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Espresso Faces, Portraits of interesting people I meet in coffee shops

12th August 2019

Having a personal photo project, free from the requirements of the client really gives you a chance to explore the art of photography, even if it is a simple one like the one I’m doing for the last few years. This started out  be me asking a few customers in the local coffee shop if I could take a quick snap with a new camera or lens and shortly grew into an idea. The idea was to only take one shot, one frame, one single image of each person. No shooting 10 or 20 images in the hope of finding one that feels right. This meant that I had to think about what was going on a bit more and set the lighting and pose before I’d press the button. Surprisingly all were really good at taking the direction I’d offer up and very happy with the outcome. Good practice in this disposable world we often find ourselves trapped in, to really think about what you want out of the shot and try to capture the essence of each person’s conversation or moment in their life – their portrait. With all the modern speed we can shoot with these days perhaps it’s better that we choose to slow down and think, take the time to work on the connection with the subject of your image, a kinda ‘think more, shoot less’ approach. This I am liking more and more.

I don’t shoot these all that often but if I see someone interesting and we find ourselves chatting & I have a camera/flash on me ( like I always do ha! ) we might end up shooting one if they are willing of course, it helps that I can show them some other ones from the project album that is on my iPhone. It is nice getting to know the person a little bit before we shoot as it helps me in working out a feeling for the shot as well as having a name and a little bit about the person to place with the image.

These are all shot in coffee shops and almost all are lit with either flash or constant light, you might surprise yourself if you forget about the gear you are shooting with and think about what you are shooting and why. Shooting well with what you have is much better than not shooting because you think you can’t, saying your gear is not ‘good enough’ but that is a big subject for a future post. The important thing is you get out and shoot something, anything, and if you can make a series of connected images from that then you have a good start for a personal project.


You can see a selection of more of the series on my Instagram Stories by clicking here