Although you can come close to imitating natural light, that imitation simply isn't the same. The combination of natural light and a long exposure time adds a quality to images you just can't achieve any other way.
When we designed our studio, we knew we wanted to be able to shoot with natural light. As part of the studio design, we added softening silks and blackout curtains to the windows so we could control the amount of sunlight that comes through to naturally light a set.
We recently shot a new line of holiday candles for Trapp Candles, one of our amazing, long time clients. On this particular project, we were challenged to illustrate how consumers can use Trapp's products in and around their homes. We were also challenged to show retailers how they can best display Trapp's products and achieve greater sales results.
We wanted the light in each shot to look natural like you'd see in your own home or in a retail store window. So we used the softening silks to diffuse the natural sunlight while still highlighting the products and set.
You may look at these behind the scenes images and ask yourself, "Why in the world are the table and chairs on apple boxes?" In order to achieve the right perspective between the table, product, and background, we had to raise the table and chairs. If we hadn't done this, we wouldn't have been able to see enough of the fireplace mantel to frame the shot. Just another trick of the trade!
Apple boxes were used to lift the table and chairs.
So many silverware options for our dining room table!
Adjusting the window silks to control the light on the front of the table.
Putting the finishing touches on the set before we shoot the final image.
After David completed the main shot, he moved in and captured a few detail shots.
Wax and wax melter shot.
Putting the final touches on the display image for retailers. This shot will be
composed with another image we shot to create the final display image.
Stacks and stacks of Trapp product!
Retailer display shot.
Some of the most difficult items to photograph are made of foil or chrome.
Here, David works to get the lighting just right on the foil product box.
Final dining room shot.
Final fireside pumpkin candle shot.
Recently our friend, food stylist, Sarah Hunt invited me up to her home to shoot some editorial shots. She lives in a marvelous old fire station in Omaha Nebraska. We had no preconceived plan, just knew it was going to feature rhubarb. I left KC around 5:00am so I could get to Omaha and shoot in some morning light.
Being primarily a studio photographer I work in very controlled environments with all kinds of lighting and equipment at arms length. The fun thing about editorial food photography is you never know what your environment will be and most of the time you travel light. This time, I traveled with my camera bag, my location computer, a light stand, and a fill card . The other fun part about editorial food photography is if something cool catches your eye you shoot it. You are not trying to shoot images to fit within a packaging window or a specific layout, you are visually telling a story about someone or something.
So where do you begin? Well, the obvious place to start was picking some fresh rhubarb out in the rhubarb patch. Beautiful morning light allowed me to get some great shots under the rhubarb leaves and some nice shots of Sarah holding the picked rhubarb. Neither of us were in any hurry so Sarah suggested she could make some fresh homemade biscuits for breakfast and shoot some shots of them with rhubarb preserves. Who am I to argue! After eating and shooting some biscuits it was time for lunch. Sarah, Mark and I went to a great little burger place called Drinkers. If you're in Omaha, check them out.
After lunch, Sarah made a rhubarb and strawberry pie. While it was in the oven baking she decided to make a hipster drink called the "The Cracker Queen". The ingredients included moonshine, Pabst Blue Ribbon beer, rhubarb juice, and who know what else. Not my cup of tea but visually fun to shoot. As the title of the post indicates, Sarah had never had rhubarb pie before. Hot out of the oven I shot some of its precious juices spilling out of the pan. After shooting some fun shots of the pie we couldn't wait to cut a slice, put some vanilla ice cream on it and head to the back porch for a little slice of heaven.
Sarah, thanks for the invite, great food styling, fun hospitality, and awesome shoot.
Growing up in our home one didn't go to the store to get a can of corn. Come to think back we didn't go to the grocery store to get much. We grew almost all the fruits and veggies.
Most of the year, except winter it seemed like most of what we did around our house centered around the garden. As soon as it got warm enough in the spring we were out tilling the garden to get it ready to plant.
Now that I'm thinking about it the garden was on my Dad's mind even in winter. Late winter was when the seed catalogs arrived and Dad picked all the seeds for the spring and fall plantings. Let's see if I can remember, there were the standards, "Jet Star" tomatoes, "Kandy Kane" was the sweet corn, green and yellow wax beans, etc.
Mom was proud of her Sweetcorn field
Durring canning season, which seemed like all summer, Mom would get up and out to pick whatever needed picking by 5am. Five am was cooler and my sister and I were still sleeping. I think it was a good time for some peace and quiet from us two kids also. By the time she got us up in the morning she had picked whatever was ready, got the water boiling, and made breakfast for us two kids. Our job was to clean our rooms, eat breakfast and then help her can. When it came to canning corn our job was to cut the corn off the cob, put it in freezer bags and take it down stairs and put it in the freezer. I think, the only one of those we did without complaining was eat breakfast. OK, I'm sure my sister and I complained about everything or were kicking each other under the table.
A modern take on corn relish
As I recall, one year during sweet corn season, it was the third or fourth day into canning corn, we broke for lunch. I'm not sure what Mom fixed but more than likely peanut butter sandwiches, maybe some fresh sliced tomatoes, whatever. What happend next is something my Mom told on me, even in her 90's.
Lunch break was over and neither my sister nor Mom could find me. They looked outside, yelled for me in the basement, called the neighbors, etc. Finally, Mom went in my room and heard something coming out of my closet. She opened the closet door and found me yelling as loud as I could into my pillow, "I hate corn, I hate corn, I hate corn". I guess I had had enough! In her loving way she explained that it was a lot of work now but come winter that corn sure would taste goooood. Knowing me I'm sure that didn't help much, I wanted to be out riding my bike or playing baseball with the other kids in the neighborhood.
Mary and I ready to catch the bus for school
Mom was right, come winter that corn tasted really goooood!
Food photography, like fashion and interior design, has numerous visual trends.
We love to shoot with a loose, editorial look. It's one of the visual trends we have been noticing for a while. It’s a wonderful approach for some brands because it projects a more “real” and “approachable” look for their product.