nes_matt wrote in post #16565243
that's good advice, but unfortunately I don't have the dishes that will be used. The menu is not set, but it will be mostly Korean foods.
The good thing here is that you don't necessarily need the actual food to practice - think about the styling of the shot and all the accessories you'll be using and use something to approximate the food in question.
With Asian foods you're really looking for an evocative setting and lots of incidental detail to go along with the food itself, so if I were you I'd be looking at building an appropriate 'set' and practising like hell to get the lighting right.
Sure, you'll want to also do some 'simple' shots where you've got minimal accessories and styling and the focus is on the food, but again you can practice those without having the actual complicated dish - think of suitable, available substitutes and work up from there.
nes_matt wrote in post #16565243
When you say cliche, do you mean:
2) Styling? (I know you are not a fan of water drops)
3) use of DOF?
4) Lighting? (I was shooting by a window with skylights overhead)
6) all of the above? (LOL!)
I guess it's probably going to be #6, although I think the lighting and DOF would be fine with the right combination of subjects, styling and composition.
The water droplets thing I will never understand. Perhaps it's a regional thing, but it's never worked for me - if I got a tomato out of the fridge and it was covered in condensation, I'd think my fridge was knackered. Horses for courses on that one though.
As for the composition, it feels very forced and very staged, which is the opposite of what you want to achieve with an 'ingredient' shot of this type. And yes, all food photography is styled (some more than others, naturally) in some way, but you've almost got to think about making it look like something that would either naturally happen in a kitchen setting or not draw attention to any obvious styling choices.
Take the first image as an example. I look at it and think to myself 'what are all those ingredients doing together in one place, all neatly arranged and on a folded knapkin?' and that's broken the spell, as it were, and I'm then looking at it with a highly critical eye.
Now, it's not to say you couldn't have all those objects in a shot, but it's got to look a lot more natural and less staged - like you've wandered into a kitchen and just seen them all there and taken the shot, rather than worked the shot out piece-by-piece.
Does that make sense? Sorry if it doesn't, it's kinda hard to explain.
And look, ingredient shots tend to suck regardless of what you do. They've never been my favourite shots to plan and it's really tough to make them work. The hardest thing with food photography is learning how to style things so they look natural - an oxymoron at the best of times!
ewheeler20 wrote in post #16565376
Can you elaborate? I must have missed the new 2013 way to photograph a vegetable... and too bad, because it's almost 2014 and the new way will be old in 2 days!
It doesn't look natural enough and instead of me thinking that it's just a normal scene in an everyday kitchen, I'm immediately thinking 'staged shot' instead of going along with it.
And the water droplets don't help there, as unless I'm missing something, my fruit and vegetables don't tend to sweat!
OhLook wrote in post #16565400
Well, the title is
"Guacamole." Avocado is the main ingredient in guacamole. The avocado should get most of the attention. That avocado, however, is pretty dark for the scene. I would have preferred a cut-up one, maybe chunks in a bowl or at least avocado halves with part of the cut sides facing forward.
You're not often going to get the luxury of a title with food photography, unless you're working for a magazine or something similar - generally, the shot is going to have to sell itself on its own merits for work such the OP is approaching.
And expanding on what I've said before, and following on from your train of thought, this doesn't seem like a particularly natural set of ingredients for guacamole. You might have one small tomato in a typical recipe, but you'll be looking at easily three or four decent-sized avocados to go along with it - what's in our shot doesn't look or feel right and that's why I'm not buying into it.