Every month we do what we call “test” shoots for ourselves. These are images that we will use for self promotion, for our websites and well, really – its just a fun day to shoot food where we are the clients and we can do what ever we want! The “we” being Amy (prop stylist extraordinaire), Alise (food stylist extraordinaire) and myself. We figure out what day we are all free and then discuss what we want to shoot for our test day.
So our day starts with Amy bringing loads of her awesome props and Alise gets the food that we are going to shoot and brings it to my studio.
Amy will set up all her beautiful props on a table and then we’ll go through them and figure out what we want to shoot. We place props on the set, take some pictures with them, move them around until we come up with what we like. We’ll put the food in before its ready to make sure it will all work together then give it back to Alise so she can style it. I will also work on my lighting at this point as well so that when the food is ready the lighting is ready too.
In this shot I’m only using one light source from the left side – a very soft diffused light. You can see in the sequence below that the first frame shown with the cake on it just has the light from our working light. Then you can see the highlight on the cake stand go to the left side – that’s my light for this shot. This was shot with my canon 5D mark ii with the canon 100mm macro lens.
After Amy and I have figured out the set and the props, we’re ready to place the cake into our set. Alise has been making the meringue while we do all that. I’m also doing minor tweaks and adjustments in Lightroom as I’m shooting so that when we’re done there’s very little for me to have to correct after the shoot.
Disclaimer: Ok seriously, Alise made this look sooo easy but let’s be honest here – if I were trying to put this meringue onto this cake it would be one disastrous mess!
And then the cake is brought to set. We will shoot more shots and possibly rotate the cake a little bit, make some final adjustments and then shoot the hero shot. The hero shot is the final shot.
Now, once we know we have our final image(s) and I confirm that I have all the files backed up safely to another drive (absolutely imperative that you back up as you shoot or immediately after) then we’ll experiment with the food and maybe try something else. In this case we thought it would be fun to turn this into a coconut meringue cake. So we tried several shots where I tried to get the coconut falling in action over the cake.
Here is a video of the entire shoot from start to finish frame by frame.