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https://alphauniverseglobal.media.zestyio.com/Alpha-Universe-BTS-Purvi-Shah-Final-Image-crop.be110857376e1c1dc5afaa178864837f.jpg
Photo by Purvi Shah. Sony Alpha 7 III. Sony 90mm f/2.8 Macro G. 1/200-sec., f/3.2, ISO 200

Behind The Shot: Capturing A Tipped Tea Cup At Just The Right Moment

Food, product and lifestyle photographer Purvi Shah (@iampurvishah) had to get creative to show the contents inside this teacup. We connected with her to learn the story behind the shot.

Photo by Purvi Shah. Sony Alpha 7 III. Sony 90mm f/2.8 Macro G. 1/200-sec., f/3.2, ISO 200

Behind the scenes of Purvi Shah's tipped tea cup image.

Behind the scenes of Purvi Shah's tipped tea cup image.

Behind the scenes of Purvi Shah's tipped tea cup image.

Purvi Shah (@iampurvishah) is a food, product and lifestyle photographer. Her photography style includes adding an element of motion to bring her food photos to life. Sometimes it’s flour sprinkling over dough, water splashing across fruits and vegetables, a drink pouring out of its cup – all of these techniques help to make her images stand out from others. We came across this tipped teacup image or hers and connected with her to learn more about how she captured it. Read more about how she used her go-to combination, the Sony Alpha 7 III and Sony 90mm f/2.8 Macro G, along with a little creativity to show the contents inside a tea cup.

Alpha-Universe-BTS-Purvi-Shah-Final-Image-crop.jpg

Photo by Purvi Shah. Sony Alpha 7 III. Sony 90mm f/2.8 Macro G. 1/200-sec., f/3.2, ISO 200

Food, product and lifestyle photographer Purvi Shah explains how she captured this tipped tea cup with the Sony Alpha 7 III and Sony 90mm f/2.8 Macro G lens.

Styling The Scene

When creating a scene, Shah imagines the aesthetic she wants it to emulate. “For this photo, I was looking for a glorious morning feel which radiates warm and cozy vibes. My idea was to use light pastel shades with a little contrast. I started with a beautiful pastel green linen. The creases on the fabric give a wonderful texture to the frame. The contrast used is a red grapefruit and a green plant on the right. The size of props play a very important role in balancing the frame. I always make sure that I take test shots using a few props to finalise the ones for my final shot.”

“The gold in the scene gives it an elegant feel. In order to match the golden jar and pomegranate prop, I chose to place some fairy lights on my plant. A slight bokeh effect gives it an extra zing. Using a wooden riser in the background to place the props gives my hero (teacup) enough room to really shine and stand out. It is vital for the scene to look clean and not messy in spite of a lot of props. I chose to use a bigger plant to fill up the negative space on the right.”

The Gear

Shah typically turns to the Sony Alpha 7 III and Sony 90mm f/2.8 Macro G for her food and product images because of the sharpness and clarity she can get with the combination. “For this image I used my Sony Alpha 7 III camera and the Sony 90mm f/2.8 Macro G lens,” says Shah. “I love how crisp and clear my pictures are using the 90mm Macro. I used a mix of natural and artificial flashlight for this shot. The flash I used was the Godox V860II. The flash was placed on the left close to my natural light source.”

Capturing The Flowing Tea

For this image, she wanted to show the tea inside the teacup. Many drink images you see will show the beverage through a clear glass, but how do you capture it if the glass isn’t clear? Shah got creative to find a solution. “As the cup is not transparent,” she explains, “I had to think of a way to show its contents. The only two options were a splash or a 45-degree angle. A splash would mess up the scene, while a 45-degree angle would mean changing the placement of props. That is exactly when I thought of levitation.”

Alpha-Universe-BTS-Purvi-Shah-BTS3-crop.jpg

Behind the scenes of Purvi Shah's tipped tea cup image.

“Initially, I clicked a picture of the entire scene just as it is. Thereafter, I filled the cup to its brim, attached a string to the handle and carefully lifted the cup. There was a beautiful stream of tea that flowed out. Now I had my image of the scene and an image of the flowing tea out of the cup.”

Alpha-Universe-BTS-Purvi-Shah-BTS2-crop.jpg

Behind the scenes of Purvi Shah's tipped tea cup image.

The Edit

Shah’s final image is a composite of those two photos. “I then edited it on Photoshop, first to erase the thread and blur out the creases of the background curtain using surface blur. Lastly, I used Lightroom for basic a touch-up.”

See more of Purvi Shah's work on Instagram @iampurvishah.

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