Shooting Food On All White Background

Started Jul 3, 2013 | Discussions thread
24Peter
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Re: Shooting Food On All White Background
In reply to Tino27, Jul 3, 2013

Tino27 wrote:

I've been tasked with the assignment of shooting fair food on a white background ... essentially, foods on a stick (think corndogs, candy apples, chicken skewers, etc.). The wrinkle is that the shooting has to be done on location at the actual fair and not in a studio.

At the moment, I've got two Canon 600EX-RT speedlites and a ST-E3 to control them both off-camera. I thought about simply laying the food in question on top of a white foam core board, lighting from the side via a 16" softbox, another white foam core card on the opposite side to provide fill light, and then shooting from straight above. The problem I predict, however, would be that the entire background wouldn't be white; it would gradually fall off.

I could light the foam core board from both sides to ensure that the board is evenly lit (and thus white), but then of course, I'd lose some of the dimensionality that the shadows would bring.

Any thoughts?

Bit of a challenge to be sure. First though, I'd get clear on what the client is expecting. "Fair food on a white background" doesn't tell much of their expectations. Ask them to provide photos similar to what they want. If they're leaving it totally up to you, then do what you feel works best, but if they're paying you I bet they have some preconceived notions on what they're getting.

I have to say, laying food down on any kind of porous surface (including foam core) is a recipe (pun intended) for disaster. The surface will be soiled by the second item creating all kinds of unattractive additions to your photos. The good news is, sticks stand up. Find a way to shoot these upright.

In terms of lighting, these items are small enough that your concerns about even lighting on the background are not really an issue. You have two powerful flashes and can devote one to the product and one to the background if necessary. Do what you want stylistically on the food item  (e.g., side light) and then light the background separately with the other.

Finally make sure the food is delivered warm/fresh prior to your shots (you may want to bring a water spritzer). Nothing looks worse than cold, dried out chicken skewers - no matter how good your lighting is.

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