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Assignment 4

 Final image, pies shot at 3/4s

Final image, pies shot at 3/4s

Welcome to your fourth and final assignment!

This week we are going to work on shooting at that inbetween angle, 30-45 degrees or the 3/4s shot.

We are also going to cover back lighting in this assignment, so a two for one! The first three assignments we’ve focused on side light. The above shot was taken with back light, the subject is still set up next to the window but instead of setting up the camera adjacent to the window, the camera is facing the window.

See the set up images below to clarify a back light set up

 It was very sunny when I was shooting this and I have the large oval diffuser softening the light. The camera is set up opposite the window and is at the 3/4s angle.

It was very sunny when I was shooting this and I have the large oval diffuser softening the light. The camera is set up opposite the window and is at the 3/4s angle.

 The second diffuser (actually a white canvas - handy because the frame means it can stand by itself) is to create a shadow at the top of the image. I did a before and after below so you can see what a difference it makes.

The second diffuser (actually a white canvas - handy because the frame means it can stand by itself) is to create a shadow at the top of the image. I did a before and after below so you can see what a difference it makes.

 Another angle just to show the set up.

Another angle just to show the set up.

Back Light

Certain elements work beautifully with the light behind, it really brings out the texture and highlights all the dips, shallows and peaks in the pastry. Things that have a shine, like icing, chocolate or drizzly, syrupy liquids look more voluptuous and curvaceous. Drinks in glass, will create beautiful reflections on the deck, and you get beautiful highlights on thick sauces, like in a curry.

Depending on the light in your space you may have to manually overexpose your camera to get your subject or hero correctly exposed. This in turn will mean the top of the image will be very bright, which is why I used the canvas to create a shadow and tone down that bright spot.

See the before and after below.

 Without the canvas screen

Without the canvas screen

 With the canvas screen, notice how much more detail is now back in the top of the image.

With the canvas screen, notice how much more detail is now back in the top of the image.

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

Story: Pies, fresh from the oven

Light: Natural Back Light

Camera Set Up: 3/4s shot. Portrait Canon 5D Mark III, 24-70 Lens, Tripod, settings Aperture F/3.2 Shutter Speed 1/160 ISO 400

Styling Choice: Diagonal, keeping the hero in the foreground, all other elements behind

Props: Baking sheet and parchment, knife, stack of plates and jug for the cream. Similar tones but textural, to compliment the texture of the pastry.

 1. The light and set up are in place, so I just need to style and finish the image. I have a jug of cream I want to add to the image but notice that if I put it in the bottom right corner, it looks huge compared to the pie and as the focus is on the pie, the jug is out of focus. So it’s this big out of focus blob. Working at this angle anything nearest to the camera is going to appear huge and distracting.

1. The light and set up are in place, so I just need to style and finish the image. I have a jug of cream I want to add to the image but notice that if I put it in the bottom right corner, it looks huge compared to the pie and as the focus is on the pie, the jug is out of focus. So it’s this big out of focus blob. Working at this angle anything nearest to the camera is going to appear huge and distracting.

 2. Instead I added the knife, kept the handle angled away from the camera so it flows away and out of the image. Had the knife been the other way, I would have had the same problem as the jug.

2. Instead I added the knife, kept the handle angled away from the camera so it flows away and out of the image. Had the knife been the other way, I would have had the same problem as the jug.

 3. I added my second pie. Notice I didn’t just put it directly on the deck. I introduced a stack of plates and layered it with the pie. This is a similar technique to the head on shot where you have all your elements ending at different heights. It creates interest and depth.

3. I added my second pie. Notice I didn’t just put it directly on the deck. I introduced a stack of plates and layered it with the pie. This is a similar technique to the head on shot where you have all your elements ending at different heights. It creates interest and depth.

 4. I brought in the jug, which is an addition to the scene and not a scene stealer. However, I decided I didn’t like that jug and changed it for…

4. I brought in the jug, which is an addition to the scene and not a scene stealer. However, I decided I didn’t like that jug and changed it for…

 5. … this one. I like the simplicity of it’s shape much better for this scene.

5. … this one. I like the simplicity of it’s shape much better for this scene.

 6. Controlled Mess. I dealt with that big piece of pastry that was sitting by the knife and added a little crumb mess to the right hand corner.

6. Controlled Mess. I dealt with that big piece of pastry that was sitting by the knife and added a little crumb mess to the right hand corner.

 7. Last step, I just turned the fruit peeking through the gaps of the pastry so that the juice glistens. This is my final shot!

7. Last step, I just turned the fruit peeking through the gaps of the pastry so that the juice glistens. This is my final shot!

TOP TIP - Shooting this way can make elements look like they are tilted or falling out of the image, no matter how you angle the camera they don’t look right. Just fold up some paper or use blue tac to prop up the corner that doesn’t look right in camera. It may look completely wonky in real life but will be lovely and straight in your image!

Just for reference, I took a shot of this set up overhead, I just wanted to show you how different the two angles of the same scene in the same light look and how the 3/4 angle and the back light on this subject is just so effective. I don’t mind the overhead shot at all but the 3/4 shot just elevates the pie completely.

pie overhead.jpg

Now it’s your turn!

Assignment Four

Story: Food that looks fab at 3/4s {insert your story here}

Light: Natural Light. You can try back light or stick to side light if you want

Camera Set Up: Angled 30-45 degrees (3/4s) Portrait. Use a tripod if you have one

Styling Tip: Diagonal, placing larger props or elements behind the hero

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? A table setting, a coffee shop scene, dinner for two, pies fresh out of the oven.

  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. You can choose to try back lighting your scene if your subject is appropriate or stick to side light if you want to.

  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 used a tripod for these shots.

  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. And if you are using back light have something to create a soft shadow in the top of the image.

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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