|The final shot. Read the article for how easy|
it was to actually set up.
It's almost a perfect fit for me when I think about it really, I mean I love food, I love looking at food (and eating it obviously), I love watching it being made, prepared and presented so why not give it a shot?
As with anything to do with video or photography, there are techniques that have been tried, tested and are known to work. Google is a great place to start reading up about some of these techniques so that is exactly what I did.
I am a great believer in not just following 'the rules' blindly though, they may help you technically, they may help you save some time but in the end if all you are doing is following a set of pre made 'rules' someone else came up with then you are not learning much about your own photography and creativity.
If I took anything in particular away from my reading to experiment with, it was just a few very basic but relatively important things that help to give a food picture that 'look' that you come to expect in a nice bright brochure or a cookbook, and this is probably all you need to give it a try for yourself.
- Don't use front lighting or a flash like in portrait photography, this tends to wash out the texture and detail of the food. With food, texture is good.
- Use side lighting to highlight your subject and give it depth in your composition.
- Rear lighting works well, natural light (eg. the Sun) works well too although you may not always be in a position to use it.
- If you have them, small mirrors can be used to reflect the main light back onto particular parts of your scene to help parts of it stand out and reduce too much shadow.
- Make sure any food that is going to be in focus is fresh and looks good!
- Arrange the composition for the particular lens you are using, take a test shot and re-arrange as many times as needed, the arrangement on the table will probably not look right for a dinner setting but it should look right to your focal length.
The above photo was taken using just a couple of very basic techniques, below is a quick run down of how I set up the photo. This is just my way of doing it, there are a ton of techniques out there and half the fun is finding what works best for you and just taking photos! Hopefully you might find something here to help you with your own experimentation though.
THE HIGH TECH STUDIO ( AKA the breakfast table )
I suppose even the floor would do, but lets go for something that will give me a bit more room to move around with the camera. The set doesn't look much like the final photo yet though so read on . . .
DRESSING THE SET
MAKE IT NEAT
FINISHING THE BASIC SET
SET UP YOUR BASE LIGHTING
ARRANGING THE PROPS
READY TO TAKE THE SHOT
As you can see none of this was particularly hard to set up and it used just very basic techniques, the biggest cost is taking the time to set it all up. Why not give it a try yourself, practice makes perfect and you will have heaps of fun in the process, not to mention the pleasure of eating your props when you finish (if you use real edible food product that is).
THE END PRODUCT