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Shoot: Bread Making Scene

Lesson 37 from: Story on a Plate: Food Photography & Styling

Todd Porter and Diane Cu

Shoot: Bread Making Scene

Lesson 37 from: Story on a Plate: Food Photography & Styling

Todd Porter and Diane Cu

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Lesson Info

37. Shoot: Bread Making Scene


Class Trailer

Day 1


Class Introduction






Hero Shots


Motion in Restaurant




Restaurant Details


Lesson Info

Shoot: Bread Making Scene

We're gonna do a bread baking scene we're going to make a rustic um bread scene because a lot of people love bread and I always want to show bread as a comfort food um and that's where a lot of story comes in two is the type of food that you photograph bread is so comforting and again it has so much story I think we were talking to was it um your name is again yes yeah you were talking to us about bread the other day great I want you to be in the shop please so I'm gonna make it make it comfy for you so we're gonna make it a bread cutting scene so one way to showcase bread I mean the bread itself is super beautiful I'm actually gonna have todd shoot it so how beautiful it is but we're going to show a scene where she's either breaking into our cutting into it because this is a great you won't settle for top to interpret it um probably let's do angle that's always think it's to angle it's on you I'm gonna move this back a little bit here make an adjustment cause I see the great table and...

it's going to move forward have you roll your eyes again to see before even do the top down shot look at all the options that we have it's like endless this is endless and when we have an opportunity or an assignment or paid project to shoot a scene like this everything is pulled out shot individually not just the client if they don't want to use it that's fine we're saving it for stock shots so every and wouldn't talk about that the next segment every opportunity we have to get really great hero shots of simple everyday food items is something that goes into our archive and we sell later okay, so let's I'm gonna move you back just I'm gonna have to get a shot of the bread first okay? So we're just going to test the lighting first to see what the bread looks like and the bread itself has so much texture to it and interest and then I have a very cool tool here and I love shooting bread bread is so beautiful it's sexy it's beautiful it's just comforting it just makes me happy you know with bread uh is that beautiful? Gosh, I mean when you start with really beautiful fresh food it's like half your battle already someone look here um it looks great like this looks pretty good. We probably feel it in here and there but I do like that shadowing yeah, yeah, I like that you're nice rust the globe so I kind of like the shot okay do like the shadowing too, so I'm gonna set that us to sup to words like a hand cut shot I am walking around aimlessly because I have been thinking of styling and and teaching everything at the same time so let me grab a couple things here I just need a cutting board so I'm going to show a scene of her cutting bread but I need to pre cut a slice first and I've got a really great proper which is this knife here so while I get this set up today can you get just a shot of the knife and the bread will quit to show you how how these little these little props with a lot of personality and story at so much the image like I said you don't need a ton don't don't don't choke the frame out with a bunch of stuff start with one or two really great pieces and you khun really go do a lot from there so I got that right check out that knife is that the coolest freaking life I got that from a vintage store somewhere that awesome so were you sure that I'm going to kind of get a couple slices ready for her because she's my hand model huh? You let's fulfill more dreams here you've always wanted teo have you ever wanted to be like a salad tosser? Okay any a salad tosser later okay I want a pre cut one so you know in terms of models I always try to pre set the scene out for them am I going overboard here another I might have to have you stand but I'm not sure yet but I set this up so by looking at this scene and I've got the knife there's not gonna be particularly there so I know he's probably going to keep this composition I'm gonna have a lot of space here and I'm going to decide I'm going to put the handle of the board down here okay could you do this and then we start setting things up and I love crumb I love all this stuff you know I just wanted to feel like it's supernatural we're not going for perfection here going foreal knife is probably going to be here so let's get a quick shot of that and all these shots that we shoot in between work use I mean they're still great so we all start this way bringing that that that that human element to it working in stages do you wantto do you want to still feel like it's a picnic you want this to be no no I want to feel like it's so someone's like you know morning gretchen story of someone's morning kitchen fresh out they've just got a fresh loaf l and they're ready to share it and slice it with toast and jam I just made that up but yeah that's that's what I think that's what I talked through in my head when we're I'm lightly styling think about all I can tell you now you're not going to like your knife placement okay she's cute so you can see you okay, yeah, I could tell because it's crossing the frame so yeah, it is it's crossing the frame s o final shop maybe be like this probably we see what I've got here. Yeah you're right it's crossing the frame has some like that look and I know it's blown out in the back a little bit but I know that she's going to be sitting there shouldn't be blocking some light so there's gonna be that compensation there so we're not going to fill it in just yet or defuse yet because her body's gonna block that but I'm really liking the field coming who actually little whiter a little bit more the table move out of the friend no, no you're fine but he's gonna cop it up right there you're going to be in there people through this little book it looks great and then, um the reason why we're doing this is just so we can have an extra shot for a stock or something like that. Can I trade you my toyota for that knife teo that night? Wow, what kind of soda is it? That's okay, maybe wei have a foreigner that has four hundred thousand miles on you can't be that yeah it's a doggy mobile now though yeah wade's table number two okay let's have movie forward now I'm liking that so we're going to see help no so that lets okay let me think here some thinking here she's going to cut let's pretend you're left handed is that ok like that are you left handed okay so see now I have to make an adjustment I forgot to ask her if she's left her right handed I can use no let's make it really let's do it again here we just have to make these adjustments one of the things I've gotta always be ahead ten steps ahead I didn't ask if you're right or left handed that's ok so keep adjusting the loaf right now dancing too much straight into the crumb okay get us something more crust there keep going keep going so if the bread position like that yeah let me give you a shot e I want I want my handle to go this way so how's that look yeah let me get a shot so you can see we're okay that's an awesome off bread thinkit's a cornmeal bread you can see the some sort the angle that I'm that looks great probably go I think you had you rotate too much no I think that looks good give you this I don't like that just a smidge okay one more image issue bread all day long I really can if that's what you want you want a little more going on? We'll just get just a little but this I think this framing looks perfect it looks great. Looks really wonderful really wonderful. Everything looks good, you know, I wanna add another element till after okay, those shifting at the framing for you so you get a little bit I don't mind seeing the edge of the table and it might seem a little more bread in here either. So maybe make an adjustment here and I wanted to show that it's it's a warm loaf to forgot I do want to show it's a warm loaf and I feel like the bread he looks good, but I could have a little bit of separation between the bread and the board again, you know, just get a quick shot like that. I just want to see what it looks like so I just like playing around all the time trying to see what works. What I know it looks great, but I want to see how this this a little bit of left underneath makes it feel it feels good. I like that myself a little bit just to make it feel like it's warm okay, I think we can ship the framing over yeah, I was just like that boy of yours I won't have you here like this like so has what? Ok, so here is a situation here love to talk about I'm trying to tell her hand where to go I'm just going to step back and say where would you normally put your hand? Uh like this if you were to cut it uh it was yeah, it was a warm like delk. You like that? Yeah, something like that. Okay, so that's how that's the starting point of rather than me trying to tell her what a hold I think. How would you hold it? Okay, great. I think that looks great. So that saved me five minutes of trying to be bossy. Cannot. Any angle is a little awkward. Okay, but I'm gonna fake it. Yeah. Thank you. Hear? Like this and let's pretend just holding it like this. There we go. We're getting that blade up. So this is where we're going to try the ad a human element to it just to show a little bit of movement within the frame. It looks good warm loaf. So max again just my composition just a little bit. Now when I see the hands coming in, I find the angle I like angle that's gonna be a little bit difference, I'm dropping down just a bit so that we catch the tip of her fingers I like your hand I like it a lot because you know why it's a real hand and that's what I love about it I feel like these hands go really well with the spread in the sense that this is like a really like I feel like a working hand a human head that's not a model hand not that perfectly tapered cuticle clean fingers french tip your french french manicure that I mean when I sell this it's emilie it's that hand see I mean to me I am so drawn to hands every time I go to remember where I was photographing people's hang out so I feel like this bread was made for you but I really is but you know, don't don't was actually that was the point I was like you're gonna bring up next we'll actually when I see these hands I see miskin elegant woman's hands yes I mean this is like when I say because it's like you have a beautiful taper to your fingers your fingernails it's like the way that you're holding knife this is someone they see that they are cook, they're active in the kitchen but they haven't elegance to them as well and a hand that has story I think when I see this is a hand that with somebody who has a lot to say and somebody has been through a lot two in life it is you know and it looks great so I mean in some cases the hands would be a distraction but I feel like this is now the hero to me I'm getting the chills right now because all of a sudden I saw that feel like this is a hero right here this person it's not about the bread it's about the person making it now so that looks awesome I mean I'm just wakes you know so just a couple of things now now now now that we have that let's put you in a real natural position as if you're going to cut already so good you just stand up get this okay so see how that changes in light and just let's this is not the knife that's going to be really cutting it but let's pretend you just going through the motions but todd will give you the prompt okay but whether we feel okay but let him get the um first I can't see you in my life yeah sorry gets the exposure first cause gosh, the light on that hand was just trick really amazing it's like I was not expecting that what are you gonna change? I want to show that she's busy making yeah that's what I was gonna ask you to publish an awesome can get out of the way god, I love the shot guess let's get just a test run before even start slicing well, this may be workroom in front. I don't know. Let me just I gotta flick in my shirt that I just feel like that looks better. I mean, I'm not the kind of a ton of mess that I feel like this situation can use more crime show krusty it is and how how beautiful it is here we came or the table yeah, there this is what I'm thinking family and say it's for me it's like that it was almost getting into it too much. I kind of really liked the lower angle though too, but I mean, we issued it really like variations you have to make the choice is too what you want to see. I mean, we've got so many great shots already that's when I changed out from her first one yeah, it's great. This is two one like pretend to have some motion in it or something whether or not he catches and throws him a little bit would be coming. Yeah, just going actually is going to start slicing just make sure you don't cut your fingers were donating blood on set that looks great looks awesome my hands were like, yes, the new career begun that's great, but that natural feel on the fall of this lice over and what I did is they put the heel of the bread up here just to catch you to give a little bit more texture too so you don't see too really white slices laying down that's great questions no actually I have I have a great comment great from from alan that says when you cut bread normally you never really think about it but when you first photograph it in action photography is pretty cool thanks. Do you guys have any questions in the studio audience? Wait just yes off topic what do you do when you have reflective surfaces on you catch the photographer in the reflection we're trying to photograph a spoon dripping some molasses into a cup and we tried so many different angles and that the my husband the photographer was always upside down in the spoon no matter what we did for particularly for utensils the one of the best things that we'll use is called dulling spray and you can pick it up on amazon you can pick it up sometimes and craft stores and basically what it is it's just the spray it's nasty it's like you don't want to eat anything if you're actually using it so you want to make sure your dishes or your utensils were well cleaned off after use it but you just spray it and then it will dole those shining services so it kills that reflection okay dulling spray is amazing we love it it's just something that's definitely just for shooting it's not one of those things that you're gonna use it if you're going to eat anything you don't want to dip it into it and just make sure you clean it off really well after okay also one thing with the dulling spray it never really dries matt it's always so when you after you spray you make sure you don't touch like where you were you've sprayed it so that way it stays you'll see like words been pushed untouched afterwards do you guys have any other little secrets things in your kit box where you where other food photographers might not know about these things chopsticks really sharp chopsticks I use that a lot of tweezers because I can use and I feel like sometimes I have more control especially going wide and getting precision than I can with tweezers so with my chopsticks and there the really pointy ones I can go wide and pick up a bigger object where is that sometimes on a tweezer in love it'd to something that's that size so that's my handy dandy secret there and you know tooth loss to these two flaws to come fishing or fishing line to get certain things that are soft but I need a clean cut I'll use that as as a as a as a as a cutting tool um gosh what else occasional use a circular polarizer for the lens. Your lens for them at the end of the lens. Do you guys use a propane torch? Yes, we have those. Yeah. That's. Kind of. Ah, real good standby. Okay. Typical tool that we use. We used a brown stuff with propane torches and skewers. You can use the skewers, teo, basically maybe exaggerate a grill line. Like when you're grilling you, khun. Just have maybe when the metal kebab skewers heat that up on the torture or over the kitchen stove top flame works great, too. Eat up. And then you can. If you're sierra marks not quite enough. You can help emphasize a little bit more, maybe just not catching camera. Quite what you needed to. I have a question about ice cubes. What type? For drinks. For fake ice cubes. What type of quality are you looking for? And where did you get your ice cubes? A lot of the fake ice cubes that we get. We just find online, usually through there, through fx companies are making him. Sometimes those companies that that's all they do is just make like the fake ice gives you just search online. Just prop ice cubes. Um, we look for once and just tend to look most natural, most riel there, some that are made out of more or less this kind like silicone where it'll float the floating ones are nice because otherwise if it's just a hard acrylic they said at the bottom you have to get a full stack in there in order for it to feel normal so the those floating ice cubes a great and a lot of times you can break them apart to give it a little bit more of a natural like it was kind of a rough and tumble ice cube instead of having bill come usually in a clue clear solid block or maybe it's a clear just straight out of an ice cube tray but then you could just pop him out you could even make him too I haven't done it yet, but there's people that they I mean these craft block there's people like that they're amazing it's like you just search online for people that air that have made it. You have a recipe for word and just try making your own as well. I know we've talked about this a little bit earlier, especially when we were pouring the beer but the question is from flavor of italy ta tas you are setting up your shot and you're thinking of shutter speed f stop eso what's the process do you first think of the f stop or the shutter speed or and baby for this one? Because I'm sure it's different yeah, so for the most part, fights a pious three quarters, the ninety percent of the food photography. The first thing I'm looking at is my f stop, I'm looking my depth of field because especially if there's not movement going in, then that becomes primary after that, usually for me, it's going to be shutter speed, I'm kind of keeping it in a range that I like, sometimes with the shutter speed like with emotions, that you want to be able to drop it down, and so I'm just leaving my eyes so at a point where I can play in the range that I like, so generally my thought processes have stop, then shutter, then I s o, but that's not the only way to do it, to parlay it, just how you're comfortable with, I know other food photographers that actually flip flop the sow and the sheriff speeches like they'll deal the isa will be in a different order and that's like so everyone kind of goes a little bit different where sometimes easier on your camera body to move one over the other one, so it kind of just becomes personal taste in preference, but just the biggest thing is used look at what's, most pimps, what's most important, I think I just shot the way that, um I think they're basing is you just choose what's most important is depth of field, the most important, or his motion most important, and that becomes the first thing you focus that, and then after that, you just kind of work down the line, you look great, awesome use like, for kids get food or something. Uh, how would you go about making it look like it's four kids without it being too cheesier? A lot of that I don't have to do anything that's that's her eyes using colors, you know, but not going too much, you know, I think you know, not having to start with, like kid objects, everything that's like it has to do with the kid start with playful colors, colors that kids would be drawn to you and start from there, then layer in like a little like a paper plate, a fun, colorful paper plate or a paper cup you're like a little sippy cup or little milk cup or something like that. Anything that is subtle convey kids, but emilie, when I think of somebody who needs something that appeals to kids, I would definitely think color and shapes, particularly geometric shapes, things that kids are always drawn to and then for lighting, I'm not gonna do less of a darker, moodier lighting you know what? You have some depressed kid which maybe they're very artistic and that's when you know you raise your kid to be a vampire but maybe it's just like, you know, kids on a rainy day so it's not necessarily a rule that you're always going to stick with it's like you could have something words like you still want to create that a little bit of a mood ring atmosphere so it's like maybe it is you want to get that feeling of a rainy day on this is like a final project that's kind of maybe throw some jackson there some a little prop things that bring the sense of childhood but it's you know, you don't necessarily have to have a bright neri great, you know it's like what the rest of the story beyond just being kids, you kind of going too, but usually what do you think of when you think of kids, right? You think it's kind of fun playful, you know, it's like what's it like to be kids like I cannot I cannot make it like I'm a kid and so you just thought, what what can you do to capture that so it's like when I think that I think it's right? You know, so I'm going to look for the more of that brighter light feeling things and it's like king it. So the shadows are a little less deep and rich. And same thing for the styling. A little brighter, playful, colorful.

Class Materials

bonus materials with purchase

Gear Guide
Places to shop for Food Styling Props

Ratings and Reviews

a Creativelive Student

First, thank you to Diane, Todd and the CreativeLIVE team for a wonderful exploration of "shooting" food with artistry. This course offers the beginner and professional photographer many incites into the world of natural food photography. With some business and lifestyle tips the majority of this course showcases an effective natural shoot style that allows anyone to deliver wonderful images. The strongest point I found useful is to “find a voice” for the story, your images or your client. While I understand “finding the voice” when writing copy it is the realisation that any activity can have its own voice. Your voice can be the style of image you like, the shoes you wear, the books you read, etc. it is not limited to how loud you (or anyone else) shouts. Using general principles and building good habits through practise will allow you (and me) to achieve, not just find, success. The “lighting clock” is a useful shorthand helping communication with clients, producers and peers. The strong emphasis on practise, speed and taking advantage of any appropriate situation both improves productivity and reduces the impact on a client. Last but not the only other gem in this course is the bald (not a joke Todd) fact that any photography business was, is and will always be based on the relationship between the photographer and the client. Building a relationship is the best marketing device any photographer, food stylist, entrepreneur or creative mind can develop. Other courses offered by CreativeLIVE also stress the relationship aspect of good businesses as their best marketing asset. I highly recommend this particular course for lovers of (in no preferred order) food, photography and life. Thank you for reading and I hope you find your voice in all things. FJH...


Diane and Todd are amazing! They've held nothing back when giving the rest of us an honest, detailed look into what it means to be a food photographer. I've seen many seminars on the topic from different companies and photographers and this one is my favourite. I love their no fuss approach to food photography. It leaves me feeling like food photography is manageable without having to fuss with cameras and lighting gear that are outside of my budget. I love that Diane often mentions how there's more to food photography than the plated dish. And Todd is just adorable and has the cutest laugh! They're a fantastic team that are engaging and make it easy to learn from them. Highly recommend purchasing this course!

MAlisa NIcolau

I loved this class and how Todd and Diane taught it. It was very personal and inspiring, with lots of insight and tips. This is not a camera technical class, but more an artistic, motivational and visual food photography learning environment. Their examples on how to set up scenes and stories behind the food and people involved are very enlightening. They gave me a lot of great ideas and hope that I, one day, will become as good of a photographer as they both are. Great team!!!!

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