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  #1  
Old 15th June 2017
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Food Photography - Renaissance Style

A slight departure from my usual style:

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Old 15th June 2017
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Re: Food Photography - Renaissance Style

We don't get a lot of studio still life photography on this site and this is a wonderful example. It looks deceptively simple but I suspect it was painstakingly set up to ensure every little detail was right.
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Old 15th June 2017
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Re: Food Photography - Renaissance Style

Great still life shot.
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Old 15th June 2017
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Re: Food Photography - Renaissance Style

Quote:
Originally Posted by Zuiko View Post
We don't get a lot of studio still life photography on this site and this is a wonderful example. It looks deceptively simple but I suspect it was painstakingly set up to ensure every little detail was right.
erm.........

Actually, extremely simple one light setup.
E-M1 mkII 40-150mm f2.8 @ f8

I can put up a full walkthrough if you want.
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Old 15th June 2017
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Re: Food Photography - Renaissance Style

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Originally Posted by Michael Sewell View Post
erm.........

Actually, extremely simple one light setup.
E-M1 mkII 40-150mm f2.8 @ f8

I can put up a full walkthrough if you want.
It's not what you've got it's how you use it that counts! You could give me the light and the items and tell me to produce a picture and I would struggle to make one as good as this. Not just with where to place the light but also with making a pleasing arrangement like you have. you obviously pay great attention to detail, for example I notice that the highlights on the glass don't overlap the highlights on the bottle behind and the placement of the knife leads the eye into the picture from bottom left. Then there are the grapes; is it just by chance that the lighter white grapes separate the darker red ones from the glass and bottle of red wine? Would I have thought to do this or am I just overthinking the whole thing?

If you don't mind putting up a full walkthrough I will be very grateful.
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Old 15th June 2017
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Re: Food Photography - Renaissance Style

Excellent composition and lighting = excellent photographer IMO.
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Old 15th June 2017
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Re: Food Photography - Renaissance Style

Very nice. Was the reflection in the glass intentional?
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Old 15th June 2017
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Re: Food Photography - Renaissance Style

Quote:
Originally Posted by Zuiko View Post
We don't get a lot of studio still life photography on this site and this is a wonderful example. It looks deceptively simple but I suspect it was painstakingly set up to ensure every little detail was right.
I remember shooting a 'ploughmans lunch' for a pub menu many, many years ago. The hardest part was the beer kept losing its 'sparkle' so had to be drunk and replaced.

It should be noted that no ploughman would be caught dead eating what passed for his lunch in those days.
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Old 15th June 2017
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Re: Food Photography - Renaissance Style

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Originally Posted by Tordan58 View Post
Very nice. Was the reflection in the glass intentional?
Absolutely.
Basically to give a "window" reflection, reinforcing the original renaissance feel to the image.
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Old 15th June 2017
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Re: Food Photography - Renaissance Style

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Originally Posted by Zuiko View Post
If you don't mind putting up a full walkthrough I will be very grateful.
All my food photography is client driven. Whether that’s restaurants, hotels, recipe books or Getty Images, the brief and styling is usually someone else’s decision.

This particular image came about due to a couple of factors. Primarily, I noticed most of my food imagery was quite light and airy. A style my clients rather liked, and a style which particularly suited their websites. Don’t get me wrong, I like shooting in any particular style that does the food justice, and best suits the clients needs. That said, I really quite fancied shooting a much darker food scene. A scene that would focus the attention purely on the food, rather than the ambience of the setting which tends to be the better look for a restaurant or hotel.

Oh, and there was a food imagery competition running on one of the forums.

Anyway, I raided the home fridge and nicked the wedge of Wensleydale Creamery’s cheese with cranberries, as you do. (It’s actually part of their rather good cheese box). The bottle was liberated from my wife (empty, I might add!). The contents of the glass? Undiluted blackcurrant cordial. The grapes came from a local supermarket on my way into the studio. Knife, board and bowl are from the studio prop cupboard.

My intention was to use a single light source with a large rectangular modifier to light the scene from one side. The reflection of the softbox in anything such as the bottle or glass would take on the appearance of a window. I would need to bring in some light from the other side of the table, but only enough to bring up the shadows and stop the dark edges of the bottle etc. disappearing into the background.

I had a black paper backdrop in place approximately ten feet beyond the back of the table top. The distance would ensure the light source wouldn’t illuminate the background. I initially used a honeycomb on the softbox as well, which of course narrows the field of light and reduces light contamination beyond the subject area. However, on close examination of the test image, I found the honeycomb was quite visible in the reflection on the wine glass. So off it came.

The light source is an Elinchrom BRX500Ri frame left, firing through a large softbox (40×53 inches). Output was at 4.0.
Rather than use another light source to fill frame right, I used a large polystyrene board to bounce the light back towards the subject area.

A very simple one light setup.

Olympus OM-D E-M1 mkII 1/250th sec ISO200 40-150mm f2.8 @f8

A few behind the scene images to better explain the setup. (taken with the original E-M1).







No need to over think. Style the scene to please the eye, and light it just enough to do the job.
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Old 16th June 2017
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Re: Food Photography - Renaissance Style

Very nice Michael!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Zuiko View Post
It's not what you've got it's how you use it that counts! You could give me the light and the items and tell me to produce a picture and I would struggle to make one as good as this. Not just with where to place the light but also with making a pleasing arrangement like you have. you obviously pay great attention to detail, for example I notice that the highlights on the glass don't overlap the highlights on the bottle behind and the placement of the knife leads the eye into the picture from bottom left. Then there are the grapes; is it just by chance that the lighter white grapes separate the darker red ones from the glass and bottle of red wine? Would I have thought to do this or am I just overthinking the whole thing?

If you don't mind putting up a full walkthrough I will be very grateful.
I'd have to do some serious cleaning up first.

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  #12  
Old 16th June 2017
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Re: Food Photography - Renaissance Style

Thanks for such an in-depth explanation and really helpful pictures, Michael. Would you mind if I copy this thread onto the Tutorials board so that it is easier to locate in future if someone is searching for advice on this subject?
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  #13  
Old 16th June 2017
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Re: Food Photography - Renaissance Style

Quote:
Originally Posted by Zuiko View Post
Thanks for such an in-depth explanation and really helpful pictures, Michael. Would you mind if I copy this thread onto the Tutorials board so that it is easier to locate in future if someone is searching for advice on this subject?
No problem at all, John.

If I'm asked for a walkthough on any further posts, I'll message you to see if you feel it should be moved.

Sound fair?

Obviously, if I'm going to post a tutorial straight off the bat, I'll post it in the tutorial section anyway.
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Old 16th June 2017
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Re: Food Photography - Renaissance Style

Thanks Michael, that's appreciated.
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Old 17th June 2017
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Re: Food Photography - Renaissance Style

Can I add my thanks too Michael that is an excellent explanation of your setup and thought process to create what is a superb image. I do have one question about the image, did you deliberately make the angle of the knife and the cheese slightly off parallel to make it look more natural and have a "just left" feel? it certainly worked for me even if it wasn't intentional.
The other thing I really liked was that little picture on the wall in your very clean studio really cool, what is it?
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