This was a fun shoot. As always, preparation is the key to success and I came in with a lighting plan and a good understanding of the subject at hand. Food lighting is usually dictated by either texture or reflection and this this shoot had a bit of both. Since I lit for so many different subjects, I’ll do a breakdown of each shot.
I love the way this stuff looks. When it comes to still life, nothing beats a God given object. The diversity and beauty of the natural world is truly amazing.
For the ginger root, I was thinking “graphic.” I’ve always been a big fan of Maplethorpe’s Flower series and I wanted to do something in the same vein. To isolate the subject, I placed the root on black and got close. Since ginger roots are textural objects, I scraped light across the surface to create dimension. Finally, to even out the contrast, I placed a 60″softlighter on-axis behind the camera.
Mondo created a cool composition and I placed the focus on the cut lemon. To light this, I moved a light panel in very close to the lemons. Typically, dimension is created with a midtone diffuse area and shadows, but in this case, dimensionality was created with strong specular highlights. To control these highlights, I moved the panel in close and turned the cut lemon to reflect the light. To balance the scene, I added a little on-axis fill and used a white card on the opposite side of the main light.
This shot was for the social media sites, so it ended up being a menu shot. The challenge on this one was creating a reflection on top of the tea. To do this, I moved a light panel behind the tea and used the family of angles to light the surface. To add a gradient, I moved the strobe closer to the panel and created a hotspot that reflected on top of the tea. It’s subtle, but I like the effect.
This was a great shoot because it was planned shoot. No matter your level, it’s always smart to go in with a plan. You may not stick with it, but it’s a good place to start.
Camera: Nikon D90
Lens: Tamron 17-50mm 2.8
Strobes: White Lightning x1600
Focal Length: 50mm