Where do you go with a brief like that? Food photography is my passion, and there are many options to choose from… lifestyle, still-life, extreme close-up, the list goes on. With the freedom to do my own thing then why not go bold, with a large helping of impact, rather than take a well trodden path to food photography?
“…search out the best quality and most fresh ingredients, hand picking only the most perfect of items”
To start, I always think about the hero of the image, and in this case I have free reign; an idea formulates immediately! Just recently, I have been helping an ice cream producer to improve their in-house images and they just so happen to make the most delicious Belgian chocolate variety. The texture and colour are perfect.
That leaves me to search for the props. During my journey to find other chocolate produce, I keep in mind an important aspect of great food photography, to search out the best quality and most fresh ingredients, hand picking only the most perfect of items.
I am now in procession of more chocolate than at any other time in my life. As I start unwrapping, melting, pouring and posing each of the items, the room, NO, the building, is filled with the appetizing aroma of cocoa. What an enjoyable environment to work in but I need to break from the camera to start assembling my ideas into what will be the first draft of the image.
It’s almost there, I can see what’s working and what is amiss… I have more product to photograph and I know exactly what I need. Chocolate is an amazing and versatile subject to work with; solid and shiny, creating dust clouds from powder, and then “Wow!” it comes together; that’s it, DONE!
Here’s a before and after view, just drag the slider left and right to compare the draft to the final image
…and if it doesn’t scream chocolate to you then I’ll take solace in a rather large bowl of ice cream sprinkled with all sorts of chocolaty delights.
Oh my, another idea has just sprung to mind!
…and then I push myself a little further!
I have found that there are few shortcuts to self-improvement. For the majority of us, we become an expert through study, practice, good old-fashioned hard work and hopefully, enjoying what we do. One way to help move forward, is to draw upon the knowledge of current and past masters of photography. In this, I am afforded a glimpse of the world from a different perspective, rich with experience.
To gain this insight, I have embarked on an eight week portraiture study. This is no usual watch and learn, this is hands on and get on with it affair, led by my good friend Don Giannatti. My aim is to take elements of what I learn to incorporate into my own photography, to get away from the safe haven of the ‘go to’ lighting set-up, camera angles and poses, to offer my customers that something extra, to step up the level of quality.
These first two weeks of portraiture study have been spent with Skrebneski and Karsh. I have been pushed hard into new territory and the speed of discovery has been breathtaking! Here’s a sample of my journey so far.
Next on the portraiture study agenda is Sarah Moon, she will certainly put me, my thought processes and skills to the test! Then we move onto what I would describe as the more traditional photography found in the work of Peter Lindbergh. When something is this enjoyable how can it be labelled work?
You can freely download and use the actual RAW files used to create the final image from the bottom of this page.
Here’s part one where the images are created.
The second is where the images are prepared in Photoshop
The third finishes preparing the images and starts to put things together
The fourth video completes the set is here.
Here are the RAW (Lightroom DNG format) images you can freely download
Note: They are from 17MB to 26MB each
The final image may need a little fine-tuning but the concept worked for me.
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