Jun 10, 2010

Reflection Control

Filed under: Photography,shooting tips — Tags: , , — Kay @ 2:22 pm


There’s already been so much said and written about exposure and shutter speed that I honestly don’t feel the need to add anything to what’s already online about that particular subject. Something about flogging a dead horse. No point in rehashing all that. Besides, if you’re reading this you’re probably familiar with the concept already.

What I do want to point out to you is reflection control. Because really, that is what food photography is all about. If you learn how to control or use the reflections to your benefit, you’ll be able to create a different feel to your food photography with each and every dish you shoot.

My step-by-step shots are exclusively shot with light coming in from the North-facing window in my kitchen. It gives me the best, diffuse and workable light and the least amount of reflection.

For my intro and end shot I don’t always want diffuse light, I need more options. So I set up a table on the south side of the house. This light is much more harsh and direct than the northern light in my kitchen, so I’ll often use a reflector on the north side to bounce the light back and fill in the shadows. I mainly shoot with the light coming in at 8 o clock (while standing on the east side facing west) unless I specifically want a reflection.  So sometimes you want to avoid reflections, and sometimes you want to work with  them. With sauces, soups or stews you need a little reflection or they become lifeless.

But there’s a catch to what amount of reflection is acceptable and what isn’t. There are rules to follow and one of those is to look for the family of angles. That is the spot where all the angles come together and produce a direct reflection. That is the spot to avoid when shooting food or the spot to decide where to place extra lights. It will be different in every situation—in your home it will be different from mine—but I can show you how I work with it.

I shot this recipe right next to the south-facing window. Because it was a stew/sauce like recipe I wanted some reflection, but I shot the first one virtually without reflection. I had to look for the family of angles first and then shoot from the opposite direction.angle0

Now if I would have shot straight from the family of angles, the reflection would have been so bad there would have been no telling what the dish was. So I had to dose the reflection by choosing a spot right next to the family of angles. That gives you a moderate amount of reflection that makes the food come to life. You can still tell what it is, but now you put the emphasis on the sauce-like consistency.

Same goes for this curry, keeping the reflection to a bare minimum.

And using the full reflection to my advantage.

See how easy it is to play with the reflections and use the light in any way you can to create a different feel to your dish?

Sep 8, 2009

Photoshop: watermark

  I admit to having mixed feelings about this tutorial. If only because we shouldn’t be forced to watermark our photos for fear of them being stolen. I think I found an appropriate intro photo, though!  And *poof* gone are the days of willingly posing for mom. I have to bribe the kid these days. But all kidding aside, I guess I was pretty naive when I set my first steps into the…