On Sunday I submitted my photos for week two of the online class, Food Photography for Bloggers. The assignment this week was to work with two foods that had been difficult to photograph in the past. I chose meat and pie. After cooking, meat can often look unappetizing in photographs. Professional food stylists use all kinds of tricks to improve the appearance of cooked meats. These tricks don’t work if you plan to eat the food after taking the photograph. I chose to submit a shot of my Reuben sandwich. I also chose pie because I have had problems styling it in the past. I didn’t have time to bake, so I used a store-bought lemon meringue pie.
For our third photo we were to choose our “style” from a list and photograph something in that style. I read and re-read the style descriptions and could not settle on one. I declared my style as being somewhere between homey and cozy. These styles utilize rustic elements, old utensils, bright bold colors, etc. I went to a wood salvage yard and purchased some pieces of siding with blue chipped paint. Amateur food photographers don’t have the space to store props like a stylist. One food blogger recommends using planks of wood to simulate a table top, then storing the planks in a tall basket. All I need now is the tall basket.
Here are my submissions along with the instructor’s critiques.
Hi Mary. Very nice styling on this one. The sandwich looks great! I would love to see the light not quite so upfront/right but rather from 180 degrees in this case with a white reflector used at the location the key light is now. This will really help with the glare on the melted cheese and give you some nice shadows falling more forward. It also helps with the blown out spot on the white bowl in back. The framing is just a bit tight at the top but simply moving the camera back a few inches fixes that. The focus looks good up front but stopping down a tiny bit more would allow the meat inside the bitten area to be sharp as well.
Very nice clean slice! Meringue can be tough to cut with such clean edges but these look great. Due to the height of the subject, a longer slice would keep it from looking so square if it were possible to do that. You would also end up with a thinner area up front to get some really nice back light shining through the translucent filling.
Again, the light is a bit far forward here. Moving it farther counter clockwise and positioning the slice so that you get light coming through the filling would be ideal. The lemons and coffee work well as props but the flower appear to be forced into place and pull the eyes away from the main subject especially since they are hanging in the plane of focus.
The main light seems to be from behind here 12-1:00 rather than front left or “8:00”. I do see a bright highlight on the milk that would correspond with light at 8:00 but that light source is not near as bright as the light from behind. If you could block out the front light, then you have the perfect key light position!
This is one of those times where I would really opt for a vertical due to the length of the plate and bottle. You have more space to work with at the top and bottom of the frame that way. I don’t mind the cookie at the bottom but the top of the bottle is to close to the edge of the frame here. Another option if you want to stay horizontal would be to just back out a bit so you have a little more breathing room around the edges.