Saturday, January 5, 2013

Let your imagination go ...

... before you do start photographing food. Maybe the best best advice I could give when it comes to photographing food. Food photos are more than to display the food as acurate as you can. A good food photo will stimulate the imagination of the viewer. The viewer should almost taste the food, should be caught by the atmosphere, get a certain feeling which is more then than just looking food. The idea behind a food photo is important, because without it, it will be just another photo.

Over the time I have photographed the same subject or food several times. Beside the fact that my photography has changed over time and hopefully my scills have improved somewhat, it is also a journy through different ideas behind the photographs. In a series of four photos with clementines, tangerines, mandarines or what you like to call them, I will take you with me on a food photo trip from 2007 to 2012.

Clementines (3/3)
© All rights reserved, Thorsten Kraska, 2007

In this first photo from 2007 I have tried to create a very sunny impression, because the fruit comes from sunny countries. I have used a very strong backlight from upper right in a close setting with just one mandarine in focus against a white background. To avoid too many highly overexposed parts in the photo, there is one mandarine in front covering a good part of the right side. And there is another one in left behind the fruit in focus. Because it is out of focus it let stand out the fruit more. Bounces from front left help to give enough fill light to avoid to harsh shadows in front of the fruit.

Tangerines (3/3)
© All rights reserved, Thorsten Kraska, 2009

The 2nd one is from 2009 and it is more working through colors. Certain color combinations create / stand for an impression. The color triangle of the 2nd order colors orange, green and purple is a very strong color combination, which stands for a very active and lively feeling. The colors jump directly into your eyes without being as strong as the even more active color triangle of 1st order colors (yellow, blue, red). I have not over pronounced the contrast here. In retroperspective the composition could have been more dynamic. The two triangle built by the the three fruit on left (1) and the three single leaves in front and back (2) emphasizing the main diagonal line from upper left to lower right, but the angle is too high for a more dynamic mpression here. If I would redo this one I would go for a more dynamic setting with stronger contrasts and a more unusual angle.

© All rights reserved, Thorsten Kraska, 2010

In 2010 I have used a natural setting by displaying the mandarines in a wooden boxon a wooden background. And all fruit in the box with still fresh leaves should get you the idea of freshness and fruit from an organic production. Displaying food in a "from top" angle are great for graphical settings. Here the madarines are ordered in straight lines, but the leaves create a layer of disorder above them making it more interesting to look at. To add some dynamic I have used a tilt-shift lens here. With a t/s lens you can manipulate the focal plain. The focal plain here is not horizontal oriented as you would have it with a normal' lens, it is oriented from lower left to upper right. Such non-regular focal plains can be catchy and when you take a look at food photographs you will find that is used more and more.

Mandarine Still Life
© All rights reserved, Thorsten Kraska, 2012

In the latest photo from 2012 I have used the style of a more classical still life setting to confront the freshness of the fruit with a darker setting reminding more of a painting than of a food photo. The setting is focussing on the textures of the fruit peel and the shape of the leaves. In this final setting the leaves seem to be even more important than the fruit. This is empasized by repetion of the leaf pattern in the background. The light from lower left is kept structural to highlight just one spot on the peel and bring out the lines of the leaves. I have kept the strong shadows on the right side.

When you go through this series again you will find that the photos are very different in the impression you get. And sure you will one more that the other three depending on what you like to see or what you expect from a mandarine (fruit) photo. Therefore it is important to let your own imagination go first before you photograph food. What is the impression / idea you want to create and how you can achive it.