Day 122 – Fancy a Coffee?

I had this crazy idea of photographing a cup of coffee … not just any coffee though, my favorite coffee is from France, served as either an espresso or an Americano and enjoyed with an amaretti biscuit or three … so to get it right I wanted to use a white cup on a white background so it involved some sort of studio set up.

  • Canon Camera with 100mm macro lens
  • Tripod
  • 2 off camera flashes
  • Foam board under the cup for a white background
  • Pippette to add a torch of milk

First I had to get the set up right and I angled the flashes and moved my fix lens camera until I got the photo that I wanted of an empty cup, with some shadows to add depth.

ISO 200, F8, 1/250 sec
ISO 200, F8, 1/250 sec

I added the coffee and the yummy biscuits – 3 is always a good number and got the shot of a perfect cup of coffee. This is how I drink it and it tastes great but some people like to ruin a black coffee with a touch of milk so I decided to take this shot to another level.

ISO 200, F8, 1/250 sec
ISO 200, F8, 1/250 sec

I filled a pipette with milk, and used it to add tiny drops of milk to my coffee – I ended up taking about 100 shots as it was pure guess work as to whether I timed it right with the drop landing in the coffee and the flash going off, but these are some of the shots I am happiest with.

To start with though it was hard working trying to get the drop to land in the right place in the cup… I ended up with the pipette taped onto a frame above the cub – just out of shot.

Black Coffee with a splash of milk
Black Coffee with a splash of milk

Some of the shots landed perfectly, the milk dropped into the coffee and I was able to capture the rebound.

Black Coffee with a splash of milk
Black Coffee with a splash of milk

Some of the rebound shots even gave the impression that I had added some milk.

Black Coffee with a splash of milk
Black Coffee with a splash of milk

Depending on my timing I got a whole different feel to the image – here I captured a “crown” as the milk droplet disappeared under the coffee.

Black Coffee with a splash of milk
Black Coffee with a splash of milk

With lucky timing I managed to capture the droplet of milk as it hit the surface of the coffee.

Black Coffee with a splash of milk
Black Coffee with a splash of milk

In some photos you could see more milk that in others…  what I had not noticed was how much the coffee had run onto the saucer and how the impact of the splashes was staining my foam board.

Black Coffee with a splash of milk
Black Coffee with a splash of milk

Sometimes I caught the droplet of milk reemerging from the cup and an bold circle of dark coffee below.

Black Coffee with a splash of milk
Black Coffee with a splash of milk

I managed to even get the milk bubble to balance on top of the coffee!

Black Coffee with a splash of milk
Black Coffee with a splash of milk

Sometimes I dropped the milk too quickly and I ended up with lots of drops and a mess!

Black Coffee with a splash of milk
Black Coffee with a splash of milk

And sometimes I managed to capture more than one drop… the milk going into the coffee and the coffee bouncing back out – but for this final shot I cloned out the additional coffee splashes in Photoshop. I am really pleased with this, it was the kind of look I was hoping for.

Black Coffee with a splash of milk
Black Coffee with a splash of milk

So do you fancy a coffee? I’ll pop the kettle on 🙂

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