How to take Great Coffee Photos for Instagram


Instagram is no longer just a sea of selfies and kitten pics, but the home of truly gorgeous photos that are sharp, vibrant, and look 100% pro.  When it comes to coffee images we are constantly amazed at what some of our MistoBox friends are able to bring to life through their photos.  So we asked them, what are some helpful pointers in taking great coffee photos?  Read on to get some ‘insta tips’ that we definitely recommend you try at home.  And be sure to check out their galleries for more caffeinated inspiration.  Cheers!

Nate Erickson – @nateerickson – “Depth of Field”

Processed with VSCOcam with c1 preset
Processed with VSCOcam with c1 preset

“I love using depth of field in my coffee photos. I’ll focus in on my favorite part and leave the rest slightly blurry. It lets me highlight the best part of the photo and bring the viewers attention straight there. But of course, it always helps to start with great coffee!”  Nate took the article header image you see above as well.  

Bryan Schiele – – “Shoot the Steam”

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“Looking to make your coffee photo stand out from the pack? Shoot it while it’s hot! Show off that steamy cup of coffee by using a little lighting trick that anyone can do. Grab a flashlight, the screen from a tablet or phone, or even position yourself strategically near a window in a café and let the light shine right through the steam coming out of your cup. This effect works best when you’re shooting against a darker background and when you position the light source just out of frame. It might take a few snaps to get it just right, but with a bit of patience and practice you’ll have a photo that’s as hot as the coffee you’re about to enjoy.”

Brian Beyke – @abandoncoffee – “Embrace Negative Space”

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“Don’t be afraid of negative space. Not everything has to seem artistic or special for that matter, but you should allow for content to be the focus, since that is generally the point: a focus. Let it pop by letting it stand out uncluttered or alone, then tell your audience why it matters.”

Will Fryar – @cityonfilm – “Setting the Scene”

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“When I am shooting something like coffee I like to make sure the brand and packaging are best represented in the image. On of the aspects of the image I focus on most is composition. I like to add elements to the photos that help tell the story of that particular coffee. I call it “setting the scene”. First find an interesting floor that has a pattern that is consistent ex: hardwood floors or patterned carpet. Then find a few coffee related objects like a hand grinder, coffee beans, Chemex, etc and build your composition from there. Remember to use symmetry in your composition, aligning objects in a way that appeals to you eye. And remember, It’s coffee so have fun!”

Savannah Kilpatrick – @bushelandpeck_ – “Utilize natural light (& free apps!)”

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“As earth dwellers, we all have access to natural sun light, so why not put it to good use!?  When capturing your best shot, natural light can be your best friend in so many ways. We suggest shooting your cup of Joe in the early morning, those early-hour rays shine ever so softly through the window, making your photos look effortless and bright. Make sure to position your “set” just outside of direct sunlight, so your photos won’t look too harsh and overexposed.

There are SO many free apps to use to make those small last-minute touchups so easy. We prefer to use “VSCO”. While the app and some of it’s filters are free, there are some filters and presets that you may want to consider purchasing for your own photo style. They offer so many options for filters that don’t make your photos grainy or washed out.  It’s pretty legit and we definitely give it two thumbs-up.”

Want to learn about the best coffee in San Francisco? Or learn how to perfectly brew coffee at home or make an amazing cold brew coffee!