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Exercises In Food Photography #4 : Feature Just One Ingredient!

Posted Aug 09 2012 12:00am

H
ere’s this month’s food photography assignment, though a week late. Since I usually close the assignment after three weeks, you’ll have till end of this month to do this if you would like to join in.
I actually had something else in mind for this month’s assignment but I didn’t have the time to do it myself and will post it for next month’s assignment. I can promise that it will involve a bit of work, lots of mess and cleaning up but will be fun.
But for this month, I thought it would be a good idea to shoot a photograph of a food ingredient. You know, the sort of photograph where an ingredient, whatever it may be, is not just the “hero” or focus of the composition but is also the only food item in the photograph. My photographs accompanying this post will give you an idea of what I mean.
We usually tend to post photographs on our blogs, of the finished and plated dish or even the detailed process of cooking.  However, I’m wondering how many times you might have shot one of the ingredients you’re using showing only that to advantage. If you haven’t (or even if you have), and would like to explore this further, here’s your chance. Join us this month and photograph and showcase an ingredient (or two or three if you choose…) of your choice.
An important part of trying to showcase an ingredient would be styling it to show it to advantage. So please do not just heap the ingredient of choice on a plate or cutting board or in a bowl and shoot.
Think about how you could arrange it (or not have your composition look arranged, as you choose), what colours/ textures in your background would work well. Get creative if you can and remember, simple compositions usually work the best as too much in your frame would take the focus away from your subject.
You might have to go close up to your subject but you do not need a macro lens for this. A 50mm lens or even a telephoto/ zoom lens, whatever you have on hand should work if you plan your shot. This may seem a little like the second exercise we did on the theme “ Less Is More ” but it really isn’t.



Button Mushrooms (Taken with 100mm f/2.8 Macro lens at aperture – f/ 8.0, shutterspeed – 2.5s and ISO – 100)

It’s the season for fresh mushrooms here, though they are expensive but still get sold out very quickly – seems like they’re there one minute and gone the next. However if one has to have mushrooms, the cultivated variety of button mushroom are available almost the year round.
My husband and I don’t really like them but our daughter loves them stuffed and grilled. These lot I bought were looking particularly photo worthy to me, so after trying out various compositions which I wasn’t happy with I finally settled on this one.

Orange And Lemon Boiled Candy (Taken with 100mm f/2.8 Macro lens at aperture – f/ 4.0, shutterspeed – 1/20s and ISO – 800)
I found these citrus shaped orange and lemon boiled candies in one of the stores here recently. I hadn’t seen them in a long time and they brought back childhood memories of buying them from small corner shops where they were displayed and sold from big glass jars with screw-on lids. I couldn’t resist buying some, though I was a bit disappointed with the taste – not the heady stuff of my childhood memories! I shot this for a Flickr group assignment themed “Yellow”.

Fresh Dates (Taken with an 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS lens (92mm focal length) at aperture – f/ 6.3, shutterspeed – 1s and ISO – 100)
Now that it is the fasting season of Ramzan, one fruit that we get a lot of at the local market are dates. This year, I’ve been seeing a lot of fresh dates for the first time. Obviously, I had to buy some and photograph them and here they are!


What You Have To Do To Join In:
1.     Take one (or more if you would like to do so) of a food ingredient (not the finished dish) of your choice. You could photograph vegetables, fruit, spices, nuts, chocolate, sugar, salt, flour, etc. Please put some thought into your composition and angle of shooting. As always, do try and use Manual settings if you can.  2.     Post the photograph(s) and details about them on you blog, with details about the shot.   I see some people posting, “this photograph is for the photography exercise at …………..” and that’s about it. Not that there’s anything wrong with that but the purpose of this series is to also share how you composed and shot your photograph so thers could perhaps learn from you.     3.     Please ensure that you link back to this post/ page in your blog post. Then add the link to your Photography Exercise post using the Simply Linked Widget that appears at the bottom of this post. This will direct readers to you blog and allow them to read your post.  Please make sure that the text in your link is correct otherwise no one would be able to reach your post.  If you do not have a blog, then upload your photographs on Flickr or any other hosting site and then use the link of that photograph in the Widget. Since I am late in posting this exercise (again!), and would like to maintain the 3 week time period for the exercise, the deadline for this exercise shall be the 31st of July, 2012. I’m looking forward to seeing all your photographs. Happy shooting! May I also request you all to please, please visit fellow photographers involved in this exercise and give them your feedback and criticism (as you see it) because this is one more way of improving ones skills and craft. You are most welcome to critique my photographs as well. Thank you. If you have any doubts or need any clarifications about this exercise, please leave a comment at the end of this post and I'll get back to you.


Other Exercises In This Series:

Exercises In Food Photography #1 : Aperture and DoF

Exercises In Food Photography #2 : Less Is More, So Let’s Keep It Simple!


Exercises In Food Photography #3 : Overhead Food Shots – A View From Above

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