Photo Recipe: Summer salad, step by step (food photography) 
Monday, September 13, 2010, 12:35 AM - Photo recipes
In July Lara Ferroni challenged us to do a photo remake of Matt Armendariz's Ultimate Summer Salad. The key points are:
*non-lettuce salade
*landscape composition
*strong rear light

Here is how I created my shot, step by step:

First, set up a placeholder within the plate:


As setting up the shot is usually not done in a snap, using a placeholder allows me to not having to rush while the food is starting to die. When you shoot real food, it's amazing how fast it is decaying.
Light within this set-up is coming from two rear windows, one directly behind the plate and one on the rear-left (as you can guess from the shadows casted by the cubes).

Add a reflector in front of the plate in order to reduce shadows:


The "reflector" is actually a simple regular white paper sheet.

Another reflector on the front right:


And yet another one on the front left:


Notice how significant is the change provided by three simple paper sheets acting as reflectors, compared to the first shot.

Set up the props:


Soften the rear light (ie extend a bit the window's curtain), and adjust exposure:


I decided to soften a bit more the rear light and to remove some of the distracting higlights:


I completely filled the glass which is on the right, and added an other glass on the rear left (outside of the frame) which would cast a slight shadow over the fork, slightly reducing the shiny highlight.

Set up the food within the plate:





Special care should be took when positioning the leaves, in order to have some of them pointing upward with the light going through them, as this really improves the shot.

The shot looks a bit washed up as it is slightly overexposed (I prefer exposing to the right in order to reduce noise in the shadows)

After some slight adjustments done within the raw converter, here is the result:


And while everything is set up, don't forgot to shoot a few alternate versions:


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