Food photography can be quite challenging. There are always two specific demands in making the food appetizing and photogenic: one is the proper preparation of the food specifically for photography, and the second is of course in the lighting and techniques to bring out the textures, details, and the desired look.
We were hired recently for a series of product groupings for The Farmer’s Cow, a group of six Connecticut family owned dairy farms. Their products vary from eggs, to ice cream, milk, apple cider and other beverages. The photographs will be used for a variety of marketing purposes so the shots needed to be composed loosely for different cropping options and have seasonally themed change-outs.
Of course, assembling a good team is key and having great art direction and a food/set stylist makes all the difference. Art direction and design was by Laura Tedeschi of Tedeschi Design, and Heather Bean and Catherine Paukner did a superb job of prepping the food and sets. It’s a nice to have a team handling different aspects of the production, allowing each of us to concentrate on our individual tasks. While food was being prepped, we worked with food “stand-ins” tweaking the set, lighting and details.
I opted to have a main large fresnel key light from the rear on every shot to bring out the texture and add separation, a big overhead fill for the shadows, and several low skimming grids to bring out additional texture and specific detail on areas such as labels. Once the client approved the setup and lighting, the “real” food was brought in for the final exposures. With items such as real ice cream, one has to shoot quickly before it starts melting and the texture changes.
And best perk about doing food photography? When it’s done, the leftovers are delicious!