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Professional Food Photography

Lesson 5 of 5

Shoot: Tomatoes and Bread

Penny De Los Santos

Professional Food Photography

Penny De Los Santos

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Lesson Info

5. Shoot: Tomatoes and Bread

Lesson Info

Shoot: Tomatoes and Bread

Okay, let's talk about tomatoes. Yes, you gotto do marble for two minutes more. You wanted to dark, more marvel and then way talked about you know more go on this one. Oh, no, we talked about let's do that. Okay, actually, john let's bring that surface back. I'm so sorry I can help you with it. It's heavy right now. All right, so we're going to shoot the tomatoes like high three quarter three quarter okay, setting this up, can you talk a little bit about white balance and calibration? Sure, I use the pam. Sure you has. No, this I use a passport a little over there. Yeah, right there. And we just took a shot before setting up and just did a quick no, I said the lights up, I got my exposure the way I wanted it and then we did pop this end took a picture and then we just on a calibrated monitor we did a white balance suggest it, make sure it just it tells me that I have a good white that's a clean white you guys know all this? Not everybody knows a lot of a lot of people don't know what y...

ou're going like that they're awesome. I have not I don't use it when I'm in the field, I use it in a studio because I have an amazing digital tech who basically trained me and said you have to use this he also talked me into using a tripod so there you have it I'm still learning I'm always learning and I'm and I'm cool I mean we should be right I mean that's that's when your your healthiest right when you're open and learning and willing to just like feel like ok yeah let's do this I mean for me personally I felt like my work went to a different level when I started paying attention to ah calibrated monitor like you referred to but also making sure that the images are was capturing was accurate in creating those profiles and so um for those that are just starting or getting started and don't understand calibrated monitors or shooting calibrated it's a really it's an investment into the equipment to take your work to the next level in it's visually you see the difference immediately the feedback is great but it's appreciated a detail that most tarver's are a lot of beginning for tarver's don't really take seriously but it is something it's a good thing to invest in if you're looking for food and it's kind of bluish it just doesn't look it yeah I just can't get into the shot it's it's also just good practice a good practice john with three orders recorder from this angle okay okay so no background here and then for the tomatoes this time yeah, I love that. Ok, so we pulled a few things. Erin pulled a few things from her studio that I fell in love with, like this awesome platter. Yeah, play then? Um so even, you know, it's, a food stylist, this already looks beautiful. What? This plate on the surface is already pretty delight is pretty when the light is well, so I had still had some tomatoes in my garden for their all green and, um but there's such beauty and green tomatoes? I think so. I just picked a bunch and then I went to the store, I went to whole foods and just got other ones that I saw that would goes in that color, um and present the way I see food I like sort of monochromatic like, colorful food, but I like to keep within a tone, so I picked the red one, so why not sure that I would use them so stake sticking with the greens and may be muted yet how do you feel that I think that's great again, it's like that? I whole idea where it could go really cute fast. I think the red is too cute. Cute, right? I mean, they're pretty because they're so small, they're so pretty, but I think those colors I think so because we have a vertical plate that we've kind already put on the surface vertical I don't know I see it as a vertical do you want also just like a kind of like uh wait hold on john I'm sorry do we want to do like a scene? I think it would be nice because we see that horizontal and lets us see yeah ok, I'll put some tomatoes there we'll have the olive oil um some bread some salt right? Like just kind of yes some cut some hole. Yeah, well I want to making people's mouth water okay, so you go off set to do that I don't want to get you tell it so she's gonna be chopping it's there's there's gonna be food working several people asking about whether or not why wouldn't you just shoot on the roof floor? Would you ever is it toe have maybe some flexibility if you just have a tripod is there a reason that you do lift up your seem tio whether it's, new york, chicago or l a the reason I do it is because the food's it's not great to work on the floor it's great if that's what you have but to be bending overto like that for an hour or forty five minutes it kills your back after a while and then you've got a whole day of shooting this is just a little more kind uh and I'm yeah I've shot on the floor for sure but that's kind of a last resort unless you have a really beautiful floor no, nothing wrong with that at all I had a question come in earlier that was about you know, it was actually somebody here who had seen the food in person and then seeing it in the image it's like looked so much more delicious what is that like? What is it about the creation of the image itself that makes the food itself look even more scrumptious? I I think it's a combination of the light and the exposure but it's really the light it's all aboutthe like it's the light it's the light you create the light that you put it in lovely we have a question over in this video so my question penny is I've seen in a lot of your pictures that you've shown today plates off centered and not necessarily off centered but like half of the plate out of the frame is that a common thing in food photography or I don't know maybe it's just me I'm just curious, you know doesn't bother me I think is beautiful, but I just didn't know if that is something that you plan on purpose or if it's just that it's a wholly intentional okay, yeah I mean everything that happened and any of those pictures was like really fought out in a ridiculous way way um yeah totally intentional all right more questions lots of questions coming in from online and let me know if you want to check in over there with erin at any point as well so for somebody who's just starting out what are some additional cz artificial lights that might be possible in the realm of food photography are there other modifiers can you use speed lights with other things obviously I started in natural light and I would almost say start there if you can't afford lights yet just start there there's nothing wrong in fact that's the most beautiful light right that is the most beautiful light and then just get these v flats you saw what we did with the leaf the flat's I would say hey let's shoot this last the last one in natural light but already did that workshop and it was laughed was four years ago so you know I would I would look at that eye I just really wanted to show you guys artificial light yeah but if you can't afford lights that's ok I mean I did that for the first ten years of my career more um there's nothing wrong with that and it's the best light so so then then my my charged to you is just work on making really great pictures don't let the light or the light source stumble you up in any way and if you need it, make your life better investments in the flats um you could make him yourself they're super easy mean even could you use things like white sheet it's or are you saying that that begins to be I mean it's you can but if you're really going to do this and you want to take it to the next level, just invest in some beef less it's a cheap investment great so another question that had come through was from m bell gal when you know when to light from the side from behind does it all have to do with texture light from the side on lee when you want to show the texture, how do you approach or however you want it, however you're envisioning it, we haven't had anything with a ton of texture maybe the first one had a ton of texture um and I have side lit pretty much everything except for the squash was topple it right? Um it's really what you want, tio emphasize right in this case it's all about the food. And so I'm really trying to emphasize that so it just really what you're trying to say it so that the food over even yeah, I mean, the job here is the job here is to make really beautiful feed photographs, right um I mean, what what I'm seeing what I'm hearing is it also just comes around to playing with it like you try it this way you turn it this way yeah do you like the shadows this way do you move the food around this way on that like he started to do it all day long yeah, probably easily so let's check in and see what erin's doing I'm just looking at products and seeing the color way want to keep it kind of monochromatic right? But yeah like I love that this if it'll work I want and maybe I can chop and making maybe like a slice of bread with some chopped tomatoes on top yeah let's say I mean that's a time let's see uh let's just see what this looks like. I love that idea. Yeah, I mean, it could be you know what? That could be kind of coming out of frame. I'm just gonna push it this way really slowly unless it's a lot way push it. I just want to go that way like a couple inches. Not that much. Yeah, right there. Trump thiss tomato has like a knob on it using some of the beautiful yeah yeah that's good or just wait that that bread is just beautiful aaron before we slice it, let me just shoot it on camera with it just to see you like that what she's the argument it's not the whole thing so on and then john uh see you only think about how I want it like this can you do you want to put the those in there too yeah that's so nice ok so john let's go touch two and a half apple box yes that one day I'll just step on this right there all right you want are you focusing just on the right now it's kind of a scene it's thiss the main is the tomatoes and I'm cutting half of the bread and I see the I definitely see like yeah I see defend I see like three quarters of that plate you want any that's yeah let's just check it out john I think I want to block this light a little bit so let's put it the flat trying to think what else uh let's let's bring let's bring them both in here like let's just make it crazy movie kind of already did that but let's just see yeah that's good yeah like john I'm gonna I want to change the angle real quick we go down down a tongue yeah and then I want to go that way a little bit e I need to go back just because I want more on my friend e are this camera stand is awesome I'm really trying not to go overhead guys I have everything in this frame do you want and we're doing more are you just gonna shoot? Well, let me just show you what this looks like and then let's talk about it I mean, I just think that looks pretty where's that wine bottle john just can't wait I need a glass just catch a little label like in this photo you got those tomatoes a gorgeous home I sort of feel like everything else should be just on the side yeah, I need to be the whole thing let me just focus on the tomato and then I mean the other stuff is great I just so this is how I know I need to shoot tighter I don't need I mean this is this is a vertical if you don't see that then it's a vertical because the play I mean it's the tomatoes that that plate is the start so then if I keep it horizontal I'm clipping that plate on top in a bottom and then I have all these sides so it makes sense that it's horizontal vertical everybody gets that. Okay, john let's uh was trying to really make it. Yeah. And do you see how the light is kind of it's a little more dramatic as we blocked at some you're going to do this it's gonna take me a second so few details about questions I'm just kind of thinking about something so erin will have the bread we just kind of have a tittle billion yeah either cut it but I love the detail of it yeah I mean it's that's a different photograph maybe um I feel that this one's to be um overhead I'm not doing overhead I'm bringing I'm not doing it I know it's beautiful like that come up or just that angle is it's just this I think it's just overwhelming it's too much but that in and of itself is a photograph ok thanks john aaron wants to make this an overhead I'm not ok so let's salt it up here in an oil a day let me just show you what this looks like really quickly so I put that I put this bottle here to create a shadow just to break up this perfect life right well that's way too loose sorry that john let's go forward yeah and still more let's go down a little bit got it perfect and then it is can we which which afforded a little bit more forward yeah, the whole thing yeah cool. You know it's perfect aaron it's so gorgeous are you getting in your sorry that don't want to see that that was the money shot that's okay, john, I want to just fill a little bit of white right here like a white heart and then I love that play back there with maybe we could uh yeah I don't want to come with more closer okay here in jimmy thoughts do an assault our I did these black salt because we're going kind of dramatic we're doing the dramatic hamster I feel like we need one more element and maybe you maybe have like the bread rift in the back and tell us again because folks haven't made who maybe haven't been watching the whole time that crease there is that something that's intentional that you would take out it doesn't bother me I love creases I feel like when you're making a especially just kind of this article you kind of guiding that I can you can surgeon setting a line ok just just make a roof so touch just like there can you show me that one in the and this one I just took side by that's pretty ok I feel really good about this I think we should add a few more elements to the background erin just to fill it up a little bit maybe even it's just maybe itjust much is just pulling that played in a little just a little more and then the bread maybe could be ripped our okay crammed up is it is a frightening bread's not in there at all but uh that is pretty like it it's beautiful does does the stylist ever now we know erin is both a stylist and a photographer herself but stylist ever looking through the frame uh yeah all the time I don't mind sometimes you like don't touch my camera but I don't care sure it just depends on the stylist really they all work differently we'll see what that does there I think we should also add a little bit of dust in the front whether it's the black salt or might be a little too much with the fennel I pulled that that was too much it is so beautiful I mean it's just another example of like really amazing ingredients that's it's like half of it more than half of it question question thank you it's not relevant to what's on your plate right now but if you were to give advice to someone who does weddings because most of the time the only thing we photographed her cakes and what's being served catered what advice would you give us toe make the quality of the cake photography better because we can't play with it just curious if there's a hazing o r I never thought of I've never been asked that it's okay, I think uh ok so you really can't move the cake um it's there before the bride normally so I would I mean if you really want it I mean I would like that I would shoot a beauty of it so you can't cut into it so I would I would maybe set up some v flats make it look really I like above two down like you are now and I'm not at all into it straight straight into it okay never went making a giant we shot of it just like a beautiful a shot of it like set up the shot make it look like a gorgeous still life same idea applies tip your back you don't have to deal with a background and you could create a background you could shoot into one of these v flat's really easily a white one and just let the background go and that could be really beautiful actually thank you because I feel like in that frame there's on the bottom left there's a bit of space too totally I don't like a level not touching you know I just wanted to see it tell me you can't really it won't this one won't do that here that means see you have another one that's it's kind of flatter yeah it's um sarah's pottery sarah's gonna do ten short okay, great. So this is from amara photo erin and penny how do you decide yes or no to include cutlery in the shoot the tomatoes a sort of shot with ingredients but when it's plates and people eating I always find it high hard to fight the cutlery giving reflections or white highlights is there a way to avoid that if you can get cutlery that's you know has some patina on it then you'll avoid that I think there is a dolling product I can't remember the name of it that makes shiny I can remember it's it to make things doll basically they're dolling spring that's right? I'm just gonna pull that bread back uh you know what? The idea with cutlery and everything it's just a matter of preference if you need more energy in the frame you add elements this needed a little just a little bit more oh, what I do without you john wouldn't be the same shoot aaron I feel like the bread's not right but you know what? We could tweak this all day this is gorgeous it's pretty I'm ready tio friends just to too much ok, so here's the deal I mean you could sit here and like split feathers and and it has been done many times um but its food photography like I said earlier it's just proof daugherty we should be having fun um should be having fun we are having okay fun question for your panel we martin says a hero here in is there anything else you want to do? Where do you want to dive and do you want to like maybe we could I know why don't we all just like why don't we just want you and I put our heads like to the wait years here way get sure overhead tio I know let's put you on the board on the floor and then we'll put the tomato will put the bread slices that's a different that's a different issue okay what were you going to ask me I was going to ask you um what is the most difficult kind of food you've ever had to shoot I'm gonna go with cow's tongue cows town yeah where was that that's got to be a good story I mean yeah count stone I was in mexico that's kind of intense hubs how to dio went about it it's just it looks like what it it isthe it's it's a it's a cow's tongue it's really it's like whoa it's intense and that's when you don't get too close to it right uh but the huff was this soup in india and it was I think it was a go tough and it looked like a little rat it was floating in the soup and then they say it's like the perfect hangover soup um and of course you have to try it right because the chefs right there looking at you like you know it's my prize to dish you must try it photographer who's flown across the country that was intense and it looked like a little rat floating in broth and it was just how'd I wasn't sure how to make that look more beautiful than basically what it just wass and actually was kind of pretty it's on my instagram it's like a couple years ago so that leads to a question about culture and sort of what is pretty you know if different before attracted to different foods and different cultures how much research are you doing when it becomes tio ethnic foods or different foods from different countries and you meet in this kind of the shoot well in this yeah and this is just kind of shoot a ton we would if we were doing this and let's say it was a basque shoot and erin wasn't basket but she's basket we would have like I would have looked up as many basket books I could've found or just done research and trying to understand bass color palette and I just shot a best cookbook so there was a hole kind of I went to the vast country and I understood with the food was about and then he came back and shot in a studio and it was like you know you're not going to shoot basket food in pink or you know with like flowery colorful book background yeah yeah or blue it's kind of like deep betting soulful and be super simple s oh yeah wouldn't you say you research stuff if you have a shoot like certain type of food and you're traveling than that sort of there that's totally different yeah aaron you rocked it I feel like you know I have I've been a blogger who's I kind of had it can I say that? Can I talk? Yeah, so I've gotten from that from always trying to make food pretty to really understanding that sometimes ugly things have a place and unnecessary ugly but um you don't always have to make things pretty by adding greens or sometimes it can just be what they are and the con and if you especially if you're telling the story in a bigger context it's accompanied by I don't know me some flash otter environmental shots then it just it's the whole story not just that one photo, right? I know you agree with that? Yeah, I don't doubt for sure penny of another question for you that is from suki pet who says for someone starting out and food photography, what types of stories might one look for close to home go to the farmer's market and find a local farmer or a local anybody that's making something from scratch? I'd start there and talk to them and spend time with them and I bet they know someone else who's doing something really cool who isn't at the market um that's where I'd start? Do you've any recommendations for approaching, say chefs or restaurants? If you're trying to build a portfolio that is involving like, say, an editorial shot of a chef or inside a restaurant, how do you read into that uh I mean yeah you could you could do that I think I didn't most chefs at a certain level maybe not not at the highest level but most chefs would be really flattered um so yeah I mean they love to talk about their food and they love to show their food especially if you have a good portfolio if you don't have a portfolio I still think restaurants would be open to it and you could just talk to him about it and I'm sure that they wanted to a trade you know and that seems like a fair trade it goes back to those people profit project you know and if you're building your portfolio that said that's good trade you know let me shoot your food maybe you feed me dinner and in exchange I'll let you use these pictures but you're going to go early in the morning when they're prepping for breakfast or lunch or dinner you're going to go you're gonna be there when the first person hits that door when the first cook or dishwasher hits that door and you spend the whole day there and you're going to stay there through the night and you're going to stay there until they locked the door at night and that and then when you go in that restaurant any other time they're gonna feed you for free but uh if you're really going to do that like really do it you know don't just go and make food pretty food photos like go in there and really kind of like exploring right if you're given that opportunity explore it don't just go to do one thing like dive in so penny maybe one more question of in terms of the time that we have the last um final thoughts final thoughts for photographers out there who are wanting tio get into the professional world if you were talking to penny ten years ago oh god that's a tough it was I was talking to myself ten years ago I'd say you're gonna be okay don't give up you're gonna have to work your butt off ten years from now just as much as you are today and you need to stay open and you need to keep believing and if you're not doing what you want to be doing you should be doing it that's what I'd say well thank you so much thank you so much penny does santos everyone thanks here I want tio give a very social thank you to john cornyn cello erin tell us again coming out here tell us again where people can find you um should a spelling bee sure my block sc can elevate me um see way c and e l l e v a and I lk there we go all right they can come back out here you guys are awesome thanks for having us anywhere can people follow you on instagram? What's the best place to instagram for my name penny delo santos, my website. Just you know what? If you google penny and food, my name, I might. My website is like the second head rome summit just over there, that that was pretty awesome. Oh, that's, fantastic. Well, once again, penny, such a pleasure to have you back here, a crate of live after all these years, as we were talking about when the cameras are off, it's. Incredible to see how much we all grow over time and how your work grows. And we all have so much to learn on it's, just it's. Just really cool to have you come back and teach us everything you've been learning in between. So thank you.

Class Description

Get ready for an exciting entrée into what is takes to produce and shoot food photography at the professional level.

In Professional Food Photography with Penny De Los Santos you’ll learn about the creative process and logistical wrangling of creating food-driven ad campaigns for top clients in the US. Penny will share insights from her experiences shooting for commercial clients and she’ll share tips for charting your own course to success.

This amazing course is part of the series of professional food photography tips


Sara Zancotti

Thank you Penny and Aran for inspiring me to start shooting food. It was wonderful to see them working together and creating beautiful images with delicious food.


This class was wonderful. Penny and Aran (food stylist) demonstrate how the relationship of two creative people can generate great results in food photography. This class is very inspiring. Thanks you for sharing this experience with us!


I watched all the demo class of hers, I think she needs to organise what she needs to say in the class better, then I will pay her classes. I think she needs to think about what viewer want to learn, rather than what she wants to share. As a viewer and learner, I would like to hear more about knowledge and wish she could use time better when she talks.