Goodbye Espressolab, Nu Sentral, KL

There was one particular coffee place that I came back to again and again just for one specific reason: the perfect location for all my lifestyle casual product shots. That cafe was Espressolab located right at the main entrance of Nu Sentral (KL Sentral). While the coffee and food were not really anything to write home about, I found the location had just the right background, table texture and amazing lighting that I was looking for to get my opening product shots, especially for my review blog articles. Unfortunately, that place has closed down since early April this year, much to my dismay.

I acknowledge that it was probably not that difficult to replicate the similar look and outcome of the images taken there at other alternative locations or even at home, but it was so much more convenient to just be there and get my shots done. Needless to say, Espressolab Nu Sentral has a soft spot in my heart now, and I will miss having that place around. As I looked through my previous images taken there I thought why not do a compilation post just to highlight some of my shots taken there before, and I am sure you will agree that there was some magic at work in getting that special look in the casual product shots.

The full floor to ceiling transparent window panels worked wonders in creating dramatic 3D lighting effect on my subjects, adding perhaps sometimes too much contrast which can be easily toned down by a little post-processing. The clean background with enough elements to turn into "bokeh balls" made this shooting perspective quite unique. 

The wooden table texture worked well with most of the products that I was shooting. 

The coffee there was nothing to shout about but I can die for their Oatmeal Raisin cookies. I almost had one each and every time I visited. It was fully loaded with sugar but it was so, so delicious. 

See what I was talking about the special lighting effect? Window side light always worked like a charm. 

 The table had a shiny coat, which can reflect the subject.

I remember one particular fond story that happened at Espressolab Nu Sentral. It was for the review of Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark II in the year 2015, when I needed to test out the new camera feature "high resolution mode". I thought it would be awesome to shoot the coffee beans close up, and reveal the details via the 40MP capture mode. I then shamelessly asked for some coffee beans from the cafe staff, which they kindly obliged and I took the coffee beans with the E-M5 Mark II mounted on a tripod (needed no movement on camera and subject for the high resolution mode to work). I think after that incident everyone must have remembered me ever since. 

Even the texture on the seats were suitable for product backdrops, elegant and non-intrusive. 

God knows how many flat lays I have done here. Shamelessly. Though I never stood on a chair like a total weirdo, I did stand up and held the camera up above my head. Thank goodness for tilt/Swivel screens and live view shooting. How did we ever survive without them?

A lot of the coffee shots seen in this blog entry, the one I had just after shutter therapy sessions? They were mostly taken in this cafe. 

Of course, if I did all my product shots in one same location, they would look too similar and redundant, one shot after another. Surely I do have other locations to get my shots done. Nevertheless, I will miss Espressolab at Nu Sentral dearly. It was a combination of to-die-for oversized oatmeal raisin cookie, auspiciously convenient location right in the middle of the city and near to most of my usual street hunting spots as well as having just about everything right for casual and lifestyle product shooting location.


  1. Great article as usual, with sensibility, human warmness and photographic precision.
    Thank you for share your articles, mixture of feelings and technical work, Robin !
    Waiting for your next post.
    Jose M.

  2. Brilliant photographs Robin... So artistic. There is one with a very nice watch with the time of 01:52pm what is the brand and where did you buy it? Regards, Abdullah - Australia