I like to create images that look like they are outside but were really shot in my studio. This was shot for Dulcinea. We were creating a scene as though these were just picked off the farm. I have a garden center right near my studio so we’ll get these kinds of grasses you see in the background from there often.
I had the help of my good friend and prop stylist Amy Paliwoda. Amy and I also teach food photography classes together. So as I’m looking through the camera Amy will move the grasses around, then we take a shot, have a look at the image on my large monitor, then keep moving things around until it’s just how we want it. Notice how much room we need behind the set in order to give the appearance of the grassy field in the background in the main shot.
The green fabric is used to fill in the areas of white that might be seen through the plants that could be distracting.
I often use a device called a cookaloris in front of the light. The origination of this name is not really known but these “cookies” certainly started being used in the 1920’s when they were just starting to shoot movies. It’s merely a way of breaking up your light in an irregular pattern. Sort of emulating dappled light from a tree.
I am also shooting tethered to the computer as you can see to the right of the light. You have to shoot tethered so you and your client can see what you’re doing right away when you have fresh food on set.
Quite often with shoots like this the client has a hard time deciding if they want to shoot their beautiful product with their stickers on them. So to make sure they are covered, we will do one shot with stickers and one shot without so that down the road they have a choice.
We will often have to do a series of shots that look similar, yet have some differences. So in this shot we moved the grasses around, shifted the light, then changed the color that can be seen through the grasses. I really like it when food bloggers will take a series of photos and mix things up a little bit. It keeps you interested in the images as a story. It takes more time to do this but it’s worth it. Otherwise you just have the same set up with different items on it and, well, that can get boring real fast.
One of the fun things about shooting food products is that you can learn so much about them from your clients. With this shoot I learned that Dulcinea aims to get the green part of the melon right under the rind as thin as they can so that there is more yummy melon for us to eat. Same thing with the watermelons – they aim to get the thin light green part just under the rind as thin as possible. Amazing that things can be controlled to that extent in farming.