How to Photograph the New Starbucks Unicorn Frapp for Instagram

We asked an expert food photographer how to get that perfect shot of Starbucks' Unicorn Frappuccino.

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If you’re grabbing Starbuck’s new Unicorn Frappuccino you want to make sure you let everyone know. Nobody is actually buying this 400-plus calorie thing because it tastes good. They’re doing it for the ‘gram. Here’s how you can do it too.

Step One: Find a backdrop.

Don’t be one of those people and take your shot in the store. People want to get their order and get out. No need to hold everyone up trying to be Annie Leibovitz at the pickup counter. You’re better off shooting outside, or even waiting until you get back home or to the office.

Outside is probably going to give you the best light (more on that in the next tip), but you want an interesting background to contrast with the drink. Your desk might work, or the sidewalk. Personally, I took out two slabs of nice rustic tile. This let the Unicorn Frapp really pop. There’s texture in the picture, but it’s subtle. Here’s a raw shot of the setup.


Step Two: Find the perfect lighting.

Stand to the right or left of the sun if you’re outside, and let the light come in naturally. No harsh shadows and no dark spots. Let the Frapp glisten like a real unicorn. The same goes for lighting if you’re indoors. Never use the flash on your smartphone. NEVER. The diagram below works for artificial light sources as well.


Step Three: Pick a pose and shoot.

There are plenty of ways to capture the Unicorn Frapp, but if you want your phone blowing up with likes you’re best sticking to these two classic poses: the point of view and the quarter angle. The POV works well with all phones. If you have an iPhone 7 Plus or any phone with a depth of field effect, I would recommend the quarter angle. You’ll also want to take a bunch of photos so you have options when you start editing.



The hand adds some personality to the photo, as well as proof points that is really your Unicorn Frappuccino. This set up is also ideal for Instagram and Snapchat stories.

The quarter angle:


As you can see here, the Portrait mode on the iPhone 7 Plus really increases the quality of the image.

Step Four: Edit and post!

I use VSCO for all of my iPhone edits. You’ll want to pick a filter that pops. I like the HB2 filter for the Unicorn Frapp, as it’s a cooler temperature which really brings out the blues.

Alternatively, you can drop your final photo into Instagram, punch up the brightness and contrast, and cool the temperature just slightly. Once you’re happy, it’s time to post. Use a solid caption like “Unicorns aren’t so rare after all…”

Last tip: Don’t finish the whole thing. It’s really not worth it.

Patrick Tomasso is a photographer and filmmaker in Toronto. Find him on Instagram at @impatrickt and check out his portfolio

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