Cafe Photography for Instagram: Telling Visual Stories with Emotional Cafe Photos | Sean Dalton | Skillshare

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Cafe Photography for Instagram: Telling Visual Stories with Emotional Cafe Photos

teacher avatar Sean Dalton, Travel Photographer

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

    • 1.



    • 2.

      Cafe Photography


    • 3.

      Course Project


    • 4.



    • 5.

      Past Photo Critique


    • 6.

      Common Mistakes


    • 7.

      Preparing for the shoot


    • 8.



    • 9.



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About This Class

Travel with iconic café lifestyle photographer Sean Dalton as he shares his process for shooting moody café and coffee shop lifestyle photos — the style that built his career as a professional photographer.

Having shot for several large brands and establishing himself as an Instagram Influencer, Sean has used his talents in café lifestyle photography to tell the visual stories of countless cafes around the world. This 37-minute, behind-the-scenes style course is fueled by his experiences and insights. Sean shares several of his secrets to success, including:

  • Identifying photo-genic and "Instagrammable" cafes and coffee shops
  • Preparing for photo shoots and gaining inspiration
  • Common mistakes and how to avoid them
  • Utilizing gear to capture the perfect shot
  • Telling visual stories through a combination of lighting, styling, and composition
  • Editing photos to enhance the mood and ambiance of the café setting

Whether you’re an aspiring freelancer photographer, café hopping enthusiast with limited camera skills, or professional food photographer, this class mixes technical information with foundational photography skills that appeals to everyone. See the inner workings of a professional café lifestyle photographer, and take your visual storytelling skills to the next level.

Meet Your Teacher

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Sean Dalton

Travel Photographer

Top Teacher

Hey guys! I'm Sean.

For the last 5 years I've been traveling the world capturing as many photos as I possibly can. I'm drawn to a wide range of photography styles, and constantly striving to improve my art. Emotion and storytelling are two central pillars of my artwork, and I am always looking for new and interesting stories to tell via my camera.

I'm originally from San Francisco, California, but have spent the last few years chasing stories and light throughout Asia.

Most of what I teach relates to my background with travel and lifestyle photography, but I am constantly expanding my focus as I continue to grow as a photographer. I'm pumped that you are here, let's grow together!

I'm active on Instagram, and you can also find me on YouTube.... See full profile

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1. Introduction: Hey guys, my name is Sean Dalton. I'm a cafe lifestyle and fashion photographer based in Chiang Mai, Thailand. I'm originally from San Francisco, California and I've been traveling Asia for about a year and a half or so. For the past few months, I've been living in Chiang Mai where there's just a huge cafe scene that it seems like on every corner there's a new cafe opening up every weekend. It's really introduced me to this new styles, and I've been able to focus in on it and really master some of the techniques that I'm going to be sharing with you in this course. The thing that I love so much about cafe photography is it's more than just shooting subject matter, it's conveying a mood or emotion. It seems like every cafe you go into has a mood or emotion built into it and you can pull that into your photos, and display them on Instagram, or your website, or Facebook, or wherever you're presenting these photos, and it's more than just subject matter, it's taking somebody to that place, and showing them what that cafe is like if they were to actually be there. In this course, we're going to explore topics like lighting and where to find the good light, how to find a good location, and what light do we want to avoid in which light do we want to shoot in. We're going to talk about composition and what makes a good composition and different aspects that affect your composition, and why you might want to avoid them or look for them. We're going to be talking about styling as well. Styling is very important and we're going to talk about how subjects in your frame affect your composition and how it affects the overall mood of the image. We're going to talk about these things, and a few more tips and tricks that will help you become a master at cafe photography. I think this course is basically for anybody that has an interest in food, fashion, or cafe photography as a whole. Cafe photography covering encompasses a lot of different styles, and it doesn't matter if you're a beginner photographer, and you don't know exactly what your style is, or if you're advanced photographer, and you want to hone in on some of those stylistic characteristics that you really like. This course can be for anybody across the board, and I think you'll get something out of it no matter who you are. 2. Cafe Photography: Today I'm in one of my favorite cafes Artisan Cafe in Chiang Mai, Thailand. It's one of my favorite cafes because the lighting is absolutely gorgeous. I think it's a perfect place to introduce you to cafe photography, which doesn't seem to be too popular of a term yet. Cafe photography is essentially a few different types of photography all combined in one. Food photography, lifestyle photography, fashion photography, interior photography, and it all takes place in the setting of the cafe. With that said, cafe photography is pretty broad. So when we go out to shoot in a cafe, we're going to be taking interior photos and we're going to be taking close-up photos of our food. But what it all comes down to is that these things all display a certain mood or an emotion of the cafe that you're in. It's the way you capture that food or that interior setting and how you put it all together to really elicit an emotion within your viewer. When it comes to cafe photography, there's three really important aspects. The first one is location and what I mean by that is not all cafes are created equal. Sometimes you'll go to a cafe and the lighting is just not good and the settings not very good. There might be a little loud noise, you can't concentrate. There's nothing to point inspiration from. On the contrary, sometimes you'll find a cafe that's just absolutely gorgeous and everything is perfect like this cafe behind me that we're going to be shooting in today. It's a lovely cafe. The lighting is really perfect. That's one of the most important things about a cafe is the lighting. That brings me to my second point about cafe photography. Lighting is the most crucial aspect of cafe photography. Like all types of photography, you want to find the good light within each cafe. Often times in cafes, there's a corner with really ambient light and there might be a lot of good decorations and stuff, but the lighting is just not good. It's not quality lighting. You want to stay close to the windows. Typically, windows have a nice diffused light coming in and it's perfect for things like stellar and portraiture like. When it comes to learning the best time to shoot is in the morning or in the late afternoon. Usually before 10:00 AM or after 4:00 or 05:00 PM, depending on where you are in the world. Right now it's about four o'clock in Chiang Mai, Thailand and it's the perfect time to shoot. The lighting is really beautiful. We're under shade right now, but once we get into the cafe, you're going to see that light coming through the windows and it's absolutely gorgeous. The third crucial aspect about cafe photography is how you shoot the photo. What gear you're using, if you're shooting at a low aperture or a high aperture, your angle, if you're incorporating more light into your shot, you're pulling light out of, if you're overexposing, underexposing, there's just a lot of different things that go into it. But basically the stylistic characteristics of photography definitely have an effect on the mood that you display in your cafe photos. 3. Course Project: So for the course project, I would like you to go out to a cafe or a coffee shop near your house and capture three different photos that really captures the mood and the emotion of that setting. So if it's kind of a darker, or moody, or cafe vibe, I want three pictures that really emphasize that, you can do a combination of close-up or wide-angle shots. It doesn't really matter. I just think going out and shooting and capturing different photos is really great place to start. I and can't wait to see what you guys will come up with. 4. Gear: Hey guys. Now I want to spend a little bit of time talking about gear, not too much because it's really not that important in the grand scheme of cafe photography and photography in general. But I do think it's important for you to know what I'm shooting with and why I like to shoot with the gear that I have. Let's start. This is my camera bag here. This is where I keep all my stuff in its leather. I love it so much. It's called Momento bag. They're made in Thailand and they're made like tanks mounted on them and they're super strong and beautiful. I think it's important to have a nice camera bag that you want to put your gear into because then you'll protect it a lot more. I do shoot on a Sony A7 R2. It's Sony's flagship full-frame camera. It's mirrorless or it's smaller, and it's really great. I'm actually filming on it right now, but L'll come to some B-roll so you can kinda check it out and see the size and all that. On the camera is a 35-millimeter f-1.4.It's a great, great lens.It's a really versatile lens. You can get wide width or you can get up close. You can use it for a variety of different functions. I shoot fashion with it. I'll shoot interiors with it, I'll even shoot food with it from time to time, if I want to show the whole table or a little bit, I want to pull more into the frame. Of the second lens I have is a SonyZ 55 millimeter, f 1.8. The 55 millimeter is great because it's still a versatile focal length and not as versatile as that 35. But it's really good for shooting things like portraits. You can associate fashion with it, and it's a little bit more zoomed in, so it's really good at shooting things like food and just different things like that. It's a really great lens, I used this a lot doing my professional shoots. But maybe my favorite lens is the Sony 85 millimeter f 1.4 G-Master. It's a beast of a lens, it's super huge, and the aperture of 1.4 is really wide. When you are taking shots wide open at f 1.4, the background blurs incredible. I mean, the book is just super buttery, it's beautiful and that has a lot of emotion and it's it gives it this really soft to look. I'm shooting things like food or coffee, or even portraits for that matter. I do love to use this lens and get really close to the object and completely blur the background, so you're keeping the focus with a 100 percent on your subject, and that's one of the things that I really love about this lens and any zoom lens for that matter. The more you're zoomed in, the more you're going to isolate your subject and you're going to pull the background in and blurred out, which is a really beautiful look. One of my favorite looks, this is my buddies Canon EOS 60D. It's a great camera, it's a crop sensor, has an 18 to 55 millimeter kit lens which might be what you have if you just bought your first DSLR, and that's totally okay. I think it's important to note that it doesn't really matter what you're shooting with, because all of the same concepts of cafe photography apply regardless of your camera. Composition, lighting and styling are the three important things to cafe photography, not necessarily gear. Even if you have an iPhone, that's totally okay because the same concept still apply. I know some instagramers that take actually gorgeous photos with their iPhone is better than me. I get self-conscious every time I see that, but I think it's important to note that it doesn't really matter what you're shooting with and don't stress too much about it. Your photos are going to be beautiful at the end of the day [inaudible]. 5. Past Photo Critique: Here's one of my favorite photos I've ever taken. I was having dessert at a Bingsu cafe, a Korean cafe. I was with my friend. I thought the dessert was absolutely beautiful so I walked over to the window. There was a seat by the window, you can see the window in the back here. I basically told my friend to pour the strawberry sauce on top of the dessert. This is what we came up with. I was shooting with an 85 millimeter at F 1.4. I chose that focal length and that aperture because I really wanted to get up close and personal to the food, and really blur the background behind it. I'd still wanted to keep some of the colors, and as you can see we did that with the background. You can still see some detail there so you can kind of have an idea of what's going on, but it's not distracting too much from the main subject, which is the hand pouring the strawberry sauce on top of this dessert here. Composition wise, once again, pretty simple. I mean we just have the dessert in the middle of the frame, and I think what's balancing it is actually the hand on top pouring the sauce over it. The overall tone of the image it's pretty flat. I think that's a kind of a characteristic of my style. I like flat images. I really like to have flat blocks and flat means that no, they're not super deep, the contrast isn't super crazy. You know we do still have a lot of contrast in this image, and that's much thanks to the lighting coming in through this window. I think it's important to note that the light source at this specific part of the day was perfect. That there was a lot of clouds in the sky, and why that is good is because without the clouds the sun is a bit too harsh. The clouds act as a natural diffuser, making the light nice and soft, and by the time it hits our food, its in this perfect form of nice soft light that just illuminates everything in just the right way. Here we just have a still life scene. I just threw my bag down, my camera bag. I have my friend's Leica, I set that down, cut through some things in the frame, and just wanted to see what I can come up with. I shot this at 85 millimeters, F 2.8. The reason I stopped down to 2.8 was because I wanted to get a little bit more detail in the image. F 1.4 is really good at isolating your subject, but in this situation we have a few subjects in the frame. We have the bag, the phone, the Leica camera, and this lens in the back. It wasn't my intention to make that lens in the back blurry, but now that I look at the image, I think it's great. I don't think it needs to be in focus too much because the main part of the focus is the bag and the camera here, which are both in pretty decent focus. Why shooting at f 2.8 and not 5.6 is because I didn't want to pull too much detail out of the background. I didn't want you to be able to see the floor in the back behind the chair. I even wanted the chair a little bit out of focus, and we achieved that in this image. Composition wise, it's pretty simple, it's nice and balanced. We have the left side of the frame being balanced by the corner of the bag, and the right side of the frame being balanced by the camera, tops of the frame being balanced by the lens. Then we do have that chair creating that line across the image. So I do also really like these creases in the lid of the bag that are creating really nice shadows. That's thanks to the main light source, the big window, kind of it sitting in front of the image. You can see here on the top of the chair there's a really bright outline, that's because the sun is coming in through those windows and it's creating a lot of really, really interesting shadows across the frame. There is one more light source in the building and that is a chandelier hanging above. It's casting a really orange kind of light on the image and you can see it here in the chair, and also in that lens you can see there's chandelier. In this situation, I think it looks really, really cool, it adds a lot of dynamic color. If we didn't have that natural light source, I don't think this image would be as effective. We go to the next image. Very, very simple composition. I basically took the cup of coffee and I set it on the corner of the table. I stopped down to F 2.0. I didn't want to go 1.4 because everything would be very out of focus. I think 2.0 is good because the coffee cup's in focus, and you can still see some detail on the table, whereas the ground is completely blurred out which was the look I was going for him. This was shot at 35 millimeter F 2.0, as I said before. Minimal editing, I did kind of pull out some of those green tones. It's also very soft, kind of vintage looking. I think what characterizes this image so well is the composition, it's simple, but it looks really, really cool, and it kind of creates this mood as to what the cafe might look like. This image was pretty popular when I did post it on my Instagram. I think it's because people can relate to it, it's not too complex and it looks really really cool. It's a bit abstract. It's just to show you that you don't have to have very complicated composition to take a good photo. Contrasting that is this image where we have a little bit more of a complicated composition. I shot this for a brand I was working with, Daniel Wellington, a watch company. It was at a cafe near my house here in Thailand. I wanted to create something interesting, but I didn't know what to use for props. I looked around the cafe, I found this really cool menu, they have a really cool menu. So I grabbed that, I ordered cold brew, and I found this little cactus that I put in the back. There was a plant nearby, so I pulled some leaves off the plant, and I just sprinkled them around the menu. Yeah, maybe it doesn't look too natural, but composition wise it's very well done. The leaves add some really interesting contrast and some really interesting detail. They add to this mood of this watch, this really classy watch or in a classy cafe, Pepper and Pine is the name of the cafe, kind of a cool hipster kind of name. Then we have these leaves that maybe they just fall on the menu or something. I don't know, but it looks cool in this situation. Editing wise, once again, we have that soft tone and the background is nice and blurry, that's thanks to the 85 millimeter. This was shot at 85 millimeter F 2.8. The reason 2.8 was because I wanted to get the whole watch in focus while still maintaining that nice depth of field that we have maintained here. I did do some editing on the watch itself. You can see the watch's pretty sharp and high in contrast, it's because I did some localized editing on the front part of that watch there. This next image is really, really soft, really moody, really emotional, and that's what I love about it. Simple, simple styling here. I probably could have done a better job, but the sandwich didn't come out that pretty so I didn't want to put too much focus on the camera. I wanted to focus on that beautiful rose soda that I had there. So what I did was I once again to grab the menu, I put the food on top, had a glass of water, threw it down. I was alone, didn't have anybody with me and I just wanted to get some shots for fun. The table here really mix the image so good as well as the light and all that rustic detail you see on the wall there. It was a cloudy day so the light's coming in through this front part of the image here. You can see the window there, and it's nice and diffused so our shadows aren't too harsh. We're not losing detail on the table, which probably would happen if the light was not diffused. I shot at 85 millimeter F 1.4 to put the focus on the rose soda there, and I think we achieved it pretty well. Editing wise I really soften the tones here, I brought the shadows way up, I brought highlights down, I brought the contrast down, and I did some localized editing on the soda, and that's about it here. I did desaturate it a little bit as well actually, and pull out some of those deeper blue tones as you can see. Overall I think it creates a really good image here that I really like. Here we shot with a model. This is just to show you that you can shoot with models in cafes and still kind of capture that cafe vibe. Here with a beautiful model and a really good vibe. I really like what she was wearing. I had her sit on the couch to kind of balance the composition here. I really liked that shadow line coming across the image from the middle of the right of the frame, to the bottom of the left frame here. That's thanks to this light source on the right. We have this really cool window, and it's shedding in all this natural light. Had her look into the window because I wanted to get that light on her face. If she was facing the other way, the light wouldn't be so great on her. The light's pretty diffused. It was a little bit sunny, and you can see we've lost some detail on the table there. There's a little bit of specks of light, but overall I think it's okay especially editing phase. Once you kind of drop those highlights and up those shadows, it kind of flatten the image on a little bit. One thing I would change is I wouldn't cut off the top of the frame here, Artisan café, it's cut off. I think it's still okay because there's a model, we're focusing on her. I don't think those words are distracting in the back. Overall, it's a very simple composition, just had her sit there. The frame is nice and balanced by the window on the right, and all the things on the left, and then her sitting in the middle here. I think it's a really good image. Once again you can see that these tones are pretty soft as characterized in all of these images. That's something that I like in my style. This was shot at 35 millimeter. I believe I shot this at F 1.4. I definitely could have stopped down to 2.8 or 5.6 or even F 8, but in this situation I think it's okay because I had her face in focused. My lens does a really good job at 1.4, so I don't think any changes really need to be made in terms of that. I wanted to bring this image in because it's incredibly simple. It's very, very simple composition. This was shot at 35 millimeter F 1.4. All I did was place the subject in the middle of the frame. What makes this image so good is a few things. The lighting is absolutely perfect, we had a really beautiful light source coming in from the left of the frame, a nice window, and then on top there was light that's just hit perfectly on top of the subject and created this awesome shadow, where you can see the shadow below the subject here. There's also some really nice contrast on the straw on the top of the image. Then you see it just splitting the cup in half, the left side has some bright areas on the right side it has dark areas and that leads to this really cool contrast. That's thanks to the main light source on the left, that window. The tones are really beautiful here. We have the blue café compliment with this wonderful table, and then the blue on the cup, and the browns and the yellows. Those are all complimentary colors, and they look great together. Editing wise, desaturated it a little bit because that's my look, that's my style. Sharpened the Brew Fact logo there a little bit, added something getting, flatten the tones. Overall I think it's a really, really cool image. Once again I throw this in there because I want you guys to understand that you don't have to have a really complicated photo, a really complicated composition, or a complicated styling to make a good photo. This is a good photo. You can have one subject as long as you balance it correctly and utilizing light correctly, and you're focusing, it can be a really really cool image and that's what we've done here. Once again I shot this at 35 millimeter F 1.4. I did that because I wanted to show a little bit more of the café here. So I'm pretty close to the subject. If I shot this at 85, the background would be completely eliminated. You wouldn't really be able to see anything, even the colors would be a little bit more minute. I think in this situation the 35 really cool because it allows us to focus on this main subject, and still pull in some of the detail on the outside of the frame. Here is one of my favorite images. I love it because of the soft summer tones. Once again, pretty simple styling here. I shot this at 55 millimeter F 1.8. We have the coffee cup here with the Nowhere Coffee Roasters logo on it, this book, this coffee book, and then there was this plant in one of those saucer water bottles. I kind of threw it all there, threw it on the chair. I loved at the background, the background is what makes us image. We have those blues with the plants, and then the window, and there's kind of like a little bit of rust on the window, and the wood is old. It all just looks really cool. It paints this vibe of like this vintage hipster idea. That kind of matches the style of my Instagram. Composition wise, there are a lot of interesting lines in the background here. The blue wall, there's some lines crossing in vertical and horizontal, and then there's word coming in the middle, top part of the frame, creating a nice diagonal line. Those lines are really good for leading your eye around the image, allowing you to see different things. I also really like the chair that we put it on creating this bottom base where we could do some styling. I think it looks really really cool. Editing wise, we did some warmer tones here, was shot on a summer day. I really wanted to emphasize that it was a nice summer day. It is a vintage look, once again, that's my style. The flat look, not too high and contrast. I did do some localized editing on the book, and the coffee cup added some clarity, some contrast, and I did some dehazing a little bit. The rest of the image is pretty hazy because I liked that a lot, but these main subjects are not too hazy. Those are some of my favorite images. If you guys want to see more, go ahead and visit my Instagram at Sean Dot. I have way more on there. You can check those out, share your comment. With that said, let's move on to the next module. 6. Common Mistakes: Hey, guys. The next thing I wanted to chat about is some of the common mistakes that people make when they just get into cafe photography, or lifestyle photography, or any photography in general. The first one is shooting in poor light. All light is not created equal. Sometimes there's just terrible light that doesn't look good. One of the biggest mistakes that we make when first starting out is when we're going into a cafe and we'll see this corner of the curtain. That's a beautiful house like these beautiful decorations. This cafe has an area that's just gorgeous, but the Lighting is very, very bad. It's artificial lighting. It's light coming from a man-made light source instead of the natural light source. Things like windows are beautiful, beautiful sources of light because the light from the sun is coming in, it's diffused. It looks really nice, and that's just the best type of light you can shoot with. The biggest tip I can give you a stay close to the windows and stay away from the artificial light and don't get sucked into those corners of the cafes that look really nice because they're decorated really well. The second thing is overthinking gear. I think so many photographers overthink their gear. Gear acquisition syndrome takes over, we want to buy new things. It just gets in the way of what's most important, and that's capturing the shot and going out and shooting and getting better and practicing on a daily basis, and just throwing yourself into photography, instead of thinking about what could be and what the photographer you could be if you had a different camera or something like that. Even if you just have a smartphone, that's totally okay, get out there and start shooting. The third thing is bad styling and bad composition. This is a really big mistake for [inaudible] photographers. It takes a lot to learn what looks good my friend. As human beings, our eyes naturally float or follow certain things so when we have specific subjects in the frame, it'll make it a lot easier for your viewer, for their eyes to move around the frame in an ineffective way that looks good. Essentially bad styling is just maybe putting too much stuff in the shot, or taking the shot from a bad angle, or just not fully thinking through what the competition looks like. Before the shoot, when you're doing your story-boarding and your mood boarding, go through and look at some of the other photographers and what they're doing in terms of composition and styling. Take note of those things so when you go and you can have an idea of how to arrange your still life or what angles you shoot from and things like that. The fourth thing is lack of diverse angles. So many photographers get sucked into one of two angles, shooting at a 45 degree and shooting from above. While those angles are good, there are so many other angles you can play with, you can shoot from bird's eye. A bird's eye is above. You can shoot from worm's eye, from below, you can shoot from the sides. Move around, keep moving around your subject and just keep trying different things and you will come up with some really interesting stuff. The fifth thing is such a common mistake that a lot of young photographers make, it's over editing. People take so much time in editing their photos and doing all the wrong things. They're over saturating, they're adding too much clarity, they're adding too much contracts so losing detail. Editing does take a long time to learn but once you learn those things, it just gets much easier. One of the things that I've always said is what separates a great photographer from a good photographer is the editing process, because there's so much that goes into it, but you really don't need to over edit your photos. Take it easy, maybe throw a one little filter on there and even try desaturating the colors and experiment with different things. But I think there's a big thing to note is try not to over edit your photos. It's going to be hard at first, but it's something that's really important. 7. Preparing for the shoot: Hey guys. The next thing I want to talk about is preparing for the shoot. I think a lot of us might show up and just go and take photos and sometimes that's okay, but for your first few shoots, I think it's a really good idea to storyboard beforehand and pull some inspiration from some of the photographers that are already doing some of the stuff that you like. I think there's three really great resources. Number 1 is Instagram. Instagram is a really great artistic medium, I think I talked about that a little bit before, but it's just a wonderful place where all these different artists from around the world are experimenting and just putting their stuff on the Internet for you to look at and for you to pull inspiration from. So before I go out and shoot, I will hop on Instagram and I'll browse some of my favorite photographers, there's so many good cafe photographers in Thailand and Indonesia specifically, Japan as well and I really look up to them, so what I'll do is I'll head on Instagram, I'll check them out, I'll browse their photos or I'll take notes of some of the stylistic characteristics that I really like. If they're styling in a certain way or the way they're using light, what they're using in the photos, if they're using a watch or a bag or a model or whatever that looks like, I'll take a note of that because I really like that and I'll try to reenact that later on. Another really great place is Pinterest. Pinterest is a fantastic place for artists and creators alike, you can head on there and you can search cafes or coffee or food or whatever you're going to be shooting and there's just a ton of content that you can pin in your boards and then when you go back and look at those boards, you can have an album of all these really, really great photos. The last thing I suggest is physical photography books, if you can head to the library and find a physical photography book, there's something about holding that and a lot of them are shot in film, which is just a beautiful medium, just a beautiful camera format that I love. You can pull them up and you can look at some of the timeless classics of photography, you can see what works, what's tested and before you go out and shoot, it's a really great way to touch up on some of those foundations of photography and also see new creative things that you might not have seen before. These are three things that I do all the time, I think it's just a really good way to stay on top of being creative and after you're a photographer for a long time, sometimes we forget, we stop being creative, we lose it, it's really important to keep that as we continue growing and as we meet new people and keep moving on. Try those things out before you head to your next shoot, have an idea of what you want to capture, have an idea of what moods and emotions you want to capture before you go. Write them down, take notes, so when you show up you can look at a certain area of the cafe and be like, that's exactly what I was thinking, that's portraying the mood that I had in my mind and I want to take that photo, it just makes the whole process a lot easier and a lot more fun. I think it's about time to start shooting guys, so why don't we get started? 8. Shooting: Hey guys, so we're finally ready to start shooting. We're going to be breaking down the shooting section into three different scenes. The first scene is just general shots at the cafe. You can do interior shots, shots of the barista making coffee. Maybe you see some really nice decoration, you just taking pictures of that. General photos to capture the scene, the mood, the emotion, the feeling of the cafe and it can be really of anything. The second scene is going to be a still life scene, we're going to lay it out, we're going to style it. We're going to have maybe some coffee, some books, some plants, maybe even a phone. Just to convey that lifestyle like you're at a cafe, you just have your stuff on the table and you're taking photos of it. The third scene is going to be a creative pouring scene., so we're going to pour the coffee into the glass. We're going to get a close up shot of that. I think that's where the creativity comes and I think it's really fun, really cool. That can come set you apart from other peoples photos when you do post on Instagram or whatever you're posting on. I think we're ready to get started. Let's start shooting. Hey guys this is the second scene now, this is going to be the still life scene. We have a little setup here. We ordered the cold brew, which is this really beautiful little glass that they came in. We have a book that we got from the shelf over here. We found this old camera on the shelf as well, it's super cool. Obviously, we're not shooting with it but I think it presents that different emotion in that older vintage look, which is really cool. Then we also have a plant here. All of these things play into the composition in some way or another, and the lighting does as well. We're right at the window here and if you can see this light coming in, you can put hand here and you see this little flecks of light coming in on this corner and on this corner as well. It's really beautiful. Maybe even move the table a little bit just to get a little bit more of that in the shot, I want to have this light on top of a corner and it looks really cool like that. We can do some close-up shots of this. We can stand back as well with 85 and take a picture of the full table and it'd be really cool. What I'm going to do, I'm going to mess around with this. I'm going to move it around and see what we can come up with here. There's really no rules of styling. It's thinking about the composition, thinking about the lighting and making it look good and displaying it in the best way you possibly can. I'm going to shoot this, I really like the book here. I think that's a really good look. I also like these plants, so I'm going to take some shots through the plants and why don't we see what we've come up with. Hey guys, so now we're going to do the pouring scene. We chose this corner here, the cafe, because we really like this wood table, it's really beautiful wood table. Also we have this window here. There's a roof, so the light is really diffused. Then we have this window here as well. There's a screen and the lighting's room is soft. We're being lit by both this side and this side here and we have this beautiful cold brew glass. I'm going to have my friend Jesse stand here and pour coffee and I'm going to stand back over here and I'm going to shoot with my 85 at 1.4 because I really want to put the focus 100 percent on the coffee and the glass. I don't really want to have a distracting corners. I'm locking this to 35, and I'm not going to use the 55 because the 85 is just the best one's to use to isolate that subject there. Why don't we try it out? 9. Editing: Hey guys, so we finished the shoot and we shot all three scenes with success. I'm here at a different cafe now, and I've imported all the photos into my computer. I've taken a quick look and I think the photos look pretty good. But I think it's time to start editing, so why don't we take a closer look and see what we got. Hey guys, so some of the things that I'm looking for as I'm looking through these photos is just general composition. I'm looking at how everything fits within the frame. I want to make sure that what my subject was is the main focus here. In this photo you can see that the cold brew glass is right in the middle. But we do have some things in the outside. So I really like this photos. What I'm going to do is I'm going to press "Five". I'm going to set that rating to five. You can do four, three, two if you want, but I just go ahead and mark this five. I'm also looking at the lighting. You can see here that we're shooting in front of the window. Some of these might be a little bit blown out. If you press J on the keyboard, you can see the clipping. The clipping areas is basically where we've lost detail and highlights on the black. In this case, we've lost detail here, here, and here because the window was super bright. Sometimes that can be corrected in post but here it looks like there's no more detail in there. We didn't capture any which is sometimes okay, sometimes not. I'm just going to keep looking through these photos. I'm going to select the one that I like. The other things I'm looking for is general styling. Like this one is not too well styled. You can see because there's just too much window here, and just the frame, it's just not balanced right, it just doesn't look right. You can see issues with the lighting here as well. Yeah. This are just some of the things I'm looking for. Some of the other things I look for is also just general sharpness in the photo. I really want this cold brew glass to be in detailed focus, and some of time it's not. You know what I mean, so I won't favorite those. I'll just let them be. Other things I look for is balance in the photo. Is the frame balanced? Here there's a lot of wide space. That can be cropped or is the photo level? You can fix that easily going here, but if it's too far, it's too unbalanced, then you can't fix it. You're going to have to cut off too much of the frame. Those are things I look for when I'm selecting my favorites. After we've just selected our favorite photos, in this situation, I've selected three of my favorites. We can start editing. Well the first thing I do when I edit is I make sure that the photo is straight. In this case, I think it looks okay. I mean I don't think I need to straighten anything. I like that this glass is tilted here. I can open up these lines and make sure, but in this situation it's not something I'm too worried about. From there I'll go ahead and throw over my presets that I use. Some of the presets that I created for myself. This one's too bright. I really like this one. I like that vignetting, I like that emotion that it puts into it. If you press the backslash on your keyboard, it'll show you the before and after. So you can see Lightroom automatically put on a lens correction, and I don't usually like that. You can see that the glass comes out when I do the before and here's the after, and it adds some vignetting, and it's more than natural look up the lines which I like. I'm going to use the preset but I'm going to show you guys what I do with the presets here, and why they're good. You can see here, the preset drops the highlights and that pulls out some of the detail here that we're losing in the glass here and everywhere. It also raises the shadows and it pulls some more detail of these dark areas here, and does the same thing with the blacks and the whites. We do like contrasts, but we also want to make sure that we're keeping a lot of detail in the darks and the highlights. Doesn't really do much with the colors in these sliders, but it does mess with the colors down here. You can see that on the hole it's pretty desaturated. The greens and the aquas pretty heavily as well as the reds, moving just the hues a little bit too. We've gone up just to change the overall as well as the luminance here. You can play with these as much as you want. Here you can see what I'm doing with the orange here. It'll darken it, I like that look. A little bit of a darker orange, and the red, there's not too much red in the photo but you can see there is a little bit of red here on the glass. So when I do go down it brings out some detail there and I like that a lot. So I'm going to stick with that. I really like to desaturate the greens, because sometimes the greens can be a little bit distracting when you're working with a lot of orange and reds. I think that looks really good. In terms of the tone curve here. I like to work in the RGB. If you mess with this and the tips here, you can get that really vintage look. If you see I go up there I'm losing a lot of detail here in these highlights, but I'm going to keep down. I what those really flat whites and the same thing with the blacks. I want some flat black. If I go up, the blacks get really flat. Put on some detail, if I go down, they get really dark, so I'm going to stay right around here. In my opinion the vignette might be a little bit too much, so I'm going to go down here, I'm going to remove chromatic aberration. I always click that because if there isn't a chromatic aberration and you can see that green here, it'll help get rid of it a little bit on the high contrast lines you see there. The vignetting seems a little strong, [inaudible] plus 16. Let's go fullscreen and check it out a little bit more detail. I think that looks really good. We stare at a detail here, we look at the before and we look at the after, before, after. Some of the things I'm going to mess with a little bit, I'm going to change this library here, I'm going to make it pop a little bit more. One of the things you can do is you can increase clarity, increase dehaze, and contrast. You can go run over this logo here, and then I'll pull out the logo a little bit more, especially clarity and dehaze, look how much better you can see it. One of the things I noticed through before and after is the highlights are a little bit too large, I'm going to increase them a little bit. I think that looks really good. Here's the after, here's the before. After, before. You can see just by jumping the highlight or pulling out so much detail that we lost here in these areas, we've folded back out by dropping the highlights. I really like this look. It's a vintage, its a flatter look, desaturated. In my opinion, this is the look that I really like to go for. This is a completed photo for me. You can see I didn't really mess with the temperature at all. The white balance, I think it was good out of the camera. The general exposure was okay as well. Just mess with these sliders here. One of the tips I can give you is a lot of people add a lot of clarity, when they first start shooting, clarity is really awesome, but I actually don't like to use it too much, because I think it just distracts a little bit too much. In this situation, we add a little bit, but don't add too much. It's a mistake that a lot of people make. All right, this photo looks really good, so let's move on to this next one. Here, when we first start looking at this, we can see a few things. It's a little bit off balance. It's tilted here, it's not straight. We've lost a lot of detail here in the highlighted areas. The darks are okay, but the highlights are pretty bad. What I'm going to do, is I'm going to straighten the image first, I'm going to go here, and sometimes they use the auto straightener, it's really good, but sometimes it doesn't work either. I just made some basic straightening. I think that looks okay. I don't want to do anymore because then we're going to get that cut off and then it'll just look funky, each time I go back a little bit. I think that looks okay, I don't like to have this getting cut off on the frame. Now we've cropped it, we can go ahead and add a filter, I'm going to go back to my filters here, my Cafe Presets. I really like these first ones up here. I'm going to use this first one here. Looking at it now, we want to drop the highlights a little bit more. Highlights are pretty strong in this photo. I'm going to drop them all the way. I'm going to raise the shadows a little bit, I should some more detail here, in this glass that we've lost, and much of the tone curve a little bit more, so lets see what we got here. I like that, coming up here we're getting more detail on this glass, and I really like that, so I'm going to leave that there. Saturation wise, it looks okay, I think it looks good. Remove that chromatic aberration. I'm also going to mess with this logo here, so I'm going to get the selective editor, I'm going to increase clarity, I'm going to increase dehaze. It's a little bit dark too, so I'm going to up my shadows a little bit. Exposure I think is okay, and we're just going to run over here. It's actually darkening it a little bit, because the contrast is up. Let's drop that, raise the shadows a little bit more, there we go, that looks good. We can also raise the blacks, to look sweet. I really like this dehaze function. A lot people don't use it, but it's so good at pulling out detail in certain things. Raise the exposure a little bit too. Lets peel back and see what that looks like. That looks cool, here's the before, and here's the after, before, after, before, after. You see how everything is getting more flat here, so the white's more flat, dark is more flat, and we got more detail here, everything just looks cool. We still have a lot of contrast, I like to maintain high contrast in my photos. I am going to look to add a little bit of vignetting, just a little bit. There, that's good, because it is really bright, around these areas, and this is our focus, so I like to shadow up, I really like this. I would say this is done. I would export this and I would upload on Instagram or wherever I was going to upload. Moving on to the last one here. This image is definitely isn't perfect, but I really like it. This pouring shot is unique, we still see the logo here, so if we were shooting for the cafe for money, this would be fine. We can definitely use that. We have the glass here, everything looks good, we're not losing too much detail anywhere, everything looks great. Let's slap all of the presets again. That's cool. Pretty bright. I really like my second presets. Let's use this one, this one's really cool. I like how it has a lot of darkness here, a lot of vignetting. One of the things that you noticed right off the bar is we're loosing too much detail on the dark, so I'm going to raise this shadows a little bit, we'll add some more detail there. Lower the highlights, it looks pretty good. Then I'm going to just go ahead straight into this logo here, and do the same thing that I was doing with the other ones. Dehaze, clarity, up the shadows a little bit. Yeah, look at that. Look how much detail comes out, that's crazy. I like how this logo has like coffee spills on it, to me that's super cool. I think it totally just adds to it, I don't know if they did that on purpose or what the deal was there, but let's check that out. You can see so much of that, that's really cool. Here's the before, here's the after. My friend's got such a hairy arm. I think the tone curve looks good. I've made this tone curve in the past, and I don't usually mess with it too much, but when we're looking at the colors here, you can see the same saturation, we're using the same filter as we did on the first two. We've got the desaturate greens, I'm going to desaturate the greens a little bit more, because you can see here they're peaking through, and they're pretty green. I'm going to take them out a little bit more. I'm going to add some more vignetting. Let's see how far the vignettes [inaudible] by four. That's cool, yeah, looks really good. I think that's about it. What I'll do now is I'll select all three photos and I'll go ahead and export them, and I'll say Artisan Cafe Photos or export JPEG, sRGB, quality 100. If I did want to add a watermark, I could do that right here, I have a few, I'm not going to add a watermark. For Instagram I don't add watermarks, and what I'll do is I'll hit "Export" and that's it. Hey guys, so now that we've edited all three photos, I'm going to go ahead and send them to my iPhone and I'm going to post them on Instagram. I'm also going to post them on my website, and the Stock Photography website. Those are the three places that I post my edited cafe photos. With that, that's the end of the course, guys. I really hope you got something out of it, and I'm really hoping to hearing from you. So go ahead and send me an e-mail, you can contact me at You can check out my website, I have some presets for sale, and some other things as well that might help you in your photographic process. I want to give a big shout out to my friend Jesse for helping me throughout this whole process. He's my camera man, my mentor, and I really appreciated everything he did for me. I want to say thank you to you guys as well for getting this far in the course and watching it. If you have any feedback please let me know, I'm really hoping to hearing it. Thank you guys so much, and I hope to see you in my next course.