30 Inspiring Images of Coffee

One way to find new ideas for photos is to look at your daily habits and capture those. For example, if you’re a coffee drinker, you can brainstorm dozens of ideas around coffee alone. It’s an excellent photography subject, not just for still life photos, but also for portraits and action shots.

That’s one reason why we included coffee as a subject in our 2017 Photography Challenge. It’s simple to find and easy to work into a variety of compositions and settings. Plus, you get to enjoy drinking it afterward.

Creative Ideas for Coffee Photos

The handful of ideas below are some of the most effective ways to photograph coffee. Of course, there are many more possibilities than we’ve included here, but if you’re struggling for inspiration, these ideas are a good place to start.

Birds-Eye View

This compositional technique is commonly used with coffee photos because it shows the inside of the cup. It’s perfect for latte art, but it can be a good choice for black coffee, too, especially if you’re shooting several subjects at once.

For instance, if you’re photographing your breakfast alongside your coffee, a bird-eye view is one of the best ways to show everything clearly. It’s also a realistic perspective, as we often look down at our food with a birds-eye view.

SuperDewa – coffee love

SuperDewa - coffee love

kento takayanagi – Untitled

kento takayanagi - latte

Nico Francisco – Chocolate Chunk and Almond Biscotti

Nico Francisco - Chocolate Chunk and Almond Biscotti

Filippo Diotalevi – Coffee

Filippo Diotalevi - Coffee

Marco Verch – Coffee and croissants

Marco Verch - Coffee and croissants

Coffee Cups

If your coffee is in a photogenic cup, you can get away with side angle that focuses on the cup and hides the coffee. For this composition, you’ll need to think carefully about the background. A good background will highlight the cup and make your photo better, while a bad background will distract your viewers and weaken your photo.

First, think about the colors of your background. You’ll want either neutral colors or colors that will match or contrast with your cup. If the background colors aren’t working well, try shooting in black and white instead.

You might also want to minimize background distractions by using a shallow depth of field (i.e. bokeh). Remember to notice any lines in the photo, too, like the edge of a table. Then, position the cup so the lines are leading to it.

{Flixelpix} David – Coffee

{Flixelpix} David - Coffee

jordan parks – hello, old friend

jordan parks - starbucks cup

Pascal Rey – un coeur de capuccino…

Pascal Rey - un coeur de capuccino...

Pascal Rey – Coffee & glasses…

Pascal Rey - Coffee and glasses

Close-up of Coffee Beans

You don’t need to drink coffee to get a nice coffee photo. Coffee beans are interesting enough to shoot, even for non-coffee drinkers. They have a unique shape and texture that’s well-suited for close-up or macro photos. For maximum contrast, use a light background or try a dark background with strong lighting that shines off the beans.

Scott Reilly – 2017 Photography Challenge 02:52

Scott Reilly - coffee beans

Alejandra Dodge – All Of The While I Never Knew”

Alejandra Dodge - coffee bean

Theo Crazzolara – Coffee Bean

Theo Crazzolara - Coffee Beans

Mariana – Untitled

Mariana - coffee beans

Laurens Kaldeway – Coffee Beans

Laurens Kaldeway - Coffee Beans

Cup of Coffee Beans

Not a fan of macro photography? You can still capture the beauty of coffee beans in a still life with other objects. For example, you can fill a mug with coffee beans to capture the idea of coffee with a creative twist. Be sure to use a cup that contrasts the coffee beans for maximum effect. White or brightly-colored cups are both good choices.

ruben alexander – Grammar & Coffee

ruben alexander - Grammar book and Coffee

Definitely Dreaming – Morning Coffee?

Definitely Dreaming - Morning Coffee

Raymond’s Glass Eye – Cup of Life

Raymonds Glass Eye - Cup of coffee beans

Peter Drach – von links nach rechts

Peter Drach - coffee beans to coffee

Prop for Portrait Shoots

Coffee can be a nice prop for portraits because it gives the image a cozy, casual feel. It can also bring out your model’s personality, especially if you’re shooting at a coffee house they love or using coffee cups from their home. Besides, having coffee during the shoot can help your model feel more comfortable, so the portraits will look more genuine.

Otacílio Rodrigues – Café Capital

Otacílio Rodrigues - Café Capital

Stephan Csiszar – | Sylvianne |

Stephan Csiszar - cafe portrait

Jewell – dreaming of sunshine on this rainy day

Jewell - coffee mug in bed

Lukas Kubicek – Coffee with Katrin

Lukas Kubicek - Coffee portrait

Coffee Splash

With a fast shutter speed, you can get a cool shot of coffee splashing. You can create this splash by pouring coffee high above a cup or dropping something like a sugar cube into the coffee. For a bigger splash, just increase the height of the drop.

Niki van Velden – Splash and a bean

Niki van Velden - coffee splash and coffee beans

Davide Gabino (aka Stròlic Furlàn) – Coffee f1.2

Davide Gabino (aka Stròlic Furlàn) - pouring coffee

John Beans – brown liquid poured on white enamel cup

John Beans - coffee poured into white enamel cup

César Santiago Molina – Coffee

César Santiago Molina - Coffee

Photo Manipulation

Coffee drinks and coffee beans are both great subjects for practicing photo manipulation. Their simplicity allows you to experiment with a variety of ideas, from easy Photoshop effects to more in-depth photo manipulation.

Bernie – Coffee

Bernie - Coffee

Andrew Seaman – Coffee Moon

Andrew Seaman - Coffee Moon

Handy Andy Pandy – Some Days, Even Coffee Won’t Help

Handy Andy Pandy - coffee fuck you

Laurens Kaldeway – Coffee

Laurens Kaldeway - Coffee

Many of the above photos were selected from our awesome Flickr group. Next time you shoot your cup of coffee, post the image in our group so we can appreciate it!