Behind the Scenes: Fried Onion Burger

Behind the scenes - onion burger

I’m not a fan of dark and moody food photography.  When I look at food, I want bright and warm imagery that I can sink my teeth into.

It just so happens that I’m not alone.

I have a “love-hate” relationship with Pinterest and Food Gawker, but the images I post up on these sites are telling.  The bright and warm images are far and away the most “pinned” and “gawked.”  In fact, if you take a look at the “I bake he shoots” most popular posts, everything falls within this visual vernacular.

Of course, with this knowledge in hand, I decided to shoot the onion burgers on a black background.  BIG MISTAKE.

After struggling for awhile, I finally took Mondo’s advice to switch out the background for a nice shade of cerulean blue.  With this bright new look, I got the shot I wanted within 10 exposures and called it a day.

Behind the Scenes

The lighting was very simple with a large light panel on the right and a white bounce card on the left.  I used a large 60 inch softlighter directly behind the camera for on-axis fill.

When lighting these scenes, it’s important to start with one light and slowly fill out the shadows.  The key is to create a highlight and shadow that is within the dynamic range of the camera.  Most camera manufactures claim to have 12 stops range, but in reality, you’re usually working with about 5-6 usable stops.

In an unusual move, I shot these with a very shallow depth of field.  I typically shoot food at higher f stops like f/11, but the photo I was working off of had a shallow DOF so I went with it.  It’s nice to do something different, but I prefer a deep field of focus.

Tech Notes

Camera: Nikon D90
Lens: Tamron 17-50mm 2.8
Strobes: White Lightning x1600
Tripod: Manfrotto
ISO: 200
Focal Length: 50mm
Shutter: 160
Aperture: f/4

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