Photography internship with Lara Ferroni, Day 1
photo I took with my Canon Rebel XT, 1.8/50mm lens
photo I took with Lara’s camera, and her 100mm lens
Today was my first day interning with Lara Ferroni of Cook and Eat. Lara shoots for Epicurious.com, Gourmet.com, Sasquatch Books, as well as many other local publications, including Seattle Magazine. For my first lesson, Lara taught me the basics (aperture, shutter speed, how to use the histogram), as well as different lighting techniques (negative bounce, velum sheets taped over windows, glass bottles in background to refract light instead of reflecting it on the subject.) Pictured above is the espresso I shot around lunch time: the first photo was taken with my current camera and lens, while the second was taken with Lara’s camera and her 100 mm lens. I asked her to critique my second photo, and this is what she said:
-Lara liked how the light was hitting the bottom of the glass
-she liked how straight the image was (although if you take a crooked photo, you can correct it on the computer)
-the rim of the glass is over-exposed
I knew the rim of the glass looked over-exposed on all the photos I took, but I didn’t know how to correct it. She said I could’ve held a small piece of plastic bubblewrap or similar piece of plastic transparency near the light source (a side window taped with velum) to soften the rim. Also, you can use a white or yellow Post-it note stuck onto the velum to diffuse the light a little bit. (Very helpful tips I will remember for next time!)
Lara took this photo of the roasted cherries with thyme and bacon with a 50mm/1.4 lens
When I got to Lara’s house this morning, she mentioned that she had a delicious appetizer of roasted cherries with bacon at a potluck last night, and wanted to shoot them for her blog. These were so easy to make–simply wrap a piece of bacon around a pitted cherry, and tuck in a small sprig of thyme. (I imagine these would be good with a piece of pecorino tucked inside each cherry too!) She took photos with different lenses, explaining what she was doing after each shot. I watched her move the bounces around the table, sometimes shifting glass bottles in the background to create a more interesting image. Then, she chose her favorite photo, and played with it in Lightroom 2. For the image above, she used a negative (or black) bounce by a window behind her camera. She wanted to take away a speck of light that was showing up in the upper right corner of the plate. When she got the speck of light down to a small, manageable size, she used the Clone tool in Lightshop to blend it away.
Lara also took photos of the raw ingredients with her favorite lens, a 90mm tilt-shift lens. Oh my. I am sure she will post those photos on her blog soon, so you’ll just have to take my word that the pictures taken by that lens are incredible. The tilt-shift lens changes the angle of the “blur” you sometimes see in the rear of a photo subject in focus (i.e. a tilt-shift lens is able to blur the side edges of a photo subject, something that your eye is not able to do.) This lens retails for $1400, if you’re interested in purchasing one!
Lara and I also looked at examples of work she’s shot for cookbooks in the past, and one absinthe cookbook she’s currently shooting. She is a fan of Christopher Hirsheimer’s food photography, so we looked at some cookbooks Christopher shot, and also some cookbooks that featured bad food photography. Finally, we ended our lesson at the Queen Anne Farmer’s Market, where she let me use some of her different lenses. I’ll post those photos tomorrow.
In the meantime, if you have a food photography question for Lara, leave it in the comments and I’ll see if she is willing to answer them!
Posted: July 16th, 2009 under Uncategorized.