Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Fresh Fluffy Doughnuts...

Homemade doughnuts are amazingly tender and delicious.  The dough itself isn't terribly sweet, so the coating of sugar doesn't make them cloying at all.  A mix of cinnamon and sugar or your favorite frosting would be just as delicious.

These are traditionally a cold weather food, but since its near April in Chicago and still 20 degrees, why not?

These small doughnuts were made for a client, but we shot them separately to get a different perspective.  We just had to come in close and tight on them to show off the cinnamon and sugar.  They were still hot enough that putting them in set, we were a little worried they would crumble apart.  To really show off the texture and to give a clear idea of how much coating is on these doughnuts, we used just a few point source lights.  One from high and to the back right, to skim across the face of the 2 forward facing heroes.  The other was low and to the back left to skim and give an edge light to some others.  In addition to that, we had a soft light overhead to control contrast.  We spilled a little bit the topping onto the surface, and put some empty glass ware behind to give some extra interest.

All and all, this was a very simple shot made delicious by the food itself.  Sometimes, the photographer and food stylist have to work some magic, but simple is sometimes better.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Ricotta Crepes with Smoked Salmon....

Of all the things that France has done for the world, is there anything more satisfying than the Crepe?  It forms so perfectly to fit just the right ingredients to make a perfect breakfast. Or any meal for that matter.

Ricotta cheese provides an unexpected tenderness to smoked Salmon-filled Crepes.
A meal that needs to be fresh, we wanted everything about this photo to express that feeling.  The Art Director and Client were here for this shoot, and we all had the same idea of natural light.  So to keep things consistent, we created the natural light by using a combination of soft light and point sources.

But before we could start lighting the food, we had to pick our surface and props.  We started this shot by trying to arrange different props and surfaces, but ultimately everything seemed to take away from the hero of the shot, the salmon.  So we kept everything very subtle and minimal.  This really helped the color of the salmon explode in the photo.

Friday, March 15, 2013

The Aroma of Steak...

The power of smell is amazing.  We shoot a lot of food in our studio, but nothing has the ability to gravitate people to a set more than a fresh steak.  The smell fills the studio, and everyone wants to try it.

A savory mushroom crust surrounds tender beef filets in this recipe, aside from the red wine reduction.

This Shot is just one from a 2 week shoot with this client.  The shoot was for a cookbook for the client, and should be ready to purchase in the next few months.  I shot this with our Sinar Digital back mounted on a 4x5 view camera.  I wanted to get low and really close on the subject, to really show the   "meat" of the shot. (pun intended)  I used a 150mm lens, wide open. 

For lighting, the client and art director wanted to portray a more natural light.  In my mind, I envisioned the window coming from the right.  So to create that light source I used an 11'' Speedotron bare reflector and aimed it at a bank of white cards.  This gave me a very large soft light source, which gave me the beautiful highlight on the right portion of the filet.  I then brought a small white card close and on the left, to reflect that light and fill in the left side.  That card is giving a small highlight on the front left side of the filet.  The shot also needed some directional light, so I brought in a few point sources. 

One was from the back left, which gave some nice specular highlights, and really made crust separate.  Another was directly behind; this was a small point source with very low power, and it is providing the rim lights for the green beans.  At this point the overall contrast of the shot was too much, and the Red Wine Reduction on the plate wasn't getting any light, so I put a softbox on a boom overhead.  This filled in some of the shadows and reduced the overall contrast.