Saturday, December 18, 2010

A Little Food For Thought

It is entirely true to say that I do not post enough and I do not do enough shooting. If I have time to lounge around on a Saturday... I have time to whip out my camera gear and shoot something. It should not matter the subject, the location, or the weather. If there is light, there are photographs to be made.

So it is with great joy that this morning, I converted my bedroom into an impromptu cramped food photography studio. No.. I'm not going to show images of my bedroom turned studio. But I will show the fruits of the labors employed...

A delicious trio of baked goods from my friend and baker, Lisa.
What you see here is a plate of cookies that my friend Lisa, the self-titled "Clumsy Ninja Baker", had baked and mailed to me! She is just the best.

The Setup

The plate is  red glass plate that is backed with a silvery foil. I chose it because of the holidays, and because I really like those plates, as does my wife. Unfortunately, as much as I would have LOVED to have an expansive marble counter top, be it in the bedroom or kitchen... it turns out that is a single tile of marble I bought from Home Depot. Absolutely love that tile. $5 apiece for the plate and the tile.

The whole thing is lit up from above by a single hot shoe flash and a 32" shoot through umbrella. Had I a boom, I would have done an overhead, but I just have my light stand, so high up, aiming as straight down as I could. The light stand is to the right of the plate. To the left, I have a couple of white towels hanging from a chair to bring some light back, though I doubt it really needed it.

Delicious Citrus Madelines
Details of the shot:
- Sony A700 + 70-200/2.8
- Minolta 5600HS(D) hotshot flash
- Pocket Wizard PlusII's
- Manfrotto tripod + ballhead
- Westcott 32" shoot through umbrella.

- aperture: f/10
- shutter speed: 1/200
- ISO: 200 (native)
- focal length: 200mm

I took shots from various heights and angles, until I got a shot that I liked. I also consulted my creative director wife, who always spots some way to improve a shot. What can I say? She completes me. :)


I mainly just tried to keep the amount of light reflected from the plate at a minimum to keep distraction low. Not 100% convinced I've shot it the best I could, but I'm more or less happy with the shot. There's always next time.

What got me was how quickly I ran into the outer edges of the depth of field. Though I suppose, with 200mm, it shouldn't be a surprise. I also ran into the minimum focusing distance with the lens much more quickly than I thought I would. That 1.5m minimum focusing distance can really suck sometimes. I thought about putting on the extension tube ring to get me closer, but it would have also further narrowed my depth of field, and I wanted more of the details of the cookies in focus, not less. Perhaps I would have been happier with less? Something else to test out next time.

Post processing was done with Adobe Lightroom 3. It's painless and gives me results quickly. Then it's upload to SmugMug and share the joy that was shared with me.

I need to get out and shoot more. I love this kind of stuff.

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