving some graphic examples as this will be easier to understand. As we say in my country “an image is said to be worth a thousand words”
Try to think before shooting what you want in your final picture. A good rule to use is the thirds one. You should be aiming for using 2/3rds of the available space on the picture with whatever you are shooting. Another great rules for composition is the Fibonacci sequence (golden spiral) as this tends to gets replicate in a lot of things in nature (so it’s really organic).
Fibonacci sequence or Golden Spiral (really useful when composing. It can be use in any direction or upside down):
Photography nowadays is all about lighting. Always try to shoot as close as possible to a window. There are two main types of light you can use, this are soft light or hard light. Soft is the one that wraps around a picture without giving you hard shadows on the edges, hard lighting is the absolute opposite, it will not wrap around at easily round objects and will give you some hard shadows (contrast has a lot to do with it, lot of contrast will be a hard light, low contrast will be a soft light). There is not a wrong or right. Giving you an example: soft light is the light that comes into your window at the sunrise or sunset (check Golden Hour if you want to know more about this). Hard light is the one that comes into your window at midday, when the sun is as high in the sky as it will get (and give you LOTS of contrast making things looks moody!).
Try to shoot at sunrise or sunset as the light is way more manageable at this time of the day, unless you are aiming for a high “contrasty” picture (Maja has nailed this concept in her feed, her check insta at @beanadonna as she has lots of hard lighting and “contrasty” pictures).
SOFT LIGHTING EXAMPLES:
3. USE A MODEL:
If you live with your partner, have some flatmates sitting around or even your family with you, you can absolutely use them in the pictures (we don’t need faces, so don’t be afraid to ask them). Ask them to use the grinder, hold a cup, pour for you, etc… Coffee has a really big social aspect related to it so having this human presence on your pictures will earn you a big point (and of course you will have fun shooting and brewing together).
4. GET CREATIVE:
From shooting weird angles (straight top to down) to using coffee beans to create words, try to shoot stuff that differs from whatever is already been created by other people in their Instagrams (or just get inspired by them and try to shoot it better, is just a game!). Still life by itself is quite boring, try to shoot while TELLING A STORY with your picture (let’s say, a morning coffee routine or a mid-day coffee brewing scenario, options are endless…)
5. PROPS, PROPS, PROS:
From your brewing stuff to coffee beans, going from books or pieces of art (or just smashing some flowers on your Chemex… cause you know, that’s the best way to use a Chemex…) use PROPS! A single cup of coffee over a desk is boring, now if you put some kitchen utensils, drop some coffee beans around, showcase your V60 while is dripping or you hold your cup in front of a book, this will make you TELL A STORY! (try to get crazy creative with this but do not oversature your pictures!!!!).
If you place your desired “model” (speaking about a cup or V60 for example) and you have some backlighting going on (light coming opposite from your camera lens or phone lens) you will have a column of steam that can be showcase in the picture. This will give you a massive extra point on your picture as it will be way more interesting to watch (one more time Maja has nailed it!)
So far, this will be my workflow to take a coffee related picture for the #brewathome campaign:
a). What I’m going to shoot? What I’m trying to tell? In this example I’m brewing my morning coffee, I want to tell that this is something I do during the morning, as my start of the day and makes me get on the mood for the rest of it.
b). Where I’m going to shoot? Ok, so this is during the morning, I’m house and probably I’ll be in my kitchen, as here is where I have all my coffee related equipment. Do I have an available window for lighting? If not, what about using my balcony or terrace?
c). Let’s say the lighting works on my kitchen then. With my “story” and my “space” selected let’s try to work on composition: I will be brewing coffee, with my V60, in my kitchen so then: I’ll be shooting alone (cause you know, flatmates are still sleeping) then let’s use a top to bottom angle. Let’s place some coffee beans on the top left of the picture, my cup, already full of coffee on the centre of it, and my V60 with a lovely coffee bed, over my weight immediately to the right of my cup bit higher than it. If we have a lot of space left without anything is totally right, I’ll just try to make everything look organic and not oversature the picture with stuff (mostly all humans are trained unconsciously to read pictures from LEFT TO RIGHT, TOP TO BOTTOM as this is the way we have been reading text since we were little, so let’s try to compose like this).
d). Now you just have the easier part left, press that button on your phone, or your shutter on the camera and there you have it!
This is all folks, please feel free to contact me throughout the email or directly on Instagram at @gvizphoto. If you need more help I’m here for you (just keep in mind I’m a fashion studio photographer, still life neither coffee photography are my niche but I’ll do the better I can 😀 ).
Regards, Alvaro 😀