Raspberries. For this shot, I looked at quite a few raspberry photos on the internet to get ideas and see how I might want to capture this little red summer fruit that is being depleted from produce sections in New Jersey. I wish there were fresh red raspberries on the vine to shoot at a local berry patch, but nothing around my neck of the woods could be found.
The only raspberries locally I could find were at the local supermarket. No berry patches here, So you make do with what you’ve got right? I shopped for them the night before, so I put them in a Tupperware box specifically for fruits and vegetables. But, by that time, they had ripened even more. There were a few salvageable raspberries that I could use for a small closeup shot, so my tool of choice for food styling was a chopstick. This is how I delicately placed them on the plate:
Because my subject was a little overripe fruit with some red liquid leakage, a napkin gently dabbing the spots away (or even a q-tip), does the trick. Always clean your plate so the subject’s eye is drawn in to the subject. With the camera, you have the ability to make some minor adjustments that have a big impact.
I used my snack table base that has become my staple , which is much like a saw horse, only very portable and lightweight. This snack table has a tray that sits on top that can also be used as a table, but I just use the legs that open up to create a stable platform for my foam core.
The foam core I use has become a staple for my in-home “studio” food photography.. You can’t have food photos that make people want to sink their teeth in without good lighting.
When I shot this, it was a cloudy day. The reflector card worked nicely to bounce back diffused light so it gave it a softer cast, not hard studio lighting. Because I like to shoot in natural lighting as much as I can, it is great for filling in some shadows (when I don’t want them – they can be a great tool for showing depth, contrast and feeling). For this shot I used the foam core piece that I cut and wrapped using the soft side of aluminum foil on the outside, taped with packing tape.
And the V clamps that I use can be bought from home depot for a couple of bucks. They make taking those food shots a that you want to take a possibility when everyone else can’t wait to dig in! They are an extra set of hands that won’t melt or spoil, and when you’re done, they won’t even take a bite of your subject!
I plated the raspberries by hand delicately. I chose the only one in the box with a green stem. I looked to the middle of the box for the plumpest fruits that were surrounded by other raspberries and were able to retain their moisture. I did use a spray bottle to finely mist the raspberries to retain their moisture. I didn’t know how long the shot would take. So in this case I didn’t need tweezers to place delicate items, but I did use a spray bottle to mist.
Using a cutting board I found worked well with some interesting knots, that can change depending on what angle you shoot at and how the board is placed. There is always nice contrast, which varied depending on what kind of reflector you use (white or black foam core give it a different effect).
My iPhone always sets up the shot for me from a variety of angles, so I could see where I would want my vantage point, and also to see what the best placement for my raspberries would be. I have more control with my DSLR, but in a pinch, if I want a really simple shot, my first camera that I grab is my iPhone – especially to set up my composition. A lot of instagram photos of mine are iPhone, because I couldn’t wait to share them and maybe get some feedback before I did my final shot.
This time I didn’t know what my end result would be until I kept shooting. It’s nice to use my weekends (I work a full time during the week and by the time I get home, the natural daylight has pretty much become a memory).
My everyday lens is not my ideal lens to shoot with for food photography (my next investment is a 50mm F1.8), but on a budget, it does a pretty good job, especially of picking up more details than a smartphone camera ever could.
I shot this in RAW, and imported into Lightroom. With very minor adjustments, including tinkering with the highlights, shadows, whites and blacks and some cropping, I was happy with just one shot. Then I exported it to my Blog Food folder after keywording, all ready for consumption.
As this blog continues to evolve, I’m searching for the content that is easy for me to share and that I’m passionate about (which makes it easy, right?). The last three blog posts this week have been sharing food photos of me showing how to create something to eat. Roasted brussel sprouts were on the menu, including sauteed gray squash with red peppers and onions. My last food photo was the blueberry shot, which I had a lot of fun with, and moved into sharing how I actually take the food photos I do.
First and foremost, I am a marketer, and took up photography to help me use visuals to help get people interested in wanting to take an action, whether it’s filling seats at a restaurant, buying a product that just needs a strong visual. When you have a limited budget, you just don’t have the resources to always get a great shot that people want to sink their teeth into.
Especially when I was working at a restaurant without any food photos…by the time I was finished a few months later, my work resulted in the restaurant receiving a National Restaurant Association Award, Media Coverage and a Zagat review (not to mention over a thousand facebook fans, regular events and specials). Marketing was the foundation, but the photos I took and shared through social media and the newly redesigned website really drove it home. You can see my work at Mesob Ethiopian Restaurant in Montclair, NJ here.
I am passionate about taking food photos and I love to educate and show people how they can do something. So I turn my attention on this blog to helping the average person who might be a foodie, or a food blogger, get better at taking those food shots. With a little light manipulation and thought about composition, you can help get people to want to sink their teeth into your photos. Let’s face it, I am not a cook, nor do I enjoy the parts and pieces of cooking a recipe and then photographing it as much as I do helping to educate you on not how to make a winning recipe yourself, but how to share the image of it with others.
When I created Digifood, I didn’t know what it would evolve into. I just knew I was addicted to taking photos of my food. So now that I have picked up a DSLR for the first time almost a year ago, I use my camera to tell a story at work where I am a Marketing Manager. I take photos of sometimes very large trade show displays, and try to capture the employees as I much as I can and they are willing to let me share, and events. I am the eyes and ears using social media, the newly redesigned website, blog, e-mail marketing. There is a ton of stuff I do with as a Marketing Manager that uses photographs, and I am very lucky to have the chance to capture it all with a really great tool and tell a story that would make their people want to “sink their teeth in.” After this week’s vacation that I took to just catch up with my photography, blog, website and my own brand (to sort it all out), I look forward to sharing this blog with you to tell the “story” of how I do my work as a marketer AND photographer. Let me know what more you would like to see here – tweet me at @vickiesicnj, or post a comment right here.
So let’s dig in together, and let me know what you’d like to see here, I’m interested to know, and I might use it as an upcoming feature post! Thanks for reading.