• Jengo

Coffee Bean Shoot - BTS

There's a lot of different challenges circling IG. One of the challenges I assigned myself was to shoot and do a photo story a day. For the last 21 days I've kept up with that, with the exception of yesterday, which I devoted to doing real work.

Have you ever seen the cooking show where you're given certain ingredients and from that you are to make a dish?

Well, looking for things around the house to shoot during quarantine is like that. For this shoot, my challenge was to make some plain coffee beans look visually interesting. I don't have a lot of props but I ended up adding a jar, and some letters. I did capture some stand alone bean shots though.

This entire shoot was shot in natural window light. I‘m sorry I didn’t record any BTS clips as I’m creating this blog post as an afterthought to some requests I received. I hope it’s still helpful.


This will require some visualization. The set up went like this: windows in front, me standing opposite with camera. Table and beans approximately 12“ below the window, set against the wall. It was a few hours before sunset, not quite golden hour.

Originally I was just going to shoot just the beans on a black matte tray. My challenge was to make the beans pop on their own, using color, texture, perspective. But, I did end up adding some letters, and the jar, which I use to store my beans. My story is that I'm sitting around during quarantine, shooting anything and everything, maybe counting beans and spelling out words. Because honestly, life has come to that these days.

I shot with my Canon 100mm macro lens, which is my favorite go to lens for shooting food and details. I love to see everything sharp, in crispy detail, so that macro does that for me and provides nice compression and blur to the back ground. Really helps to isolate your subject and point of focus, although this shoot is not a good example of that. Since all the beans are on the same plane, they are all in focus. Although you can see some nice blur in front and behind the plane of focus in some of the angled shots.

Most of these were shot 90 degrees, top down / overhead / bird eye view. Some were shot at an angle ... maybe 45 or so. During shooting I got the idea to leave some beans in the jar and shoot into the jar, using the circle to guide the eye and frame the beans.

I love to use shapes and lines when shooting to frame or create visual interest. Also I love to shoot into objects as well. I shoot mostly hand held as it gives me freedom to move about and experiment with creative angles. The times I shoot on a tripod is when my hands will be in the frame or I'm trying to capture an action shot. Otherwise, I'm really too lazy to set up the tripod each time. Shooting handheld works for my lazy shooting style. You have to find what works for you.

I believe most of these were shot at F 3.5 - 4 approximately . I have shaky hands so shutter speed between 50-80 and shooting in natural light, handheld so ISO is high af, probably 400-1000. Grain isn't a concern for me too much as these are just casual shots I use for my blog or IG stories. And my Canon 5D Mark IV is relatively low noise even at high ISO. You just have to adjust the camera so that it gives you what you like. If you don't like noise and have shaky hands, maybe use a tripod or c-stand. I personally don't mind it would rather have ease of moving around.


These were edited in Lightroom Mobile. I thought it would be neat to exaggerate the texture a bit. I use tone curves a lot when editing. I also dehazed the photo, added a slight vignette, lots of sharpening, some clarity and texture as well.

Please let me know if this blog post was helpful at all to you and if you'd like to see more posts like it. I have some recipe related posts that have some videos of BTS and set ups. In particular you can check out the Pancake post for some BTS video.

Thanks so much for visiting!


Check out my Instagram for daily photo stories. So much of my content that goes into my stories never even makes it to my actual feed. @jengo_photo is where I post daily stories, including BTS videos of shooting, cooking, and before and after edits.

  1. Come say hi, check out more photos and recipes and follow me on Instagram:

  2. Food &  Blog account: @jengo.daily https://www.instagram.com/jengo.daily/

  3. Portrait account: @ jengo_photo https://www.instagram.com/jengo_photo/

top down

45 degrees

45 degrees

top down

top down, shooting into the jar

45 degrees

Please excuse me for the dusty tray. I was too lazy to clean it off for these casual shots. I recommend dusting off and cleaning your trays and utensils before shooting! lol I am notorious for skipping corners and being lazy. But, I'm working on it.

top down, shooting into the jar

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