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Shoot: Hand Model Holding a Pie

Lesson 36 from: Story on a Plate: Food Photography & Styling

Todd Porter and Diane Cu

Shoot: Hand Model Holding a Pie

Lesson 36 from: Story on a Plate: Food Photography & Styling

Todd Porter and Diane Cu

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Lesson Info

36. Shoot: Hand Model Holding a Pie


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Day 1


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Hero Shots


Motion in Restaurant




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Lesson Info

Shoot: Hand Model Holding a Pie

So in the last segment we finished off um just getting a quick shot of all the ingredients it's the first stage and building the top down table scenes or the community on the table scenes that tom and I have talked about we love so much sharing and everything like that so this is one of our favorite shots to shoot it's the show social moments and food that really bring us together so before we even do the final hero shot of the top down table scene, what we're going to be doing in this segment is isolating individual subjects out to shoot individual vignettes of each dish because this is an opportunity to get multiple shots out of one scene so we're just not going to shoot one table scene we're looking at here and thinking of all the potential that we can pull out of here before we finalize everything so this is what todd and I do we take advantage of it and maybe isolate certain um subjects to maybe even used as a stock shot or something. So this will probably taken on a new alday thi...

ng at our studio but it's just the most fun thing to do in the end linds the options are endless, so what we're going to start with is now that we had the last shot I might be able to bring that up mike the last shot that we got and, you know, it's ah, it's, it's a pretty good shot, you know, it's not bad, but there's going to be much more engagement and there's going to be placement in it? I mean, they're sort of things that we definitely need to change. But before we get to that point, we at least todd and I have a starting point. We know lighting, we know table, we know ingredients what each one looks like, and then in terms of styling, I can work around to figure out where what works best within each corner of the frame. But during this time, we're taking a knopper tune ity to do individual hero shots and in these individual hero shots were going to try to add that social moment in food or that engaging part, that human element of food that is just so wonderful and so resonating. So we're going toe shoot this pie again because I just absolutely love this pie, and we want to shoot it as if the story was somebody baked it, and they just are bringing it out to share. So this is kind of the sharing scene of the individual baker. And I'm gonna pick somebody from the audience to come out and be your model and I'm picking you based on outfit okay? So I'm thinking you in terms of color so that's the next thing I mean you all have beautiful faces but your face is air not going to be shot it's going to be pretty much the outfit you wear in your hands so based on the pie if we if we do this in terms of having a model and having wardrobe we're going to make sure that we look at color to see what's going to pull off in terms of texture on what's gonna really embody summer you know and I think your top green top is going to fit right here yeah it's going to fit so punchy come up come up from here so we're gonna pretend it's a hot pie so if it's a half a hand so again this is what we do when once we set up all the food we're gonna like take total advantage of all the ingredients that's why people say we had to get so many shots of hands and things like that is that like a one day thing? It must be so much work we're like no it's already there shoot something with it so I'm going to make sure that we understand it's a hot pie and now we can do that is to show that it's like being pulled out with like hand mitts or something like that so rather than using hgh admits um I was thinking about texture and of course, styling and story I could grab a regular hand met, but I feel like something like this textured burlap um would be a wonderful way to show it's like it is it's a rustic pie, you know, and it's something that that is so homemade and so natural so I'm thinking that rather than again pulling out my my my hot minutes, I'm gonna have her hold it like this, so as I'm food styling, I'm thinking of wow, did you see the light just change real quick so that's another variable todd, you have to deal with, so I'm looking at front I'm looking at a talk, but think of the green top looks really great pull it out just like here and when I want to place it in her hand first hold it, I'm going to take a look and see, but it looks like here that's good and then I'm going to make a change and don't be afraid to make changes because I'm just noticing that there's a lot of black here too angry and I think the green is actually two green because it's it's really fighting the red that's in the pie so when have you sit down again? I'm sorry. Oh, can I have you come out here? So she's got a blue, so maybe it's going to be a little more subtle, the texture that's that could work and only reason I could, because I see her belt now, you see. So I'm thinking the bell can pull off a little bit of the color of the pie and I think that's a nice, interesting texture to pull through. So whenever we do hand shots with with folks, studios, distance or agency people that were mo I was looking for those type of details that khun not only pull out the texture of the food based on what they were, but also how the color compliments as well. So I'm thinking this might work because the white is a lot softer than her black sweater. I think this is gonna work, so I'm gonna bring you over here. So what do you have for an option? If somebody isn't wearing something that works the dish you go and you buy something different. A prince, a prince, a prince that way, too. They were into it too great idea thiss the writing resist eliminate her no but I want to bring this summer colors but I think the shirt looks great so let's prove true they were so again this is the sharing after you back up so we're going to use this yeah we're gonna use this as the background so it get not you know, not forgetting the story what is the story the story of sharing this is a summer sharing story we're sharing a feast were sharing a meal together oh yeah so I'm looking here and then you see how we've used this this wonderful table top that was a table top that was a floor top now it's a background up for object and now human I mean this is a great size tohave if you want to deal with his type of lifestyle or these type of engagement shots someone look here I know you're gonna be tired by just kind of rest your hands on your hips and that way you just don't have to position too much and you look great but the shots going below you chest okay I'm gonna have you adjust your body a little bit so fischer by towards me cool and now bring your hands towards me so it's kind of like resting and you hit a little bit it's a little bit natural comfortable I hear a nice so that's still the scene is sharing hold on here sena sharing and I kind of liked her but I'm hoping he gets her belt in there just to give that again that human element it's not just the hand but that little bit of belt or the edge of a dangling necklace or something like that that adds a lot of personality to the shot because rather than shooting that on a table if she's holding it I definitely think sharing sharing the theme yeah, I think I'm gonna have to make adjustments so that I could tell the pies not totally perfect and I'm wondering if we're gonna have to um add more strawberries if we need teo and then I am wondering if and kind and settle this here you actually did not just distract you stay where you are okay you're going to shoot again maybe she had a little bit wider you need to getting her hands in our half her hands see here I'm just going to rest yeah and it's going to be in a comfortable position so you might be standing there for fifteen minutes that's why I warned everybody he got to do your yoga now you know how I feel and during said I'm always stretching because we're on our feet for so long do we need to tilt it or anything okay what you reaching for? Oh sorry oh I'm always looking to see what other changes that could potentially make I'm wondering if I should add. No, I won't let's see let's see what it looks like first, but I'm wondering if I should add a little bit of, um so wonky. So maybe I could tell her maybe shoot a little bit wider. Don't shoot again. Both of restarting it. Okay, so let me make some changes here. Well, we just make some adjustments up in the booth and I can tell here, you know, one if I play with this right, and I can already tell I like the buttons on her top. So if the photo catches it or not that's okay, but I kind of really like that. That little personal touch of the buttons, if it khun goethe come through on the fish photo, yes, actually, let me drop angle a bit. I'm going to have you took this just a bit. So you not so it drips out, but the way we notice he's using just a little bit, let soft backlight coming through to highlight the pie. And I can tell already I don't even see your hands because it's covered. So I've got to make a change. I just noticed that right now, so pretty, though in that pretty like that human element to it. But I'm feeling like I I just want to bring in the soft, delicate fingers you know, you know more of that human touch so we do this and this is a little dark and what if we turned the other way to get more of the top so let's turn this again let's, try this again before make adjustments I can't have you shift the partiers shoulder here should this yeah, there you go making a change I'm seeing a pet peeve of mine I s o that again so the top is too dark that is so we're trying to do is get a little bit more that summer blue in there, cool where make changes and then I'm going to show your fingers because it doesn't to me fully epitomize that sharing it and then is that super pretty though just to feel so riel feels like there's that story there that's nice. I like that you see how the color pulls off the pie? Do you like that belt touch? I mean, I'm not even talking about the food, but I'm talking about that human element, that story in there it's just like you tell it's like someone who just made me a homemade pie and then thehe just mint that diane just made for how the light is not also hitting address too so it's like instead of when it was shot out a little bit now with the light catching across that just makes it pop a little bit brings it into the picture a little more so don't move okay I'm going to hold the pyrite here can I have you move this hand wrapped around just wrapped the fingers around the pie won't fall there we go there we go it's hot no it's gotta be oh there go it's okay warm it's only one more okay and if the pie falls it's okay we can still shoot a broken pie looking making well see the light just changed again okay good just relax and have a naturally I'm gonna hold the pie can you wrap your other finger around it but I want to wrap wrap it around your camping in there no way that's awesome you have high okay there we go and you notice in that time here you'll see I wrapped it around her thumb and still add that little curl over the pie because it feels like it was just he just swooped it up off the countertop ready to hand it over and share to somebody you just relax I can tell you're not like this's ugo you guys I have nothing to do with it right now right here there we go you look awesome this's gonna this is gonna be it make it make a big difference you look great, but again that that hand motion and I'm always trying to incorporate like I said, some type of human element into it not just ornate objects like a fork and a knife and cutting board and also it's cheap you don't have to go by and you can grab your kid or gaps of it in your family so doesn't that feel better now too? Let me can I move over here just want to see exposure wow, that looks now like for me that gives me the chills I feel like somebody just baked it and I just want to share a little bit with you great and then exposure looks good color looks great and I love how it kind of catches anything crop it lay a little bit of her skirt because it's a very feminine feel and this is a very feminine um type of photo looks great now we can make adjustments now. Anything any adjustments you think you would like to see or make I know that there's kind of this piece of cress floating in here that kind of bugs. Mace I want to move that out of the way so you like it right away? How no opinions? So when I was framing it difference between this one and the last one just little adjustments that I'm making so you know diane had talked about she's getting your hand than with the towel folding underneath it so I'm adjusting my framing instead of having this open space over here and said I shifted over just a little bit so that we are making sure I'm catching the thumb and the hand because this is like such a cute dome and then I don't need to see the whole part of the second hand just let that crop just a little bit so what I'm doing is I see more pieces of strawberry here so I'm actually gonna pull them out a little bit more just so that we can see a little bit more texture this is actually a strawberry rhubarb pie but I'm gonna just gonna pull a little bit more to make it a little more interesting in the filling area so it just doesn't look like a sea of of red juice yeah I agree how can you say that before not but now you see it I'm just giving you a hard time I love you I like to do that because people do that to me you grew up in a big family with four brothers and a sister you gotta grow up with tough skin because there I was giving you a hard time okay but I think this is nice I feel I could see a little bit more of the filling. Okay so it's so see you need to go up a little bit how you doing I'm great. You're still relaxed. Good. Okay hey looks great. Looks good now this is a pie if someone we're going to advertise and selfies this is a pie shot that I would want to go by because I'm running for mayor just so you know, this is the type of if you go from a marketing perspective and a cell's perspective this type of advertisement with let's say something on the bottom you know, homemade pies by mary it makes me want to go I want to buy mary's pie yeah, I love this varies pie is great yeah, I see better the feeling but I kind of want to see where the hands a little bit we can yes, please see so that was a big difference already big change so all those little edits, if we're going to shoot a very long time with the model I would have a stand next to her arms actually where she's resting arms on and her elbows if it were long shot and you see and I'd have something for edible so she's not really she's just resting her doubles the whole time she's not having to have any force or attention holding up the pie so I'm feeling really good about this I feel like the centre looks awesome now you see the filling it's almost good enough to eat we can't eat this one yeah, and I just think I don't know if you were that, but I'm wearing that is just perfect. You know, the outfit is just perfect. Was that it? You got this finger. I was thinking this all you want, but yes, please see, I didn't clarify, you know, it's a communication I said, can you still show more of her hands? And he thought it was one than the other. But if I can in my and try to be as clear as possible, can you show more of her left hand than it saves us a couple shots of the steps? The crust looks good for being like a four day pie filling looks good, looks really juicy. I love the belt. I absolutely love that I love the sweater. Um, because if you love that let's turn her body just a little bit more now, still a little too face front one more time just just earned was about a year ago this way and just turning out just a little bit just a little bit ago. So when you're working with the human there's always adjustments because they move, their body settles, so you've gotta always keep shooting to get that body positioning, could yuki, they're not yeah, with or the human element little bit that was almost too much. He twists a little bit. Okay, that's. Good, because love it. But she has a hand and the hand that he's getting is the one with the curve tell anyway, which is the better side. I just love the sweater touch a lot because it brings another layer to the top. Yeah, looks good. I want to stand over here because it looks different. Airing all their ego exposure look good, because remember these air not edited, but todd and I what we want to do is try to get the best exposure we can in a raw file. So let's, do maybe half a stop. Reiter. We'll talk because on this side of the screen, it looks really bright. But when I stand here, it looks darker because I know some of you sitting on here on this side are going to see it differently. Who were sitting on the side and that's gonna be it. That's a wrap for that. Feeling good. Yeah. How would you feel about, like, an egg wash on top to give it a little shino? What would you do something like that for a crest? Yeah, I mean that's for personal preference, right? I kind of liked the rustic part of it, I don't want it too much, I kn I feel like it's got so much groove and texture already right that's enough for me again it's just about what decision you want to make you know we can shoot it a gazillion ways but I feel explosion looks good from here that human elements looks good any questions? No good no, no critique I'm ready for you. Okay. All right, well, that was easy. Thank you. So for those of you who want to bring in the helen hand element of touching and things like that I mean, this is a really great an easy way to practice. Thanks, mike for that I love this being able to see the different variations so yes, I'm sorry. Good. I have a very little practical question here. See if you have ever done this before from joanne make if you're using the store bought pie but want to photograph it in a glass pie dish not in the store in the store tinfoil is there any good way to get it out of the tyne and into the glass? Yeah, I maybe freeze it. We could freeze it to firm up the pie first to make it as firm as possible and then make sure you do it before you cut it before you weigh wood because what you can it's then for the most part you're not gonna be able to move it much after you cut it brilliant, yeah, so if it's ah store bought pie would freeze it and then in releasing it, what I usually use are the white rubber spatulas rather than a wooden spatula, because if he used like a wooden spatula or something, it just is going to catch the edge of the pie, and particularly with it being frozen when pulling it, you just might break the crust. So usually what I use is a wooden spatula, a rubber spatula, a wide white rubber spatula because it's rubber it can kind of nestle and fold underneath it. Could you've got to release the frozen pie from the aluminum casing? And if if the aluminum tends to be particular, sticky, awesome is using kitchen shears teo, to cut it away sometimes just getting enough that you can actually get something in there. Other times you're just cutting out piece by piece and or teo fully release? Yeah, and that's what we'll do. Once we release it, I'll cut maybe the aluminum ten into five sections. I'll do a small snip, I'll tear and I'll keep cutting to accept to pull the aluminum foil aluminum tent away from the pie so that there's less movement on the pie trying to get it off of the ten, that was a great question, and who moved my coconut oil? Um, I said cut the tin away so exactly exactly. I love it when the internet freezing the pie helps too, because if it's a really fresh pie are really tender crust or really thin crossed um, even if you cut it away, sometimes there might be a terror underneath and the juice will fall out. That happens often, if it's a thin pie crust. Yeah, it's like you have the better you have the lard or whatever the pie crust is made out of. So you're freezing it that's just goingto solid up. Just a little bit more to help you pull it out. Great. We move on. Yes. You mentioned yesterday about steam, so if a client wanted that to appear like it was right out of the oven and steaming, can you just pretend you've got a steam iron to kind of how would you hold this? You don't burn the model. And how would you do that? Oh, steamer yet? Um okay, can you come up here real quick for you for a second? So, depending on the steamer you use, you have to be careful, because if you some steamers, when you put it upside down a little bit water comes out or what I would also have is sometimes I have a, um I have an older iron that when you that there is a steam function on and when you press team, the steam comes out a poofs up. Do you have any of those? I mean, I have an older one that does that. So let's say amusing that the same thing. I would test it first. It all depends on the light, you know? So, todd, I'm gonna do a test poof, like, right up back here. I want to write front because it would, first of all, fog, the camera lens and it's looks funny. If the fog just the steam covers the front of the pie, I'll probably do it right to the side. Here and out. I'd have a hot tell something protecting the model here or even a hard cardboard and a towel and id proof here. And then I pull away. But you have to do it probably at least six times because of light, because going this way, wherever taught shoots might not catch, we'd probably move around like the clock we keep moving around. And if we can't get it, we would move the model around like the clock again and make those adjustments, but if in the final poof I would have something here to protect her. I go poof and then go out like this, and he'd be ready to go, and the camera would be in a tripod and lighting wise. I would get more backlight for that shot. Yeah, so she'd probably be more here to get that steam rice and that really pretty the fries and and if you can't answer, given, drop your back on towards a dark color background. So, mother, maybe instead of doing a white background, if you get something that has a darker texture, doctor surface, whatever it is, just so that way, it gives something a contrast against this team. Yeah.

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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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