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FORUMS Photography Talk by Genre Critique Corner 
Thread started 10 Feb 2014 (Monday) 15:04
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black forest cake

 
silma
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Feb 10, 2014 15:04 |  #1

Hallo,
a friend of mine wants to start a photo book to sell the cakes he makes. He's not a professional chef, but he is much more professional as a chef than I am as a photographer:D
...anyway, he asked me to shoot his black forest cake (BTW: is it the English correct name for this cake?). These are the shots, what do you think?

IMAGE: http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7444/12442640935_03b82a45e0_c.jpg
IMAGE LINK: http://www.flickr.com/​photos/lucasano/124426​40935/  (external link)
forestanera03 (external link) di LucaSano (external link), su Flickr

IMAGE: http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7442/12443116814_b70ac22bec_c.jpg
IMAGE LINK: http://www.flickr.com/​photos/lucasano/124431​16814/  (external link)
forestanera02 (external link) di LucaSano (external link), su Flickr

IMAGE: http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7438/12442767223_90fa3786b6_c.jpg
IMAGE LINK: http://www.flickr.com/​photos/lucasano/124427​67223/  (external link)
013_100X: shooting with a flash (external link) di LucaSano (external link), su Flickr

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AlFooteIII
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Feb 10, 2014 17:29 |  #2

I'm not sure that's what we call a black forest cake, but I'd have a slice anyway! ;)

Overall, whoever is being the food stylist needs to be a bit more particular. There are stray crumbs on the paper liner, smears of the yellow (butter cream? ice cream?) up into the chocolate layer and even some stray debris or wear on the wooden tray that catches the eye. That all needs to be considered.

As to the photographs themselves, I'm not a fan of the shallow depth of field putting the far part of the cake out of focus in all the shots.

The first shot to me feels like the angle is just a bit too high. Second shot, I like the composition, but again, wish it were all in focus. Third shot does not work at all for me. The blown out background and going out of focus at the second cherry -- it is not pleasing.

I hope you are getting paid in pastry! Can't wait to see more.


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Alveric
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Feb 10, 2014 17:38 |  #3
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In addition to what AIFootelll said, the small light sources you're using don't really help any.


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OhLook
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Feb 10, 2014 19:26 |  #4

If you're helping your friend with captions or text, the capitalization in English is as in "I wish I had a Black Forest cake right now." Some will capitalize the C as well; you might check a number of recipe sites and bakery ads.

The last shot has the best white balance. The whipped cream in the others is too yellow.

I agree with AlFoote about DoF and styling. In addition to what he mentioned, one corner cherry leaked juice. Draining the cherries on paper towels before placement would prevent this incontinence.


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AlFooteIII
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Feb 11, 2014 08:06 |  #5

OhLook, I disagree. The third one has my least favorite white balance. A good whipped cream shouldn't be pure white and the chocolate and cream layers don't look nearly as rich in that image. Good tip on the cherries!


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LV ­ Moose
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Feb 11, 2014 08:13 |  #6

AlFooteIII wrote in post #16680764 (external link)
OhLook, I disagree. The third one has my least favorite white balance. A good whipped cream shouldn't be pure white and the chocolate and cream layers don't look nearly as rich in that image. Good tip on the cherries!

Is the doily supposed to be yellow as well? The first two shots need to be cooled slightly.


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Alveric
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Feb 11, 2014 11:42 |  #7
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The last one looks too magenta.


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OhLook
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Feb 11, 2014 12:08 |  #8

AlFooteIII wrote in post #16680764 (external link)
OhLook, I disagree. The third one has my least favorite white balance. A good whipped cream shouldn't be pure white

All right, looking again, the last one is a little too blue, but I still think the earlier ones are too yellow. I think different lighting would show off the cake to greater advantage. As I'm no expert on lighting, I can't offer details.


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silma
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Feb 11, 2014 15:34 as a reply to  @ OhLook's post |  #9

thanks everybody for the suggestions, very helpful.
Let me try to give you some details, thet are by no means an "excuse", just trying to get the most out of what I have:
- the topping is actually quite white, I have a sample in my fridge and...yes...it's really white!
- the other cream between two layers of chocolate was quite yellow, I think that recipes could vary from country to country to suit the local taste (sometimes when I look at food photos from Americans I have strange feelings...)
- my friend was probably thinking that taking photos of cakes was a two minutes thing, he had no feeling it could take time and decisions, and I haven't been strong enough to just do it as I intended to...can you understand what I mean?
ok, this is no excuse, so let's move on and see what I can do to save these shots:
- check them on a calibrated monitor and get good WB;
- clone out crumbles and stuff like that;
- third shot goes to trash bin

and what about next shots that will come in a near future:
- always go for maximum DOF;
- white background;
- diffused flash (I only have one speedlite) and no little lights all over the place

what else?

Yes..I'll tell him to be more accurated, he will be offended but...hey...he's a big guy!!!


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Feb 11, 2014 16:19 |  #10

silma wrote in post #16679161 (external link)
...(BTW: is it the English correct name for this cake?)...

I'm in the West Midlands of the UK and I would refer to the name of the cake as a "Black Forest Gateau".

Hmm, I'm hungry now.

Lawrence




  
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Feb 11, 2014 16:22 |  #11

Trugga wrote in post #16681908 (external link)
I'm in the West Midlands of the UK and I would refer to the name of the cake as a "Black Forest Gateau".

I refer to it as premium-grade Moose food.


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Alveric
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Feb 11, 2014 16:38 |  #12
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Food photography, or any commercial photography for that matter, is never a matter of a couple of minutes. Even drop-and-shoot photos take time: you have to build the set and fix the lighting. Yes, most clients, familiar with point-and-shoots and cell phone cameras think it's all a matter of framing and firing: disabusing them is one of the first things we have to do.

Regarding DOF, it's a creative decision and not a tenet set in marble. If you have a busy background, you have to reduce your DOF; if you're shooting against a seamless, you can stop down to very small apertures. It depends.

The background is a creative decision too. Do you want the photo to be 'environmental' or catalog-like looking? Select the background accordingly then.

Whilst one light is far from adequate, it's absolutely possible to get very good results with a flashgun and some ready-made or impromptu modifiers. Position of the light is critical.

This is a basic, 'one light', pretty common setup for food photography:

IMAGE: http://diamantstudios.ca/Gemeines/bilder/Food_setup.jpg

And this is an image obtained with it:
IMAGE: http://diamantstudios.ca/Gemeines/bilder/Hindoo_sweets-4.jpg

Not shewn in the first photo, but used for the second one are fill cards and/or reflectors. These are a must in food photography, because the rule is: food does not like to be litten from the front. Mirrors are a required piece of equipment as well: they effectively become a second light, or third, or fourth, depending on how many and how you use them.

Additionally, if you have a north-facing window, you have an additional light of diffuse quality.

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OhLook
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Feb 11, 2014 21:37 |  #13

silma wrote in post #16681789 (external link)
- the other cream between two layers of chocolate was quite yellow

Yes, it looks like custard from here.

and what about next shots that will come in a near future:
- always go for maximum DOF

A small DoF is fashionable now for food, but it annoys me. I saw a commercial shot of sliced smoked salmon in which the focal plane was a thinner slice than the salmon. You could hardly see anything of the food. However, I think maximum DoF is too much. For a dish like this cake, which has a clear structure with multiple components, I'd go halfway, not very narrow and not very deep.


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tmoore323
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Feb 11, 2014 22:03 |  #14

Alveric wrote in post #16681929 (external link)
Food photography, or any commercial photography for that matter, is never a matter of a couple of minutes. Even drop-and-shoot photos take time: you have to build the set and fix the lighting. Yes, most clients, familiar with point-and-shoots and cell phone cameras think it's all a matter of framing and firing: disabusing them is one of the first things we have to do.

Regarding DOF, it's a creative decision and not a tenet set in marble. If you have a busy background, you have to reduce your DOF; if you're shooting against a seamless, you can stop down to very small apertures. It depends.

The background is a creative decision too. Do you want the photo to be 'environmental' or catalog-like looking? Select the background accordingly then.

Whilst one light is far from adequate, it's absolutely possible to get very good results with a flashgun and some ready-made or impromptu modifiers. Position of the light is critical.

This is a basic, 'one light', pretty common setup for food photography:
QUOTED IMAGE

And this is an image obtained with it:
QUOTED IMAGE

Not shewn in the first photo, but used for the second one are fill cards and/or reflectors. These are a must in food photography, because the rule is: food does not like to be litten from the front. Mirrors are a required piece of equipment as well: they effectively become a second light, or third, or fourth, depending on how many and how you use them.

Additionally, if you have a north-facing window, you have an additional light of diffuse quality.


Damn good shot, and thanks for showing the setup!




  
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Spicy61
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Feb 12, 2014 23:23 |  #15

Cake looks good (tasty) but as far as pictures go it didn't really pop for me to be honest. I think your lighting can be improved a lot.




  
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