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FORUMS Photo Sharing & Visual Enjoyment Food Photography & Visual Recipes
Thread started 07 Sep 2017 (Thursday) 09:30
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My first attempts - C&C welcome

 
ralphhardwick
Member
ralphhardwick's Avatar
34 posts
Joined Oct 2014
Norfolk UK
Sep 07, 2017 09:30 |  #1

Last year I took the major step of going full time photographer. Recently I was contacted by an advertising agency that wanted to meet me and asked if I had ever done any food photography. I asnswered honestly and said that I had studied the techniques but hadn't actually put them into practice.
They still wanted to meet so, before the meeting, I popped down the clearance aisle at the local supermarket, bought myself some 'props' (and my dinner) and took these:

All were shot in my studio with the 645z and either the 120mm macro or 75mm prime using a single godox AD600 and softbox

1. Toasted teacakes and a latte. The latte was made in a tassimo which gave a little layering. the darker layer was added in photoshop, The butter was added in clumps and melted with a hot air gun.

IMAGE: https://farm5.staticflickr.com/4421/36621006621_3f12fd3e7c_b.jpg


2. Tasty pie and tinned spuds. The meat was scooped out and the pie refilled with tissue to give bulk. It was sprayed with WD40 to give a sheen and cooked effect.
IMAGE: https://farm5.staticflickr.com/4420/36363602220_8fd8e1dc60_b.jpg


3. Exceedingly good cakes. Simple shot with minimal editing. Icing suger was sprinkled through a hole in cardboard to control where it fell.
IMAGE: https://farm5.staticflickr.com/4411/36713186826_2d6f160928_b.jpg


4. Monday's dinner. The bottle and glass were strategically placed. The glass if ull of cold coffee as it was too early for a beer.
IMAGE: https://farm5.staticflickr.com/4374/36621004821_dc3bbb8a57_b.jpg


5. Salad Fall (this was shot with speedlights rather than strobes to help freeze the motion). Multiple composite of each item dropped from the same height and using a shutter release lead. All done with guess work.
IMAGE: https://farm5.staticflickr.com/4399/35925753284_85e51330eb_b.jpg

7. Creme caramel. Multiple composites to get a clean plate, and the sauce pouring exactly where I wanted it. The sauce was thickened with treacle and darkened with coffee granules.
IMAGE: https://farm5.staticflickr.com/4352/36942861361_3207416f20_b.jpg


These are not as good as they should be and would need more work if I were providing them for a client. However I printed them out at A3 and he was sufficiently impressed enough to add me to his list of preferred togs and ask me to quote on some jobs.

C&C (and tips) welcome as I need to get good at this as there may be some work coming my way.

Thanks
Ralph

www.CaptureLight.co.uk (external link)
Iceland 4X4 photo Adventure Tours (external link)

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saea501
... spilled over a little on the panties
saea501's Avatar
Joined Jan 2010
Florida
Sep 07, 2017 10:29 |  #2

What the heck do you mean....'too early for a beer...'......I beg your pardon, but such a time simply does not exist!

Kidding aside, I'm not a food shooter but I think these look pretty darn good. You took some creative steps to make the food look appealing which I think you've accomplished.

I take it your prospective clients haven't seen these yet. I'd be interested to know how that goes.


Remember what the DorMouse said.....feed your head.
Bob

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OhLook
Spiderwoman
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14,957 posts
Gallery: 64 photos
Joined Dec 2012
California: SF Bay Area
Sep 07, 2017 11:24 |  #3

I'm going to use a harsh approach and talk mostly about flaws, recognizing that you took much care to get the good parts good and that what's done right tends to escape attention.

Disclaimer: I'm not a pro. My comments are based on impressions, not on commercial experience.

Some of these are just too dark. Food photos tend to be brightly lit. It aids in creating a cheerful mood and makes the food look more appealing. Perhaps dark backgrounds are used more for liquor, as its use is associated with evening. #1, the room beyond the table is dark; not good for saying "Breakfast is ready!" #3, why a black background for a dessert? #4, try lightening the whole image; the pizza comes off like an Old Masters still life, lots of detail but a somber emotional tone. #5, salad fall, the dark works well here with the fantasy treatment, given that the food items are realistically lit and bright.

#1: I think the items could be arranged better. Most people are right-handed, so the knife would be at the right. Classically, drinks are placed at the right of food, too. The newspaper looks rather used and is placed for someone else to read. Crop some off the right edge. Parts of the toasted cakes got too toasted. The butter is done well.

#2: The potatoes would benefit from paprika, pepper, or minced parsley; by themselves, they're dull expanses of white. I'd like more light on the pie filling.

#3: These little cakes may taste good, but they look like mass-produced items from a large commercial bakery, which would mean not fresh, something like Twinkies in the U.S. If that's the kind of food your potential client wants shot, I suggest devising ways to present it more attractively. Maybe cut a cake open or put slices on a plate to show the crumb?

#7 (there's no #6): You might experiment with a lower angle and a thinner DoF. We seem to be bending over the plate and looking down. With two identical items, the viewer's gaze shifts back and forth. Slightly blurring the one in the rear would allow the one in front to be the center of interest.

For use in ads, less fakery in staging is permitted than formerly, at least over here. I don't know the rules for your location. You may not be able to darken sauces and plump up pies.


PRONOUN ADVISORY: OhLook is a she. | A FEW CORRECT SPELLINGS FOR YOU: lens, aperture, amateur, hobbyist, per se, raccoon, whoa, more so (2 wds.) | IMAGE EDITING OK

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tcphoto1
Senior Member
tcphoto1's Avatar
Joined Sep 2005
Madison, Ga
Sep 07, 2017 13:05 |  #4

Food is a difficult subject to shoot. When I started, I remember looking at hundreds of magazines to see what the trends were and help develop my style. I shoot a rather Editorial style that seems to appeal to Commercial Clients. What I've learned is that styling is paramount and you've got to tell a story in order to do it well. After starting out shooting fashion then adapting to the market and economy, I apply the same philosophy to food and the lighting is very similar but in a smaller space. Keep shooting personal projects, gain confidence before putting yourself in such a challenging place like on an Advertising set.


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larsey
Hatchling
3 posts
Joined Sep 2017
Sep 07, 2017 14:28 |  #5

I think your photos are very good!


To want to, is to be able to.

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Scott ­ Spellman
Member
Scott Spellman's Avatar
Joined Oct 2015
Royal Oak MI
Sep 07, 2017 22:27 |  #6

ralphhardwick wrote in post #18446611 (external link)
Last year I took the major step of going full time photographer. Recently I was contacted by an advertising agency that wanted to meet me and asked if I had ever done any food photography. I asnswered honestly and said that I had studied the techniques but hadn't actually put them into practice.
They still wanted to meet so, before the meeting, I popped down the clearance aisle at the local supermarket, bought myself some 'props' (and my dinner) and took these:

All were shot in my studio with the 645z and either the 120mm macro or 75mm prime using a single godox AD600 and softbox

1. Toasted teacakes and a latte. The latte was made in a tassimo which gave a little layering. the darker layer was added in photoshop, The butter was added in clumps and melted with a hot air gun.
QUOTED IMAGE


2. Tasty pie and tinned spuds. The meat was scooped out and the pie refilled with tissue to give bulk. It was sprayed with WD40 to give a sheen and cooked effect.
QUOTED IMAGE

First, if your client is happy then that is all that really matters. In the interest of being helpful, I can give you some constructive help.


3. Exceedingly good cakes. Simple shot with minimal editing. Icing suger was sprinkled through a hole in cardboard to control where it fell.
QUOTED IMAGE


4. Monday's dinner. The bottle and glass were strategically placed. The glass if ull of cold coffee as it was too early for a beer.
QUOTED IMAGE


5. Salad Fall (this was shot with speedlights rather than strobes to help freeze the motion). Multiple composite of each item dropped from the same height and using a shutter release lead. All done with guess work.


7. Creme caramel. Multiple composites to get a clean plate, and the sauce pouring exactly where I wanted it. The sauce was thickened with treacle and darkened with coffee granules.

These are not as good as they should be and would need more work if I were providing them for a client. However I printed them out at A3 and he was sufficiently impressed enough to add me to his list of preferred togs and ask me to quote on some jobs.

C&C (and tips) welcome as I need to get good at this as there may be some work coming my way.

Thanks
Ralph

First, if your client is happy then that is all that really matters. In the interest of being helpful, I can give you some constructive help. Overall, the saturation and colors of the images seem bland to me. Part of that is the plentiful brown colors in most of the dishes. If at all possible, its best to add garnishes, spices, sea salt or other styling to make brown textures more exciting and visually appealing. The pizza image is really dark and needs different lighting and styling to be better. Since you have some time to experiment, I would experiment more with natural light and gold reflectors to give the images more excitement.

Best of luck-
Scott




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ralphhardwick
THREAD ­ STARTER
Member
ralphhardwick's Avatar
34 posts
Joined Oct 2014
Norfolk UK
Sep 08, 2017 04:05 |  #7

saea501 wrote in post #18446646 (external link)
What the heck do you mean....'too early for a beer...'......I beg your pardon, but such a time simply does not exist!

Kidding aside, I'm not a food shooter but I think these look pretty darn good. You took some creative steps to make the food look appealing which I think you've accomplished.

I take it your prospective clients haven't seen these yet. I'd be interested to know how that goes.

It was an Ad Agency. I printed them on A3 slotted them into my portfolio and they were very happy. I think the fact that I had gone out of my way to try something and prepare for the meeting helped more than the quality of the images. Saying that they seemed impressed with the quality as well :)

OhLook wrote in post #18446681 (external link)
I'm going to use a harsh approach and talk mostly about flaws, recognizing that you took much care to get the good parts good and that what's done right tends to escape attention.

Disclaimer: I'm not a pro. My comments are based on impressions, not on commercial experience.

Some of these are just too dark. Food photos tend to be brightly lit. It aids in creating a cheerful mood and makes the food look more appealing. Perhaps dark backgrounds are used more for liquor, as its use is associated with evening. #1, the room beyond the table is dark; not good for saying "Breakfast is ready!" #3, why a black background for a dessert? #4, try lightening the whole image; the pizza comes off like an Old Masters still life, lots of detail but a somber emotional tone. #5, salad fall, the dark works well here with the fantasy treatment, given that the food items are realistically lit and bright.

#1: I think the items could be arranged better. Most people are right-handed, so the knife would be at the right. Classically, drinks are placed at the right of food, too. The newspaper looks rather used and is placed for someone else to read. Crop some off the right edge. Parts of the toasted cakes got too toasted. The butter is done well.

#2: The potatoes would benefit from paprika, pepper, or minced parsley; by themselves, they're dull expanses of white. I'd like more light on the pie filling.

#3: These little cakes may taste good, but they look like mass-produced items from a large commercial bakery, which would mean not fresh, something like Twinkies in the U.S. If that's the kind of food your potential client wants shot, I suggest devising ways to present it more attractively. Maybe cut a cake open or put slices on a plate to show the crumb?

#7 (there's no #6): You might experiment with a lower angle and a thinner DoF. We seem to be bending over the plate and looking down. With two identical items, the viewer's gaze shifts back and forth. Slightly blurring the one in the rear would allow the one in front to be the center of interest.

For use in ads, less fakery in staging is permitted than formerly, at least over here. I don't know the rules for your location. You may not be able to darken sauces and plump up pies.

All very good points and well observed. 'Dark' food photography is very 'in fashion' at the moment. At least, that's what my research told me. Hence why I tried this out. The newspaper was 'recovered' from the recycling bin, hence the tattiness. Good point about the potatoes, I did think they looked bland, but didn't know how to make it better. Now I do, thanks.
The comments about the cakes made me laugh because they are mass produced from a firm called Mr. Kipling (whose marketing phase is ...makes exceedingly good cakes). These were just chosen to demonstrate an effect rather than for a specific client.
with the creme caramels I will be honest and admit that I copied the appearance for this setup from an image I found via google images. Interestingly this was the Agency reps favourite. It just goes to show how subjective these things are.

Scott Spellman wrote in post #18447055 (external link)
First, if your client is happy then that is all that really matters. In the interest of being helpful, I can give you some constructive help. Overall, the saturation and colors of the images seem bland to me. Part of that is the plentiful brown colors in most of the dishes. If at all possible, its best to add garnishes, spices, sea salt or other styling to make brown textures more exciting and visually appealing. The pizza image is really dark and needs different lighting and styling to be better. Since you have some time to experiment, I would experiment more with natural light and gold reflectors to give the images more excitement.

Best of luck-
Scott

Scott, thanks for the comments. I take your point about garnishes etc. and will apply this in future. Sadly natural light is difficult in my studio so I have tried to replicate it with the softboxes.

All of your comments are gratefully received. I am not a food stylist and I made this clear to the Ad Agency. I mainly took these to show lighting technique and image quality and that was the main focus of the discussion.
Since the meeting they have now come back to me to discuss a possible food shoot with cooked plaice fillets for the front of a packet for a large company. So, here's keeping my fingers crossed.

Cheers
Ralph


www.CaptureLight.co.uk (external link)
Iceland 4X4 photo Adventure Tours (external link)

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