Isn’t he cute? My little fig tree? Think it was shot outside? See the lens flare? Gotcha! I shot this in the studio actually.
OK, so here’s what happened. I pulled this whole shoot together in a few hours. It all started Saturday. Now this is going to sound like I’m rambling here, but trust me, it will all make sense.
My good friend and food blooger, Erika Kerekes of In Erika’s Kitchen, had a super fun event that was all about fresh California figs and sponsored by California Figs. I left that event with all of these:
Yeah, yeah, some are missing. I ate them. Apparently the amount of figs I ate at the event were not enough.
This was a sponsored event for the food bloggers that was there so they got to take figs home and make recipes and do posts about that. I just took pretty pictures of them 🙂
Here are just a few of the dishes we got to sample – the food was made by Judy Lyness of Two Broads Abroad.
OK, so now I have all these figs. I don’t do recipe development like all my food blogger and chef friends do, so I figured I would do a still life of figs and work on another future post with that.
Every food photographer should do a fig still life I think. It’s an ode to the Flemish master painters and their food still lifes from the 1600’s. Whoa, there’s that art degree again. I guess it’s good for something.
I needed some fresh herbs for this so I asked Erika what type of fresh herbs would be appropriate to show with figs. She suggested a few things and mint was one of them and I always like garnishing with fresh mint (by the way, that’s one of my tips in my food photography ebook).
So, off I go to the amazing garden center, a block away from my studio to get fresh herbs. Now, here’s where things got almost out of hand, well, maybe they did, it depends on who you ask probably.
I bought my mint and was getting in the car and I thought to myself, “hey, since figs are in season right now, I wonder if they have any fig trees here?” It’s a huge garden center with all kinds of trees and plants. I just wanted to see how figs grow. So I went back, and sure enough they did!
It was love at first sight. He was so cute! And he had little, beautiful figs all over him! He was the only one like that.
Now I’m loading him into the car, literally laughing out loud, wondering what the hell am I going to do with him after this impromptu photo shoot that I still haven’t quiet figured out yet. Ohhh, did I mention that it was now 5:00 at night?
I have to mention something here. My boyfriend and I have a word for this type of distraction. We look aside and yell, “Squirrel!”. Ever see the movie Up? Please play the following video before proceeding….
Now, do you understand? An innocent trip to the garden centered squirreled into my buying a fig tree to photograph it. For cryin’ out loud!
I really wanted to photograph this tree to show how beautiful these little figs are. I love seeing how our food grows. I’m so in awe of nature and the fabulous things we can eat from it.
I wanted this tree to look like it was still outside and it was a bright sunny day. The key to shooting something like this is A. The lighting and B. The background.
The Perfect Tree + Background + Natural Looking Light =
Here is my set for the tree. Super simple.
For the lighting I am emulating soft natural light – NOT direct sunlight. Direct sun can be very harsh. See how extreme my editing can get when shooting in direct sun with the post from a farm tour I did.
I shot this with my Canon 5D Mark II with a Canon 100mm macro lens.
Since I am using a ton of light bouncing around I have to block the background from getting too much light – that is what that black card is doing to the left.
The background is from a series I did of blurry backgrounds for a client. The concept was to put one of these backgrounds behind a drink. I printed this background to be 24″ x 36″, which was just barely big enough to cover the amount of background I needed.
Now for the added touch of the lens flare to give it more realism. I used Photoshop to add a layer onto the image for the lens flare. In the image below you can see the flare layer that I started with and composited onto the fig tree image on the right.
And there you have it! The sun never sets in my studio. In fact, I was working on this until 1:00 in the morning.
Also, you never know where your next inspiration will come from for a photo shoot. If you see something that triggers something in you – do a shoot with it!
In case you’re concerned, I ended up giving this little tree to a good friend/chef/food stylist of mine who is planting it in her backyard so I’ll be able to visit and see him grow.
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