It was quite a hurried shoot, 2 days of foresight, a day to get things together but with the help of the agency, we made things happen.


It was an extremely busy week but I was so giddy to know that I was going to be shooting with the G-Nie Arambulo of Adphoto. I’ve been hearing about her for a long time from one of my super idols, Eugene Raymundo. On the day of the shoot, I had come just in time and Ms. G-Nie was already on her computer surfing the net. I decided to get my work area ready…and start sorting the coffee beans…yes…my helpful assistant for the day, Lito and I sorted over 2 kilos of Robusta coffee beans. I started to get palpitations at the smell of the coffee beans alone. If coffee had effects on cellulite, this probably targeted my lungs since I inhaled everything.


The coffee beans were lovingly picked out and cleaned. The coffee used was the original coffee from our client.


But the biggest surprise I had for the day was the fact that we were going to do live smoke…yes, l-i-v-e smoke. This only means that 1) I would have to revive my coffee all the time since the froth and bubbles are pivotal to the just poured look…and 2) I would have to inhale tons of smoke from the makeshift manual smoke machine Ms. G-nie’s assistant made which just totally opened my eyes to new ways of making smoke and 3) the smoke, the coffee, the bubbles would have to be perfect…all in sync…to get the perfect picture (talk about old school, guys!) Photoshop didn’t seem like an option…but it was definitely something I was excited about.


Our first cup ran for about 3 hours. Literally. I changed my coffee maybe 7 times, made and kept the froth alive…and finally found a good solution to keeping the bubbles (now I am considering buying those tiny little glass bubbles Delores Custer was telling me about). Ms. G-Nie was happy enough to share with me what I can do based on her experience as a food photographer, and I was happy to just try everything to get the perfect shot.


The next cup ran for just 2 hours, which was a welcome relief for me. Then we took pictures of the hero sugar and the coffee beans separately. End of the day, my best coffee making formula consisted of using the products and a microwave. My frother also came in handy and a bar spoon, I also used a skewer to move and pop unnecessary bubbles. In the end, I was so happy to see the great results we had because of the manual smoke manipulation and froth revival. It gave me the greatest respect for those who don’t have the tiny glass bubbles as they do in the US.