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Thread started 17 Jan 2014 (Friday) 09:25
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My First Food Shoot Ever, need much critique!

 
sircanon
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Jan 17, 2014 09:25 |  #1

Hello POTN, I decided to work on a food portfolio for the new year. Yesterday was my very first attempt at shooting food professionally. Any and all critique is welcome. I am looking to improve my composition and lighting right now.

Attached are two photos from lastnight's shoot.

Both Shot with Canon T2i, 85mm 1.4, (2) AB 800 and 1 YN-560. EXIF should be something like f14ish at 1/125, ISO 200


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FarmerTed1971
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Jan 17, 2014 09:27 |  #2

Both look overexposed to me.


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sircanon
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Jan 17, 2014 09:34 |  #3

FarmerTed1971 wrote in post #16612923 (external link)
Both look overexposed to me.

Here is a better version with some slight lightroom adjustments.


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OhLook
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Jan 17, 2014 12:15 |  #4

I'm no expert, and I'm trying to learn food myself, but here goes. I agree with Ted, both shots are too light. In #2, the light is also too uniform to show any highlights on the plate. #2 looks oversharpened. The knife is backward; turn it so the cutting edge faces the fork. Food styling is attractive in both shots. #2, including the salad suggests a complete meal, but then there should also be at least a glass of water and a napkin. Near the top, the white stripes on the tablecloth make the surface look tilted.


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FarmerTed1971
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Jan 17, 2014 12:51 |  #5

And a spray bottle is your friend with fruit. Just a little spritz of it will jazz up the shot that much more.


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Jan 17, 2014 12:59 |  #6

You probably need a black card to kill reflections in the glass. I would move it far enough from the plate to not get it's reflection. I like the 1st 2, but the white is way to hot, no need to blow out the surface the food is on.

I also 2nd the spray mist for fruit, it gives the food freshness. Line up the ends of the asparagus as it distracts from the overall. You can allow the lettuce to overhang the plate, but don't let it touch the surface, just makes for a messy presentation.


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sircanon
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Jan 19, 2014 15:36 |  #7

Thanks guys for the great feedback, I will continue to post more as I shoot more dishes.


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FarmerTed1971
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Jan 19, 2014 15:51 |  #8

Awesome! Practice, practice, practice!


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Jason ­ Paul
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Jan 22, 2014 08:38 as a reply to  @ FarmerTed1971's post |  #9

I also agree that the first two are a little overexposed.

I think the adjusted version now is under-saturated, and lacks contrast, and still seems a little overexposed.

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nes_matt
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Jan 22, 2014 22:26 |  #10

I think the over exposed comments are due to the over bright white table cloth. I suspect if these were on a dark background it would be fine.

Glasses are hard to get no reflections. Black card is a good idea.


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dotcodotuk
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Jan 28, 2014 15:43 |  #11

From a styling perspective, there are some obvious errors and a few questionable choices.

In the first, the wine glass is dirty - unforgivable in professional food photography and I'm surprised you didn't notice it and either switch the glass or edit it out in post. You just can't let something like that pass you by and you should be keeping an eye out for anything like that and make sure you've got both the time and the spare props to do something about it.

Then there's the choice of plate and the food itself. I think the plate is too small for what you're trying to achieve and having things hang over the edges makes it feel a little cramped. As for the food itself, I'm not getting why there's such a mixture of ingredients on there either - the cheese and crackers I can understand, but not the nuts and dried fruit. And I don't get why there's strawberries and grapes on the same platter as the savoury selection as there's nothing else in the frame to help tie these together.

In the second, and as someone has already mentioned, the knife is turned outwards. But I'd go a step further and suggest that in a staged shot like this, where fine dining is presumably being evoked, you would never have the cutlery on the plate in the first place - it would be sat in-situ on the table, waiting to be picked up. And for me, it's far too ostentatious for such a stark place-setting - there's no napkin, no wine glass, no placemat, etc.

My biggest issue with the shot is the plate of salad that's peeking out from the top left of the frame. Apart from it seemingly having no stylistic reason to be in the frame, there's a problem with stuff spilling off the plate (never going to happen in a restaurant where food like this would be served) and the leaves are actually starting to look wilted and totally unappetising. Plus I don't see why there are strawberries, prawns, walnuts and something else in there - it's a weird combination of food, badly plated and styled.

As for the main, it's a decent enough plate of food but it feels a little like it's been sitting for a while waiting for the shot to be taken. The plate needs to be cleaned near the asparagus tips and I think the golden plate underneath could do with a dusting as well, plus the garnish could do with being placed a little more evenly - it looks like it's just been scattered on, rather than being carefully placed to look like it's been scattered on.

On the photography front, it's a decent enough effort overall and it doesn't lack punch, but I don't get why you've chosen to shoot at such a narrow aperture and have still failed to get front-to-back sharpness. I'd never have guessed you shot at f/14 unless you mentioned it (are you sure it was that?!) and I don't really see why you've chosen to when there doesn't appear to be a strong need for it.

As for the framing side of things, in the first it's all to pot. You've cut the top of the wineglass off, the corner of the plate is too close to the edge of the frame and there's a whole heap of wasted space in the frame where there's nothing much to look at. Shooting in portrait would have been a wiser choice and you could have done yourself more favours by having more in the frame that suggested this was part of a meal instead of a couple of seemingly random objects stuck on a table and then photographed.

In the second, I'd have lost the salad completely and just focused on the main plate and tried to give it some breathing room. And while you don't want it right in the middle of the frame, cutting off part of the golden plate at the edge of the frame isn't the right approach either - adjusting the styling to make more of a place-setting would naturally lead you into positioning things in the frame effectively and help balance things out a little more.

And with regard to the lighting and resulting post-processing, I'm really not sure what you've done but there's strange colour casts all over the place. This is most evident in the shadows either side of the golden plate in the second image - one side is blue and one is yellowy-black, which suggests you've overdone the processing and/or had two completely different temperature light sources and attempted to balance the two.

Having said that, the way you've managed to pick out the detail in the sauce and brought the texture out on the asparagus is fantastic - hard to do well, but you've pretty much nailed it.

The other big problem is with the wine glass in the first shot. There are far too many reflections and there's no edge to the glass itself which means the contents lose their body as a result - more care and attention needs to be paid to how you light your glass and where you shoot from, plus you also need to watch out for those reflections of the food creeping in.

Overall, it's a pretty fair effort and there's enough promise here to suggest you've got the right idea and can take this further if you want to.

It's hard to tell if this was all put in front of you by someone else and you've just taken the shots or if you were responsible for everything, but if you're going to try and achieve professional results you would be advised to have someone to work on the styling while you concentrate on the lighting and photography. It's a pain to try and nail both and very rarely does someone manage it without a lot of practice first.




  
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My First Food Shoot Ever, need much critique!
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