With a biting wind outside I was looking for something close to home to shoot last week and eventually settled for possibly the easiest location – my kitchen! Nice and warm and with easy access to the kettle for a cup of tea…
I have covered food subjects before, though I’m not that interested in photographing rather fussy images of prepared dishes, so I tend to stick to ingredients. I wanted to go for a fresh and clean, high-key look so everything had to be on a nice plain white background. I’d used a freshly ironed tablecloth before but found that the weave in the cloth gave too much texture to the background when viewed up close, so rather than investing in any expensive backgrounds I used a sheet of A2 matte photo paper, which worked really well!
Colourful ground spices make a nice subject, and there are lots of options to make nice colour contrasts (I need to top up the turmeric pot next time to get a bright yellow option!). The pots come from a masala dabba that a friend bought for me and make a much better way of presenting the spices than glass jars.
The spaghetti proved quite difficult to set up, but I found that by fanning it out in a nice wide bowl I could get a good composition and whilst most of the shots were stopped right down for depth of field this worked better with the aperture wide open and a very shallow depth of field.
I liked the arrangement of three eggs in the first shot but wanted an image with a single egg, but where it didn’t seem too lonely on its own. Balancing it on a spoon in a glass bowl seemed to do the trick.
If you’re interested in the lighting set up – usually I’d like to use window light with a reflector but it was such a dark day this wasn’t an option, so I used a single continuous light (a daylight balanced cool-lite) to the left of the subject with a white reflector to the right, both quite close to the subject. I didn’t need to do much in the way of processing to the images, but I have dodged out the corners on the background a bit to keep the really high-key look.
It’s not something I’d want to do every day but as a break from the icy weather it was great fun!