Food photography part two.
As a photographer, it goes with out saying that you are always aiming to recreate a scene as you see it, but a lot of the time you have some leeway. If you take a picture of a tree and the leaves are a tad more yellow than they are in reality does it ruin the final image? Will anyone ever pick you up on it? Would they actually notice or even care? As long as the final image is beautiful and not unrealistic then it’s very unlikely they would. However, if you are shooting a sandwich and the lettuce is an unappetising shade of yellow then people will definitely notice. You, as the viewer can’t physically taste the strawberries in the image below but you know the taste of strawberries, your subconscious mind has that flavour profile stored away so all I have to do as the photographer is capture the image accurately and your mind will fill in the blanks. If there is anything, even the slightest mistake in the colour of the strawberries, your mind will pick it out and the spell will be broken. Now obviously there is a lot more to it than just lighting. Sets and props are equally as important in making the food look as desirable as possible but if you don't properly light the scene you will already be off to a bad start. Listed below are some of the tools and techniques I used to capture this strawberries image.
When it comes to lighting I mostly favour studio lighting over natural. One reason for this is time. I like to take my time with shots and with natural lighting you are at the mercy of the Earth's rotation, the weather and the seasons. It’s really frustrating getting excited for the day's shoot only to find the conditions outside are not favourable for what I want to achieve that day. The decision to invest in soft boxes and 5500 kelvin daylight bulbs has meant that I can shoot at any time. Certainly, it can take a bit more work to achieve natural looking results with studio lighting but it comes with far less disappointment. The second reason is flexibility. I find there is much more scope for experimentation with studio lighting over natural. I must add that this is just my way of working and I'm not claiming it is better than using natural light, I just find that I get better results this way. Also, because I am not limited by the availability of daylight it means I can shoot at any time of the day. The strawberries shot was taken at 8.30pm, in December. Because of my schedule the day it was shot I would have had to wait until the following day to get this shot if I was using natural light but thanks to studio lights I was able to set up there and then and achieve a pretty realistic daylight looking shot whilst working at night in midwinter.