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Tutorial: How to Get the Perfect Photo of a Steaming Cup of Coffee


Coffee is a wonderful thing. Early in the morning, there are few things that can put you at ease like a steaming cup of hot coffee warming your hands and firing up your brain. But have you ever wondered how those coffee advertisements manage to get the perfect shot of a coffee cup, steam and all?

Well, in the tutorial above, commercial photographer Robert Grant of LearnMyShot shows you how to compose and capture the perfect picture of a steaming cup o’ joe that will have you craving your morning caffeine fix.

A tutorial on how to photograph a steaming cup of coffee may seem like a straightforward (and maybe even boring) prospect, but Grant does a phenomenal job of making you consider every aspect of the shot and keeping you watching till the end. The props, background and lighting he uses all come together to create a picture worth taking:


Notice, Grant chose to go with continuous light so that he could control the appearance of his steam using the shutter. He then chose a shutter speed of 1/25 for a smooth “dreamy” effect, and placed everything against a dark background so the steam would properly show up.

Grant’s composition is also phenomenal. He uses all rounded props with muted colors to compliment the shape of the coffee cup, and then places a yellow, rectangular box of film diagonally in the shot to provide contrast and lead your eyes to the focal point.

These are just a few of the stylistic and technical choices he made, and there are a lot more. To learn all about them, check out the video at the top or head over to LearnMyShot to read the full text tutorial.

How To Photograph Steam [LearnMyShot via Digital Photography School]