Here is how I went about creating the cover of our newest KCL with a cover story about local independent coffee shops.
There are a lot of coffee themed images on flickr, 500px and other image sharing sites, but I wanted to use coffee to create something with a graphic quality that was more than just a photo of beans or a fancy cup. Of course there also has to be enough room to add text and other elements for the cover. "Cool Beans" is a phrase used by one of the Tribune staff, so I went with that, and a coffee cup shape to start with. I printed the phrase very lightly on yellow construction paper and cut out the cup. Then the hard part began, covering the letters with ground coffee using a butter knife, paint brush and patience. That went on top of a larger piece of blue construction paper, which was then covered in whole coffee beans.
I played with a few lighting setups before settling on a single monolight in a 2x2 softbox and a white foamcore reflector.
After getting a few shots to make sure I had something I could use (no tripod on the table, so I was standing on a ladder) ...
... it was a simple trip through lightroom to clean up errant coffee grounds and give our graphic artist a few looks to choose from. This is the one we used.
Same image, but with the color saturation way up to neon levels.
Different photo, also with more color...
It is very fun to have an idea and turn it into a photo. It is even more fun to use it to make a product that helps pay the bills, and is distributed to thousands of homes and businesses around the county.