Wednesday 22 July 2020

Still life and food photography

I have often looked at still life or food photography and admired the lighting/atmosphere, or how the image invites the viewer in, or how they can provoke an emotive reaction ( "Oooh I want to eat that"). I have dabbled in some feeble attempts by trying to produce images of food I have at home and flowers from my garden, or still life objects that I felt showed a little of my personality, but they all lack something to me - they lack feeling - the emotional connection.

I decided in July to produce more images in both genres but even after playing around for hours this month I have little that really "works" for me, nothing that I am proud of. So back to the drawing board. I started by gathering collections of images in both genres and looking at what I like about them. I attempted reproducing some but adding my own touches - this still did nothing for me.  Next I reached out to other photographers for advice and was offered a few suggestions of tutorials. I have already watched about 5 tutorials on food photography in the last month, mostly on lighting and partly on food styling tips, I learned a little and was able to improve on some lighting set ups, but the more I do the more I realise I have to learn. From simple things such as what to do about reflections in cutlery and glass objects to really planning how I want to draw the viewer in.

So I have started watching more tutorials, I started with some from Gavin Hoey who demonstrated some excellent lighting techniques, following by   looking at his wife Sams website which involves a tonne of food photography.

 After this I enjoyed several youtube tutorials by "The Bite shot", on lighting, composition and also making backdrops. I had started creating backdrops a month or so back ready for this project after watching another tutorial,  but The Bite shot has some great tips for producing wonderful textured backgrounds/surfaces. So I feel like I am getting somewhere with having a small range of backdrops to use and a few props that I created out of air dry clay and polymer clay ( I am quite sure more will be made). I am trying to keep this low budget and use what I have, so backdrops and props have mostly been created from products that I or my partner have had, plus I have managed to get some  donations of paints to use on my backdrops. My backdrops are not waterproof or wipeable though, so I need to apply layers of matte transparent paint rather than risk ruining them with wet foods or spillages. I will try to get this done in the next few weeks - its a necessary cost.

What I feel like I have learned most from up to now is "The Bite shot"s composition tutorials which I now need to put into practice. I will look for other tutorials on composition in these genres and my next blog will hopefully contain images which are better composed.

All the images in this blog were taken in the last month or so, lets see if I can improve on these :) 

Many of these were kind of about telling a story such as above I wanted to depict collecting plants to use for healing and below I was gathering items to do with nature, magic, healing in a different way. I still feel that they do not provoke a reaction even though the elements are there - I just have not got my story telling right yet :) 

With the image below I feel that I managed to find "balance" between the items, so in some way it works but it still does not invite me in.

Below is another sort of still life set that I built up, just trying something different.

From there I went on to create the next two images, lead more by the frogs movements that anything :) 

So you can see where I'm at now, lets see where this little creative journey takes me. Below is the only still life that I feel has worked for me in the last month. 

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