Food Photography

Travel Photography: Seaside Oregon

For the second year in a row we spent a long weekend in Seaside, Oregon toward the end of February. And for the second year in a row we had great weather. The drive was wet and Sunday night got cold enough in Astoria that we bundled up and drank hot chocolate, but otherwise it was perfect. The beaches were packed, as were the streets of Canon Beach, where we shopped and visited our favorite Oregon distillery.

Playing with my food

Sometimes I just want to play with light or sets (or both!), so I grab whatever’s in the kitchen and my camera. After browsing a lot of food boards on Pinterest with very blown-out backgrounds I set up one of my new surfaces (a collaged and painted surface) and some fruit and tried to get shots that combined both the rich colors in the fruit and the airy feel of the blown-out shots so popular on the boards.

fresh fruit in a white bowl

food photography of fruit

food photography of glass bowl

glass bowl of fruit

I like how the blown-out lighting looks on my new surface because I think it suits the style of the surface, but I don’t feel it does the best job of making this fruit look ready to eat — they look more like an artist’s rendering of food than something you’d want to eat. I think this technique will be perfect for creating wall art for restaurants and kitchens, though, especially if I use lemons or apples for the fruit. Sounds like a great excuse for me to go shopping!

Food Photography — Scones, Muffins, and Rolls

To go along with the on-white hero shots of their products our Bakery client had us create a collection of styled shots. We photographed scones, muffins, pretzel rolls, bear claws, and cinnamon rolls. We were especially tasked to show the difference in sizes between the large and mini muffins and scones, and to show the variety of muffins and scones they sell.

plate of assorted muffins in two sizes

plate of muffins

We used a variety of plates, baskets, and sets for these images. Unlike our photos of the holiday cookies where we used holiday decorations to emphasize the themes, we styled a majority of these items similar to how they might be served, complete with napkins and cups of coffee.

two croissants on glass plate with blue napkin

two croissants

For the pretzel rolls we went one step further and turned the rolls into hamburger and sandwich buns, and then plated those items with potato chips and beer.

food styling of pretzel bun

pretzel bun sandwich

The client was very happy with all the images and used them for both printed flyers and on their website.


January Food Photography – Hero Shots

In January of this year our California commercial bakery client requested a set of on-white food images for their website. We refer to these types of images in-house as “hero shots” for the way the food image is center stage. For on-white we can either leave the natural shadows and natural white-ish background or “mask” the food item and place it on a pure white replacement background.

photo of pretzel roll

pretzel roll hero shot

There were 29 separate products that needed to be shot. The client sent them all to us via overnight UPS right after they were baked, and sent multiples of each item so we could pick the best version of each item. Since it was a cloudy and rainy week we couldn’t use natural light so we set up our set of Interfit continuous lights and went to work.

The two white-frosted muffins were a particular lighting challenge , since the frosting needed to look white yet remain separate from the background. All the items needed to look fresh and tasty.

Fall Cookies — Food Photography

This is catch-up post #2 — a shoot from last Fall.

Our California commercial bakery client hired us again shortly after we photographed the pecan buns to photograph their collection of season fall and winter cookies. Since cookies are flatter than the pecan buns this required us to think differently about our camera angles and the set design.

food photography on holiday set

Decorative set elements included colored sugar, milk, a floral spray, and snowflakes

In addition to our standard brown tabletop, we shot on white, brown burlap, and several shades of blue. The scrapbook paper we use for color backgrounds is 12″ by 12″ so it’s perfect for small items like single cookies, but still requires precise camera angles to avoid a lot of post-shoot work in Photoshop extending the background. Also, food projects stain paper (you can limit the stains with small pieces of parchment paper, but they still happen) so you need to have several pieces of the same color on hand to replace the stained pieces or you end up doing a lot of retouching.

cookie photo

Cookies on blue paper

The burlap we found at a craft store was in smaller 8×11 sheets, so we overlapped them and liked the look and texture. We have since added larger fabric pieces of burlap to our prop collection, but we still go back to the smaller sheets because of the interesting angles you get from overlapping the sheets.

photo of cookie

Football cookies with autumn leaves in the background

Our sets also included a variety of white plates in interesting shapes, some square wooden baskets (to contrast with round cookies), sparkly holiday leaves and berries, and loose sequins. For the rounder Chai cookies we used blue napkins (to coordinate with the blue paper used elsewhere) and baskets. The bakery used a variety of the final images in their email marketing, and in printed flyers as well as on their website.

Food Photography – Sticky Buns for California Bakery

I’m catching up with some blog posts — a few of our photography projects never got featured thanks to the change-up of our website back at the end of last year.

We had some wonderful sunny weather back in September of last year, with an amazing amount of golden light, perfect for outdoor shots and window shots. One of our design clients asked us to do some photography for their commercial bakery in California.

pecan bun photography

photo of sticky buns

They overnighted us their newest product, a pecan-topped sweet roll made of croissant dough. We created a variety of images for them that took advantage of the beautiful light and the golden dough.

We used warm golden wood and golden baskets to compliment the color of the food, along with white linen and a cheerful blue gingham napkins. Images were shot both indoors and outdoors to enhance the variety. Once the client picked their favorites from the gallery we retouched the images and added them to their website.