Food

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24
M
A
R
2011
4:01 am

Sweet Snowy Marshmallows

Copyrighted Photograph http://www.timnormanphoto.com/

No it wasn't snowing inside my house when I made this photograph, but the cleanup was sweet.

When I decided to take pictures of some marshmallows I didn't know what to do with them at first. Initially I just took a photo of them in their bag which was how they were presented to me. And then I placed them on the white paper background. You can see some more photos in this gallery.

To me when I think of marshmallows I think of hot chocolate which makes me think of cold weather because that is pretty much the only time of year I ever drink hot chocolate. Following that I decided to go with a blue tone to the image. I would have loved to have had a big huge cup of hot cocoa to dunk them in but as they are about 2 inches by 2 inches square I didn't have a cup big enough. But I might expand on that idea at a later date.

Progressing along I knew I ]wanted the marshmallows to stand out. After all they are the star of the show here. My first thought was to place a snoot on a flash with a yellow gel on it, but inspiration struck me as I was playing around just taking a photo of the marshmallows themselves. In order to focus the camera in the low light of my living room studio I was using a small mag light to help out.

So I turned off the rest of the lights, set the camera color temperature to tungsten to turn the white light from a softbox tipped at a 45 degree angle on the left of the photo, and set my camera to expose for a second. For each exposure I moved the flashlight around a bit to see how it would change the shadows and how the marshmallows would handle the light. On some photos I used a white bounce card on the right side to push the softbox light back in to fill in shadows.

I liked how the effect was giving the marshmallows a spotlight effect and I was also able to paint some light on both sides so it didn't have really harsh shadows.

To add a bit more to the cold weather theme, I pulled out some confection sugar I had in the cupboards of my kitchen from some Christmas cookies I made for the family. I also pulled out some wax paper to help with cleanup and a small sifter. After a little practice and several dozen photo failures with the marshmallows not wanting to stay stacked, I got the image you see here.

I've thought about adding a few fake snow flakes to the image to sell the effect some more, but as it stands I like it. I did clean up some of the edges of the wax paper in the background to make it appear more seamless and did a few other small touch-ups.

  • F-stop: f/8
  • Exposure: 1 second
  • Focal Length 35mm (16-35mm lens)
  • ISO: 200
  • Canon 7D

What food have you played with lately?

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17
M
A
R
2011
6:00 am

Cupcake Surprise

Copyrighted Photograph http://www.timnormanphoto.com/

While playing with the delicious mini cupcakes from Cupcake Yum.Yum (and yes that is bacon in icing), I had an accidental miss fire of the main light and saw something interesting I didn't expect. 

The cupcake wrappers really reflected the blue light from the flash below more than I thought possible. So I veered off from the normal shot I was trying to get to chase one a little off the beaten path. The background is still lit by a flash with a red gel on it, but it is now over exposed which pushed the red into a yellow/orange mixture. The overhead softbox is off and the blue glow from below is a flash with a blue gel on it. 

The gels are from a Rosco sample pack I bought years ago. They are the perfect size to fit over the head of a flash except for a hole in it for it to be attached to a key ring. Sometimes if you don't position the gel right it can let some of the white light come through. Often this doesn't do much beyond diluting the color you are looking to achieve, but here I believe the white light is partially causing the yellow color of the background.

I wouldn't say this photograph presents the cupcakes in a tasty way, but it is eye catching and sometimes that is the point of a photograph. One of the things I normally do when building a photograph like this is take a photograph with each light individually so I can see what each specific flash is doing and then build from there. I shoot these photos that way. I put the flashes where I thought I wanted them and then at the end added the blue gel under the cupcakes just because I thought it might add a nice element and glow to the base. 

You can see more photographs in the gallery.

16
M
A
R
2011
6:00 am

Cupcake Yum.Yum

Copyrighted Photograph http://www.timnormanphoto.com/

First I have to say these were absolutely delicious. I took some photos of the owner of Cupcake Yum.Yum and as a thank you gift she gave me some tasty treats. I decided to play with my food before eating them. If you follow the link you'll see some of the photos I took.

In a way I used the cupcakes as a way to play. Experimenting and trying (and failing) is a great deal of what is necessary to better understand how light works and how objects react. Sometimes they do things you'd never expect. And you'll see the results of that if you take a look at the gallery.

For those interested in the setup, I had the cupcakes sittings on a piece of Plexiglas which was on top of a piece of paper. The paper was a roll of 1 yard wide by 25 yards long white paper at Staples meant for making banner, but was fairly cheap compared to some of the "photo" background paper rolls I've seen. The paper was sitting on some books to allow for room to light the objects from below.

I used three flashes for the cupcake photographs. One was in a softbox above the cupcakes with a grid on it to control the spread of light so it wouldn't contaminate the background too much. Another flash was set behind the white background with a red filter on it. I pointed that one at the white wall behind the paper to help diffuse it a little. And a third flash had a blue filter on it and was placed underneath the white paper in front of the cupcakes to light them from below. At one point I added a piece of white cardboard below the white paper to keep the blue light from spilling onto the wall and being mixed with the red light. 

Tomorrow I'll talk about one of the things that surprised me about the photo shoot.

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