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Friday, December 3, 2010

Food Styling with Photoshop!

This was quite an involved job. The lighting was pretty typical for me. I use an optical spot strobe from the back to cross light toward the front. This light is moved slightly from shot to shot to bring out the most contrast and detail. Next a large light bank goes overhead to fill all of the shadows so the images can be printed. Like I said, the photography part of this job was normal for me and all three shots could have been done in a quick day.
However...
I offered to do the food styling. Adding tricky food styling to shooting turned this into a 2 day job.
For the pizza, I bought a Digiorno frozen pizza. I pulled off most of the cheese but left the sauce and slightly under cooked it. I then added my own cheese (the client) plus wedged tomatoes and black olives and broiled the pizza to carefully melt the cheese. Finally I ran downstairs to the studio and shot the slice. After I uploaded the image to my client, I used Photoshop to extend some of the cheese over the edge to the exact amount that the client desired.
The panini sandwiches was styled in a similar way to the pizza since it also needed melted cheese. Before I sent an image to the client, I cut the top bread off each piece and lowered it since my bread looked too fat for a panini.
Finally there was the salad. This shot was difficult because the NYC area was super windy and rainy so everything was slowed down considerably. I would email my salad image (shot on a tiny saucer) to the client for approval but have to wait an hour for a response. Salad wilts while it waits. In the end, I combined an early lively salad with the front of one that showed the cheese very well and the result was approved! It is wonderful to work with a client who appreciates Photoshop and knows what it can do.
If you are a photo student or enthusiast in this digital age, a good handle on Photoshop is absolutely necessary. In this case it helped me make more money as a photographer/food stylist.