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Welcome to your third assignment!

This week we are going to work on shooting head on to create an image like the above.

Firstly think about the subject, you need something that shoots well at this angle. The obvious are pancakes, stacks of biscuits, sandwiches, anything that works well being layered up or has an attractive quality when shot from it’s side. You want the camera to be eye level to your hero and flat to the scene.

You may also have to create a background.

Shooting head on in your normal surroundings may show lots of background clutter that we definitely don’t want shown in the final image. I have rested a wooden board against the edge of the table. This was just a wooden board that I painted (and when I say I painted, I mean Michael painted!) I just made sure it was at a right angle to the table top and put a chair behind it so it didn’t fall backwards. It also has texture which adds depth, interest and another dimension to the image.

This was my assignment and I will walk you through how I ended up with the final shot.

Story: a stack of very appealing waffles!

Light: Natural Light, Side Light coming in from the window, camera set up adjacent to the window

Camera Set Up: Head On. Portrait Canon 5D Mark III, 100mm Lens, hand-held (no tripod) settings Aperture F/4 Shutter Speed 1/125 ISO 400

Styling Choice: Using the rule of thirds. Placing the subject to the left and having detail and interest along the bottom horizon line. Lots of Negative space above.

Colour Wheel: Waffles are yellow/brown so I went again complimentary and picked blue to make the waffles stand out rather than blending. The pomegranate seeds are tonally similar to the blues I had picked and just add a real pop of vibrance.

Props: Teal plate and background, light blue linen, dark platter and table top to break up the brighter colours. Icing sugar as a final texture and lightness.

 1. The initial set up. I had at first, chosen a grey backdrop but when I took my test shot, I felt the subject and platter where blending into each other.

1. The initial set up. I had at first, chosen a grey backdrop but when I took my test shot, I felt the subject and platter where blending into each other.

 2. I switched it to the teal backdrop and loved how it defined the subject better. There is a clear separation of foreground and background. And the backdrop and plate colour mirror each other

2. I switched it to the teal backdrop and loved how it defined the subject better. There is a clear separation of foreground and background. And the backdrop and plate colour mirror each other

 3. Added a fork. Making sure cutlery is facing away from the camera. If the handle was towards the camera, it would be distracting and probably a shiny out of focus blob! Try it and see!

3. Added a fork. Making sure cutlery is facing away from the camera. If the handle was towards the camera, it would be distracting and probably a shiny out of focus blob! Try it and see!

 4. I didn’t like how the bottom of the image ends in #3 I find that line of lightness distracting. So I pulled back the linen so we can see the edge  and this allows us to see the edge of the table underneath. This feels more balanced. In moving things I caused some crumb spillage which I liked so left it in.

4. I didn’t like how the bottom of the image ends in #3 I find that line of lightness distracting. So I pulled back the linen so we can see the edge and this allows us to see the edge of the table underneath. This feels more balanced. In moving things I caused some crumb spillage which I liked so left it in.

 5. I spooned over the pomegranate, naturally some fell and I like that, it makes it feel real and rustic.

5. I spooned over the pomegranate, naturally some fell and I like that, it makes it feel real and rustic.

 6. I realised when I moved things around that I had accidentally made the stack very even, so I messed it up a little! Ah that’s better!

6. I realised when I moved things around that I had accidentally made the stack very even, so I messed it up a little! Ah that’s better!

 7. I’m really happy with everything so it’s just time for the finishing touches and I added some icing sugar!

7. I’m really happy with everything so it’s just time for the finishing touches and I added some icing sugar!

Now it’s your turn, here’s your assignment!

Assignment Three

Story: Food that looks wonderful photographed head on. {insert your story here}

Light: Natural Light.

Camera Set Up: Head On, Portrait. Use a tripod if you have one

Styling Tip: Rule of Thirds, Negative Space

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

Props: Choose your props according to your story, but remember texture and layering and avoid laminate wood or shiny surfaces.

Setting Up

Before you even take a picture, go through these set up steps.

  1. Think about your story, what do you want to convey? Indulgent pancakes dribbling with syrup for pancake day. Rustic biscuits stacked high, delicious sandwiches with their wonderful fillings spilling out.

  2. Gather your props and food that fits your self imposed brief.

  3. Turn off any artificial lights!

  4. Place your background (be that table, tile, wooden surface, linen table cloth) adjacent to your side light. Remember we are using natural side light, 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 subject. Because we are shooting head on this time you have to make a faux background behind your subject to block out room clutter. You could even just hang fabric if you don’t have a wooden board to use, just make sure when you take your image there is nothing distracting behind your subject.

  5. Set up your camera, if you are using a tripod (which if you can it will make this process so much easier and quicker.) I actually hand-held for these shots. But I still did a test before starting to get my settings right so I could concentrate on the styling

  6. 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.

Do share your results in the FB group and/or save it for your final four critique. I really look forward to seeing your images!

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