Pasta Food Photography

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Pasta - Andy Sears Pasta, on its own, is not the most inspiring of subjects for food photography. Whether dried or fresh, pasta tends not to have a great amount of detail or texture. Getting in close with a macro lens does open the subject up, you start to see micro detail, a dusting of flour livens uncooked pasta up and provides more detail.

With cooked pasta, photographing while steaming hot can again liven up the scene, a small amount of parsley or black pepper can again add to the detail.

The thin slightly translucent nature of pasta also lends itself to backlighting, where the tones of the pasta and the glow of the backlighting show themselves. It is also a cheap subject, dried pasta, dark background and boiling water on a tabletop studio. Pasta comes in all shapes and sizes so most stores have a good selection of varieties to choose from.

For these images, the lighting consisted of one softbox with daylight fluorescent lamp to the right and backlighting provided by a single Speedlight set on low power.

 

Pasta - Food Photography - Andy SearsThe fresh tagliatelle image looked quite flat on the first images, a light dust of flour provided extra detail and texture which was picked up with the lighting well. Concentrating on the uncooked pasta first allowed me to play around with the lighting without worrying about pans of boiling water.

In manual mode, I used the lowest ISO I could with the images, to minimise noise, varying apertures were used depending how much of the scene I wanted to focus on.

After the uncooked pasta, I turned to capturing some cooked, steaming pasta. I set up a fork suspended in the air by taping it to the top of canned veg!.

 

 

Cokked tagliatelle - food photography - Andy SearsI boiled the pasta in water but removed from the water before it was fully cooked. Now here is the tricky bit, getting the pasta twirled around a fork is not as easy as it seems, it slides off easily and has a mind of its own.

With the intention of capturing steam, my first few attempts failed as by the time I managed to get the pasta on a fork, it had cooled and the steaming stopped. Keeping the fork straight and tilting the pan was the answer. Once securely on the fork, the pasta was dipped briefly back into the boiling water then quickly set up and captured while still steaming.

The steam does not last long and several images were fired off in succession to capture the variations.Some dried parsley was also used on the pasta t give it a little more detail.

 

 

Eggs on Toast

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So today I tried something a little different. Using the Nikon D7200 to record the still images I decided to give its video capabilities a try.  This was no big setup, using daylight as the light source and a quick edit in Apples iMovie.

The food photography ‘eggs’ stills were ok, but the slow motion of the burst yolk added a little something to the final output.

Spilling the Beans

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Every so often I get an image in my head which is completely random and set me off to create the image. This time it was all about baked beans spilling from a can.  This was going to be a composite image put together later in photoshop.

Set up the scene with lighting provided by a softbox each side and a further light bounced off the white ceiling above.  First was to open the can and capture the can on its own, The camera was set on a tilt so I could judge the angle I was looking for.

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Next came a series of images of me attempting to keep the alignment of the can to the original above and spilling the beans out of the can. This proved quite easy and was done in one hit due the beans viscosity making them slow moving.

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Now it was the turn of Photoshop. using the new select and mask in photoshop made the jobs of slicing the various images up to what I wanted, firstly concentrating on the top of the can and matching the cut-out of the tumbling beans to the top of the can in the original image. The rest of the cut-outs and mask proved easy and soon was able to build the layers to make the finished image of spilling the beans.

Spilling the beans

Spilling the Beans

What I thought was going to be an image with much mess to clean up after proved, a quick project, and I got to eat the beans after.

 

Chopped and Sliced Fruit

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I had seen various images of chopped and sliced fruit and re-assembled in a way to make them look like they were floating in mid-air.

Deciding to give it a go, I first tried with a banana, peeling and slicing, then re-assembling with the aid of cocktail sticks. This had to be done quite quickly as the banana degrades quite quickly. I also set the lighting 1 x softbox and reflector up before attacking the fruit.

With several images captured, it was into Adobe Photoshop to remove the cocktail sticks, using spot healing brush, content aware fills, and clone stamp to tidy up some areas. The tricky part was not the cocktail sticks but the shadows these left behind, which were quite distinctive. The end result is below.

Floating sliced banana

Result was not perfect but better than expected, with the banana peel looking like it is providing the support.

Next up was an orange, I had in my mind what I wanted to do with the peel and an orange segment, due to the softness of the fruit this was a little trickier, you can see below the results and also the amount of cocktail sticks to hold it all in place, again the shadows proved to be the tricky part. A two flash setup, one with brolly and one with softbox. Although the shadows prove troublesome, they are required in the image to give the feeling of levitation.

Holding up a dismantled orange

A few different shots were taken, and the end result is below. (Note the extra bit of orange peel to mask some of the shadows). The drip of orange juice emerging from the bottom of the orange was purely unintentional, but does add to the floating feeling.

Orange A peel

 

Equipment Used: Nikon D5300, Sigma 105mm Macro Lens, two off Neewer Flashguns, brolly, Manfrotto softbox.

Go to work on an egg

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Deciding to shoot a simple photograph of a boiled egg complete with runny egg yolk, proved to be difficult.
Boiled Egg and Toast
First the elusive Egg cup, after trying many supermarkets and home stores, it took two days to track down an egg cup, where? In the local garden centre.

Now for the egg itself, a soft boiled egg. On the basis that an egg timer is 3 minutes, thats what I went for, one egg plunged into boiling water and timed. The result raw egg, with a snot like consistency.

Increased the boiling time to 4 minutes, the result being one egg that appeared to be less ‘boiled’ than the previous egg.

So the ultimate egg boiling time came out at 5 minutes and 20 seconds. Next up the toast, this proved a little easier with only one slice burnt!.

All I can say is I am glad I was not photographing a 5 course meal