How to take photographs of coffee packaging

Deniz Karaman
November 18, 2022
How to take photographs of coffee packaging

With increasing developments in technology, more people are sharing their lives online through social media platforms such as Instagram, TikTok, and Facebook.

Notably, 84% of the UK population regularly uses digital media, while ecommerce purchases make up around 30% of all retail sales.

For many consumers, their first interaction with your brand is likely to be online. Therefore, those looking to scale their business online should ensure their digital storefronts and social media pages are populated with high-quality imagery. This can help ensure you remain competitive and increase sales.

Unique, high-quality photographs of coffee packaging can help create a strong first impression that may elevate and communicate your brand to customers. Furthermore, it helps keep consumer attention and differentiates your product from competitors. 

To learn more about how to take compelling photographs of coffee packaging, I spoke with the owner of Photoheads Commercial Photography, Paul Tschornow.

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An image of a white multilayer LDPE coffee bag with a PLA lining next to a cold brew coffee with milk in an article on how to photograph coffee packaging

Why is it important to take photographs of coffee packaging?

Visuals are a key part of marketing and content creation. 

In many ways, imagery has become essential to success on channels such as social media marketing and ecommerce retail sales.

True, ensuring your branding and coffee packaging is right is important. Just as important is to ensure you are capturing your product correctly and portraying the right images through your digital communications. 

For roasters and coffee shops, including high-quality, on-brand photographs of coffee packaging as part of your larger marketing strategy may increase follower count, engagement ratings, likes, and partnership opportunities on digital platforms. 

Furthermore, recent ecommerce data suggests product pages with high-quality photographs can help increase conversion rates by up to 30%.

“I think photographing coffee packaging makes sense from an e-commerce perspective,” says Paul, who is also a professional photographer. “It is important to use photography to build the brand.”

For roasters and coffee shops, Paul explains lifestyle images of people enjoying coffee, baristas carefully carving the coffee, or images of latte art can be highly effective. 

“I think it’s a good idea to have the coffee packaging in the background of these shots to keep your brand top of mind. However, it should not always be the main focus of the image,” he adds. 

Having coffee packaging subliminally positioned within the photograph can help build brand association.

When a customer sees the product on the shelf, they may subconsciously associate it with the photographs they have seen online and are more likely to purchase a product they recognise.

An image of a barista brewing coffee using an aeropress pouring coffee from a multilayer LDPE coffee bag with a PLA lining in an article on how to photograph coffee packaging

How to take photographs of coffee packaging

Professional photographers often have an eye for detail and will take the time to fully understand a brand or business before a photoshoot.

What’s more, they have the technical skills to use lighting accurately to produce sharp, high-quality images that convey the right feeling or message.

That said, hiring a professional photographer or agency can be expensive compared to an impromptu “DIY photoshoot”.

“However, the difference is, using a professional will almost always create a collection of images that are significantly better,” Paul says.  

While a professional may take better photographs, Pauls believes the advancements in cellphone camera technology make it possible for roasters to try their hand at brand photography. 

“You can take fantastic pictures using your cellphone and natural light,” Paul says. “The key to good photography is good lighting. You can take great photos by placing products close to a window to get the best quality light.”

Those who are starting out or lack the budget for a photographer should find inspiration before starting the shoot. 

“Start by searching Instagram or leafing through magazines,” Paul advises. “Also, look at other brands online and study the photographs they use. Remember to think about their brand, their customers and what type of props and setups will appeal to the people that they want to buy their coffee”.

Roasters who are taking their own photographs of coffee packaging should crop the images as tightly as possible. “Then you don’t need to worry too much about props,” Paul adds. 

“Having said that, most coffee shops will have items that they can use as props, such as plants, cups, and glasses. Having a couple of coffee cups in the background will also work well,” he explains. 

Paul also advises roasters to add people to the shots. For instance, having a person hold a cup or spoon will add a human element to the image.

An image of a woman inhaling coffee aroma from an open red custom print multilayer LDPE coffee bag with a PLA lining in an article on how to photograph coffee packaging

How to convey the characteristics of coffee through photographs

Coffee has many unique and identifiable characteristics. 

For example, rich and pungent aromas, unique shapes created by blending milk into espresso, and the accompanying caffeine rush are just a few factors many people associate with coffee.

Paul says the best ways to convey these characteristics, as well as a coffee’s flavour notes, will vary depending on the brand values. 

“However, adding a person who conveys certain emotions into the shot will help with this,” he explains. 

For instance, roasters could photograph someone inhaling the aromas of a cup of coffee with their eyes closed to convey a sense of comfort. In essence, roasters use the images to create a visual story about the coffee.

“Equally, I think cosy props, such as a cup beside a wood burner, can help evoke cosy winter vibes. This is opposed to an iced coffee, which might be placed beside items like sunglasses to convey the summer months.”

Paul’s most fundamental piece of advice for those photographing their coffee packaging is to enjoy themselves.

“Photography is fun, so embrace it. I’d avoid trying to be too professional about it or creating corporate-looking images in favour of including some personality in the images,” he adds.

An image of a barista preparing a coffee and opening a coffee bag in background in an article on how to photograph coffee packaging

A key thing to remember when photographing coffee packaging is to ensure your brand logo and design stand out. 

Custom print coffee packaging can help attract the attention of customers, and tell them everything they need to know about your brand with a single glance.

At MTPak Coffee, we offer roasters and coffee shops a range of 100% recyclable coffee packaging options that can be custom-printed to your business specifications.

Choose from renewable materials such as kraft paper, rice paper, or multilayer LDPE packaging with an environmentally friendly PLA lining, all of which minimise waste and contribute to a circular economy.

More so, we give you complete control over the design process by allowing you to build your own coffee bags. Our design team is available to help you create the ideal coffee packaging.

Plus, we are able to custom print coffee bags using innovative digital printing technology, with a quick turnaround time of 40-hours and 24-hour shipping time.

For information on our sustainable, custom printed coffee packaging, contact our team.

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