Happy July! And a happy upcoming Fourth of July to all my friends from west of the Atlantic!! I know for sure I won’t be able to write in specifically on that day, so wishes in advance!
It’s been almost a month…guess that’s why the number ‘four’ is also a huge reminder that I haven’t posted in a very very long time. Truth be told, I have picked up a new assignment in the events industry and as much as I love photography, managing events is also a big part of who I am. And since I hadn’t been indulging in that part..I took myself up on the first opportunity that came by. It is also where my daily bread and butter comes from in terms of the all essential moolah! 🙂
How have you guys been?? Although, I’ve been pretty tight scheduled with the events scene here locally in Cochin, my thoughts about food and photographing it has never been far away. At least not too far away. Even during my setups, where there is professionally styled food, my first thought is to photograph it, BUT..I can’t..first because it’s a function I’m supposed to be managing and seeing to it that everyone gets their share first (darn!) and second, I wouldn’t be able to do justice either to the client or to my pet, the final image.
However, where there is a will…there is still more food to photograph..anytime, anyplace. Back home and indoors this Sunday, I finally managed to take some pot shots at a recent discovery I made in the area of fruits! Egg-fruit..I have heard of Jack fruit and Breadfruit..but Egg fruit..this was a new one..can I make a chocolate fruit..I know there is Cocoa Beans..but hey..why not be able to grow chocolates right out off your backyard! Especially in this day and age when things are moving at a break-neck speed..why waste time in the whole process. Just imagine your favourite chocolate treats and cakes..growing on a tree…just pluck and eat! One might have to check in to Chocolate Rehabs then…wait…I digress.
So back to our little photo for a post exercise. I have been going through Nicole S.Young’s book on food photography From Snapshots to Great Shots and although I had read Helene’s From Plate to Pixel, it was quite a refresher. She has also included a number of very simple exercises at the end of each lesson. Depending on your skill level, one can either skip a section and proceed to another or just go by series. I recommend going by series especially if you are new to photography in general and food photography in particular. I found a great exercise on using light modifiers coupled with light that is already available. And today’s post mainly echos the simplicity in which you can achieve images that tempts the eye.
Having said that, you must have your own vision and story in place to be able to fully appreciate your own hard work.
For the image below, I simply let the light (cloudy, yes it’s still raining here….sigh!) come in from a window from camera right. I adjusted the shutter speed till the built-in light meter indicated a correct exposure. To be able to get sharp focus, I had my camera setup on a tripod and used the timer to trigger the shutter release to avoid any shake. Here’s the result, straight off the camera capture.
shutter speed : 0.5secs, aperture: f/5.6, ISO: 100, Lens: nikkor 18-105mm, focal length: 92.0, camera: nikon d90, metering: matrix
As you can notice, there is a heavy shadow on the left side of the image and the fruit looks quite unappealing. Now, normally and what is most advised in many a book, be it in food or any genre of photography, a person will be expected to use a reflector to open up the Shadow areas. However, do not get too tied up with accessories. Although, a definite advantage if you have one, but like me if you also get lazy enough to fetch it in spite of having it, it is not a must. There is no household today, without their own stock of white letter paper which is very commonly used in printing..(duh..!). Or, aluminium foil..Chances are either one will be available and either one can be used in place of a reflector. What did I do? Me the, sleep-walking photog do? I just fished out a plastic grocery bag (but it was white!) I had left the camera as is, so no movement meant no requirement to re-focus but I did check again without touching the camera too much. Held up the bag over the dark side of the fruit and made sure I could see where the light fell through the viewfinder. Again hit the trigger release gently before completely moving away from it but making sure I held the bag at the same spot and let the camera do it’s duty. Here’s the result. The technicals remain the same, but the little white bag made the difference very visible.
Here’s a side by side representation.
The power of white! Next time, I going to make sure I don’t get too lazy and try out more of the reflector colors, i.e. silver and gold but please if you do have a multi-reflector kit like I do, use a little discretion cause normally food is best photographed either with the white or silver sides (easily replaced by white paper or aluminium foil). Gold doesn’t suit most foods, hence it will be difficult to color correct your images in different lighting conditions. If you insist you want to use the gold side, take a portrait of someone indulging in their favourite bites. 🙂
Go try out some simple setups with a similar approach. Get to know your kit. Don’t just buy and store. Learn to see light in a whole new way!