Cecconis_08.JPG

Welcome to your first assignment!

Because there is a lot to take in this first week, we are going to keep it fairly simple and concentrate on styling with one ingredient. This isn’t a cookery course so concentrate on something you can buy, that will sit whilst you play around and practise with it. I suggest small fruit like apricots, plums, or an array of heritage tomatoes, exotic mushrooms, fresh picked herbs, if you use something like tomatoes or apricots, experiment with having some cut open as well as the whole fruit.

Keep styling simple but consult the colour wheel if you need colour inspiration and decide if you are having a light, bright scene or warm, moody scene and choose your props accordingly. If you have a choice of backgrounds to work with, go for something with texture, crumpled linen, worn wood, rough tiles, slate or stone. This will give instant depth to the image. Avoid anything laminated or shiny or flat.

Wash any fruit beforehand and at the finally stages of the image creation, you could try adding droplets of water for another texture, it might also catch the light and add yet another layer to the image.

Assignment One

Story: One raw ingredient

Light: Natural side light

Camera Set Up: Overhead, Portrait - use a tripod if you have one

Styling Tip: Fill the frame or J / U shapes

Colour Tip: Use the Colour Wheel if you are stuck with what colour will compliment your ingredient

Props: Textured background, tile, wooden surface, crumpled linen. Paring knife, chopping knife. Sifted flour, cracked black pepper, sea salt, lemon zest (other appropriate ingredients that will compliment your chosen Hero Raw Ingredient)

Setting Up

Before you even start with the food, go through these set up steps.

  1. Turn off any artificial lights!

  2. Place your background (be that table, tile, wooden surface, linen table cloth) adjacent to your side light. Remember we are using natural side light in this assignment, this means the light will come in from either the left or the right and fall off causing shadows on the opposite side of the light.

  3. Set up your camera, if you are using a tripod (which if you can it will make this process so much easier and quicker.) We are taking a portrait image.

  4. Put something on your background to take a test image so you get your settings right before you start – you may of course need to adjust this once you set the scene but if it’s almost correct before you start it’s just quicker. This is particularly important when working with food that won’t sit for very long.

  5. Have a reflector ready (be that a pro one or tin foil!) so you can experiment with bouncing light back in if you feel you need to.

I’m now going to walk you through how I created this image, following the brief above.

 The final image

The final image

Story: The beauty of pappardelle

Light: Natural side light

Camera Set Up: Overhead, Portrait. Canon 5D Mark III, 24-70 Lens, a tripod, settings Aperture F/8 Shutter Speed 1/25 ISO 200

Styling Choice: Filling the frame, with irregular gaps and negative space

Colour Wheel: Complimentary colours, with the blue shifted to a grey blue

Props: Textured tile, plain flour, black pepper, sea salt, lemon zest

My Set Up:

_MG_2040-2.jpg

the camera on a tripod set up alongside the window. Lots of lovely side light coming in but I’m using the curtains to block the additional light from the side window panels.

All my ingredients are ready to use on the side.

Yes I use my handbag as a counter weight to stop the tripod toppling over! You can invest in weights or a sandbag but I find this way works for me!

 1. I added flour, sea salt, pepper and zest to the background. Then I added three bundles of pasta. The piece below, fell off in transit and I quite liked where it fell, so for now I’m leaving it in.

1. I added flour, sea salt, pepper and zest to the background. Then I added three bundles of pasta. The piece below, fell off in transit and I quite liked where it fell, so for now I’m leaving it in.

 2. Added more flour, salt, pepper and zest

2. Added more flour, salt, pepper and zest

 3. Cropped in more to fill the frame. Done in camera.

3. Cropped in more to fill the frame. Done in camera.

 4. Added smaller bundles to fill the bottom right corner and another bundle top left. I’m making sure that my gaps between elements are irregular and the angles of each bundle is slightly different so nothing is lining up neatly. This is to make it look more natural and effortless.

4. Added smaller bundles to fill the bottom right corner and another bundle top left. I’m making sure that my gaps between elements are irregular and the angles of each bundle is slightly different so nothing is lining up neatly. This is to make it look more natural and effortless.

 5. Added further bundles around the edges until it felt balanced, then the piece top left I shortened so it was all in frame instead of spilling out of frame, it made it feel more natural. I also separated the long right bundle so there as a slight gap again this felt more natural.

5. Added further bundles around the edges until it felt balanced, then the piece top left I shortened so it was all in frame instead of spilling out of frame, it made it feel more natural. I also separated the long right bundle so there as a slight gap again this felt more natural.

 6. Final sprinkle of flour, salt, pepper and zest. I’m happy with this as my final image.   Tips:   I started with a textured background. And then I layered the image with more texture, the flour, salt and pepper both before I added the pasta and after. Textures and layering add depth and make an image look more natural and real.  Always, always pick the best looking food. Be really mindful that you have selected the prettiest cherry or the most perfect basil leaf. This doesn’t mean that it has to be EU regulations correct, wonky carrots, and nobbly potatoes still with mud are beautiful in my opinion but no one wants to see bad bits or dead leaves. Just sometimes we are so busy trying to get everything else correct we forget about the subject so just keep this in mind!   Have another go!   As I had the set up all ready, I decided to do another shot with a different pasta shape and instead of filling the frame used the J shape to make this image.   Story : The beauty of Conchiglie   Light : Natural side light   Camera Set Up : Overhead, Portrait. Canon 5D Mark III, 24-70 Lens, a tripod, settings Aperture F/8 Shutter Speed 1/25 ISO 200   Styling Choice:  J shape   Colour Wheel:  Complimentary colours, with the blue shifted to a grey blue   Props : Textured tile, plain flour, black pepper, sea salt, lemon zest

6. Final sprinkle of flour, salt, pepper and zest. I’m happy with this as my final image.

Tips:

I started with a textured background. And then I layered the image with more texture, the flour, salt and pepper both before I added the pasta and after. Textures and layering add depth and make an image look more natural and real.

Always, always pick the best looking food. Be really mindful that you have selected the prettiest cherry or the most perfect basil leaf. This doesn’t mean that it has to be EU regulations correct, wonky carrots, and nobbly potatoes still with mud are beautiful in my opinion but no one wants to see bad bits or dead leaves. Just sometimes we are so busy trying to get everything else correct we forget about the subject so just keep this in mind!

Have another go!

As I had the set up all ready, I decided to do another shot with a different pasta shape and instead of filling the frame used the J shape to make this image.

Story: The beauty of Conchiglie

Light: Natural side light

Camera Set Up: Overhead, Portrait. Canon 5D Mark III, 24-70 Lens, a tripod, settings Aperture F/8 Shutter Speed 1/25 ISO 200

Styling Choice: J shape

Colour Wheel: Complimentary colours, with the blue shifted to a grey blue

Props: Textured tile, plain flour, black pepper, sea salt, lemon zest

 The end result.

The end result.

 1. Starting point with the idea being I will fill the bottom of the frame and have two break away shells at the top.

1. Starting point with the idea being I will fill the bottom of the frame and have two break away shells at the top.

 2. Adding more shells, again thinking about the gaps in between and ensuring each shell is at a slightly different angle.

2. Adding more shells, again thinking about the gaps in between and ensuring each shell is at a slightly different angle.

 3. Moved the two break away shells up and over more to the left

3. Moved the two break away shells up and over more to the left

 4. filled in the gap I made, then faffing with shell angles!

4. filled in the gap I made, then faffing with shell angles!

 5. I removed a shell from the left hand side as it felt too cramped.

5. I removed a shell from the left hand side as it felt too cramped.

 6. A little more angle faffing and a final sprinkle of flour, salt, pepper and zest.

6. A little more angle faffing and a final sprinkle of flour, salt, pepper and zest.

Now over to you! Do share your final images or process in the FB group or save it for your final four critique

BACK TO THE COURSE