When I first started this blog, I tended to just use pictures from the tea company’s websites in my reviews. I eventually started trying my hand at taking my own pictures and looking back now, they were terrible! Thank goodness for technology advances and the University of YouTube. Whether it is for a blog, posting on Instagram, or just for personal enjoyment; here are some simple things that can help you with taking better pictures of tea.
Start with What You Have
Before starting this post I think it’s important to say that you do not need a ton of expensive equipment to take good pictures. Practicing is the most important tip that I can give when it comes to taking better pictures of tea. Use natural light and your cell phone to start off. You can always upgrade down the line if you have the means and desire to. What is important is that you enjoy the tea that you are taking pictures of! Have fun with it and don’t be afraid to make mistakes.
Use the Macro Setting and Learn Your Camera
If your camera has a macro setting, make sure that it is turned on when taking pictures of smaller objects like tea leaves. This enables the camera to focus on something that is closer to the lens. You may need to experiment with the distance that works best for your camera but changing this setting alone makes a big difference. I find this is very important for teas that have a lot of hairs, like Silver Needle.
As boring as it might be, reading your camera’s user manual can help a lot to understand the different functions. YouTube tutorials and blogs are also great sources of information. Digital Photography School is a resource that I turn to often when I can’t figure something out.
Don’t Use Flash
When I first started taking pictures for the blog my instinct was to use flash when shooting indoors or in low light situations. The result was washed out pictures and the color of the subject did not translate correctly. You are much better off using natural light or finding a way to add more artificial light. I’ll cover this more in the next tip but here’s a side by side to show you the difference in the same shot when using flash.
Lighting is Your Best Friend
Natural lighting is always best for taking pictures but I find this is especially true for tea. For many people that can be as simple as an open window. I live in a basement apartment with terrible lighting and windows that do not get a ton of sunlight. Many of my pictures are taken on the retaining wall outside of my front door. If that is not an option, an inexpensive lightbox is all you need. I did eventually invest in photography lights because they serve the dual purpose of lighting for my YouTube videos. Reflections in brewed tea can be tricky but playing around with your angles will help combat that.
Backdrops Can Save the Day
If you’re tight on space like me, it can be hard to find a suitable place to take pictures. Backdrops really help to transform the space that you already have. That doesn’t necessarily mean having to make a big investment. I’ve used everything from bedsheets to construction paper. Over the last few years, I have invested in professionally designed backgrounds from Replica Surfaces. They have worked well for my purposes because they are sturdy and water-proof (no worrying about spilled tea!). If you saw my recent recipe post for 2 Layered Matcha with Watermelon, that was definitely Replica Surfaces and not my own kitchen counter.
My Current Equipment
I hope that you found this post helpful. Do you have any tips for taking better pictures of tea? Tell me about them in the comments below!