In the summer of 2009 when I began this blog and my learning food photography journey, often times I found myself playing with my food. These “playing” sessions were and still are my way of practicing food photography. In doing so with every session I manage to pickup at least one new technique and some additional knowledge.
Today I want to walk you through what one of my typical food playing or rather photo practicing session looks like. From start, including setup, to finish it lasted 15 minutes. This session I shot an eggplant from whole to the small pieces that I needed for a recipe. The purpose was to see what I came up with and how to change each photo a bit from the previous one. In doing this I wanted to learn what angles were good and what preparation step made for the most interesting photo. Of course a session like this could be just to play with the camera and have some fun.
The first tip I’ll give you is to keep things as simple as possible. As you learn more add more details, props or elements as you like. Here it’s just a simple photo of the eggplant, because I was using a shallow depth of field, f-4, I decided to angle it with the green facing the camera so the rest would fade out.
Next I rinsed the eggplant and placed it on top of a cutting board, I then brought back them to the shooting table. With the shooting angle here I was able to capture the water droplets. Had I shoot from above I wouldn’t have been able to accentuate them.
Wanting to add interest to the photo the eggplant was sliced and turned to an angle. In doing so we can see more detail of the eggplant as well as the knife, water droplets and contrasting cutting board.
This is basically the same photo as the previous one. The difference is that I stepped closer for a tighter composition.
Now by moving higher to a 3/4 angle we get an entirely different view and more of the scene detail has been captured.
Here I positioned myself lower than the table and aimed the camera up at the eggplant. By shooting up at this angle we can give the sense of a larger eggplant. This angle can be used to accentuate height and details.
A direct view from above allows us to capture the entire scene. This is great if you have a table setting or multiple plates, bowls, cups, or other items and want to capture it all. Again you’ll notice how simple I’ve kept everything but to make it a bit more interesting I angled the cutting board instead of placing it straight. The interest is all drawn to the chopped pieces of eggplant without any other distractions.
Lastly having a bit of fun I positioned the eggplant tip on the edge to give another interesting element to the photo. By angling myself and the camera below I was able to capture the pile and accentuate sense of height to the viewer.
In this photo below you can see how I setup the shooting session. The sun had just began peeking out after hours of rain. This is my north facing balcony that, as you can see, does not receive direct light. Because of that there is no need for me to diffuse the light — it is already soft. Also the day was bright enough that I did not need the help of a reflector. But you might notice off to the right side is a white door. In a way that was my white board, which helps to bounce light back onto the subject. The light hitting the eggplant is mostly from the left side, but because we are outdoors it is also falling from above. All photos except the second one down were shot at f-5 but the shutter speed changed as the clouds passed by.
Thanks for stopping by, I hoped you enjoyed these simple food photography tips.