Getting Started in Professional Food Photography

Lesson 10 of 21

Capturing Food in Natural Light

 

Getting Started in Professional Food Photography

Lesson 10 of 21

Capturing Food in Natural Light

 

Lesson Info

Capturing Food in Natural Light

Now we're getting somewhere. I like what you did with that strawberry. So the strawberry's not in our-- No, we're gonna get it in there, though. We're gonna rotate the plate. So you see the data light's not even on yet, and we're already getting a lot of that texture in the peanut butter and the jelly and we're gonna accentuate that with the specific light. So you see everything's reading as it should, so in your opinion, what do you see that doesn't; you guys already know what the flavors are, but if you didn't, is there anything that doesn't read as what it should be in this image right now? Well, we have a number of people asking about the two different colors of jam and if that was on purpose in terms of does it make sense? The jams aren't two different colors, but the depth of the jams is very different. So, we're gonna light, that might be a solution that we create with, you can actually either thin out the jam, or you can just leave it be. Then we're gonna do a fill over...

head, which is gonna get some light into that container. Cause we're talking about really raking light here. I mean, I haven't even gotten to the data light yet, but we're gonna get on that soon. Let me turn it on just to see what happens. Alright. So take that shot and see, just see how dramatically different. We're gonna have exposure issues, obviously, with it. Did we bump the camera? Oh you did it, okay. So that's hot for sure, so I'm gonna turn down. The data light's really powerful, so you don't want to over do it. But it adds these streaky lights, almost like sunshine's coming in, and you see the dramatic difference. Do you want to flip between the two? Yeah. So we're hot, but it is revealing the texture. And the nice thing about this light is you can just dial it down. All these lights can be dialed down to any intensity. So I'm gonna go all the way, mid, and then we just want this to be really subtle. There you go. With a larger table scene, are you going about your technique the same way? In terms of kind of placing things, and maybe the angle of the camera? If you had-- Yeah, a large table scene is a different beast. That's kind of where my, that's as far as I'll go before I get into lifestyle. I don't shoot people. I mean I've wanted to shoot... (laughter) No, I don't shoot people. So I do a lot of work with hand models, but even then I just love the food image. But in big table images you're still using a 45 mil, cause you don't want the distortion, but it's much higher and I might even do a left right shift to get the full table in. It's just way more work, it takes a long time to get a, if you're looking for even a moment in time you still have to craft that moment because there's always something in the frame that doesn't fit if you just do it in an editorial nature. And when you do get it in an editorial nature for like a magazine that's a special moment. When you really capture that one moment where the lighting works and the composition works. You can fuss with a table set for a whole day. That's one of the excitements about editorial, especially if you're doing it in one shot on location. That's a cool thing is when you can really grab it and not have to toy with it. So we're gonna get these... You want it over there instead. Yep, I can hear Malina already. "Oh my God, what are you doing?" (laughter) Here. So our frame here is cutting off. K, you want to keep it like that, okay. I though you were gonna move the plate. So, I love these spoons, and I try to use them whenever I can. It's just these ceramic coated spoons, they're awesome. They don't reflect a lot, and they're just neat. I felt like it would be good in this scene, but if you're just determined to put something in a scene and it takes away from it, you're doing you're image a disservice. So you have to be willing to walk away, and I'm just gonna put this over here, and I'm not gonna use it even though I really want to. So we're getting there, we're getting there. I don't have a lot of highlights on the... Alright see that? That's where a food stylist comes in, that looks good. Do you want to do LiveView? No we're fine. Malina just mentioned about LiveView. I don't use LiveView. Especially on the back of a camera. You can do it on Capture One. It really eats battery life. It eats a lot of battery life and it's not, do you guys use LiveView? It has it's place. I just haven't gotten in the habit of doing it. Maybe I should, I don't know. We kinda work the way we work. So I'm going to have that go up there. Do you want to move the napkin in there somewhere or do you just want to leave it like that? Let's put it under the milk. Cause we would want to protect the table from... Which one do you want to use? I like the striped one, this one. But I don't know if you wanted this bright one. Yeah. Let's try, so I want to do a demo. See how I'm doing the rust and the red and the orange? It's not straight orange so it's not blue orange kind of thing. So it's a little off to one side of the color spectrum. I felt like, we all have our different opinions on what will look good. I felt like this was gonna be the winner, so what we do, this one looks really good too. This actually looks more like a towel you'd actually have in your kitchen so it's a little more authentic. Lets take a picture of both of those and just see how they read. And then we'll make a decision pretty quickly on what... The one thing about Capture One is it doesn't rotate. My camera is auto-rotating the images a certain way, so Capture One doesn't actually auto-rotate your images for you so he has to do it manually which is kind of a hassle but. Yeah it has some weird issues with the orientation sensor when you're camera's facing straight down. Okay, so that's actually off frame, sorry. I'll put it near the milk. Do you want another empty glass for the milk? Actually I kinda like that as it is, I think it's just to busy when you put... You know what I might do? If you're grabbing a hot, I don't know who has a wood-fired oven in their home, and who toasts toast on a wood-fired oven and pulls it out on a charcoaled. You know that's ridiculous, it looks great. But that's sort of extending the reality of what we're trying here. But if you were to pull it out you would be using a towel. So it might make sense to put the towel up by the handle of the actual board. What I really like to do is to make it a little messy without being to ridiculously messy. Is to dip the bottom of the milk container in milk stamp it, and then move it a little bit. So it looks like you set it down. You poured it, set it down, and then moved it. It got nudged, and you kinda have that cool ring. I love that. So let's try that, I like you're towel better. We'll put it under the milk. Do you want to do the milk thing with the ring? Pardon? Do you want to do the ring thing with the milk? Yeah, if you get a bowl and just dip it, and bring it to set. I'm not using milk, I'm using Half & Half. It reads a little better, it reads whiter it's not as blue. Heavy cream's just a little to heavy, but I use heavy cream a lot for splash work. But for just milk I tend to like how Half & Half looks. I'm really liking how that orange juice is reading, that's a good, I think we have a good composition here. Although I don't like anything just touching the side of the frame so I might move the grapefruit just a bit. And I might drag, I'm gonna drag the peanut butter. (tapping on table) And like that. Alright, lets capture that. Alright, I don't like that, where that's... There we go. Any time you can kind of crinkle, I don't like wrinkled linens. I like to iron them but then kind of bunch them and then create the texture myself. Occasionally that's totally called for though. A nice wrinkled linen can look really good. Alright, so that, and then I'll dip that in this. We'll let that sit for a bit. That adds a little ring there. Do you want to take that shot and see where we're at? So you can see where that data light comes in handy. It forces that peanut butter to have a really nice texture. We haven't done any post production on this at all. I mean the colors. You're even welcome to bump up the clarity a little bit and a little bit of saturation. Right in here we're definitely overexposed on the napkin we're blown out in a couple of spots. I'm gonna use a scrim for that. I'm gonna show them how to do that. So when you have a light coming in from a distinct angle you're gonna have hotspots in that angle. But rather than just totally underexpose the image, we're gonna grab a little scrim at the end before we get the final shot, and we're gonna just scrim that area right there. Up in the upper left hand corner, so it doesn't, cause that's right near that data light too. So I'm also going to use some Fun-Tak. Is it Fun-Tak? Tacky tack? Tacky tack tack tack. This stuff, always have this on hand if you're a food photographer or product or anything. Its a good thing to have. You just ball it up, and if you need something to behave you can prop that up. I want this to face the light so that the highlights come out. So take that shot, it might not have helped much but I think we might get more highlights out of it.

Class Description


With the advent of social media foodie culture, food photography is everywhere. The market is saturated with top-down smartphone images of cappuccinos, barley salads, and elaborate toast. This represents a real opportunity for photographers looking to expand their businesses. Professional photographers are in a position to provide high-quality, captivating images of delicious food for clients eager for an alternative to stock photography and social media images.

Join veteran photographer Steve Hansen for this comprehensive basics course, and you’ll learn:

  • How to shoot a beverage, main course, and dessert.
  • How to light and style your shots to get the most compelling images.
  • How to build out your basic studio gear to get the most out of your food styling and photography.

Steve will walk you through the basics of becoming a food photographer by drawing on his own experience as a chef, certified food stylist, and photographer. You’ll learn about the equipment you’ll need; how to interact with food and prop stylists, and direct them during a shoot; how to work with digital technicians and editors; and you’ll learn Steve’s tips for marketing food photography. 

Reviews

a Creativelive Student
 

This class has appeal for the beginning food photographer as well as the photographer that is already a bit further advanced on the path. There is quality info about gear and other logistics for the beginner that is absolutely necessary and establishes a strong baseline of knowledge. When Steve starts to shoot then the magic really starts to happen as we get to see into his creative process, how he styles, how he problem solves, how he continues to push the envelope until he comes up with his incredible images. That was the most enlightening part of the whole class...being able to observe an artist in his creative zone. Steve is a master at what he does and whether you are a beginner, intermediate or even advanced photographer, there is something for you in this class. It is well worth the minimal cost of the class. Part of the value of purchasing this class is that you can watch it again and again and again and each time you will walk away with boatloads of info. It is one of those classes that you will go back to again and again and use as a reference point for improving your images. Thanks Steve for being willing to share your gifts and talents to help others! Awesome day!