I did an extensive set up today with lemonade in bottles. I experimented with different props, directional lighting and different surface textures. It was one of the eureka moments when I discovered that partly blocking window light and allowing only from left here gave these photos a beautiful directional light. I am also explaining the work flow and behind the scenes for the below session.
The final image which I liked.
Behind the scenes ( How I created Directional light and the composition )
I have been extensively using these Elmer black foam boards to create a backdrop, block lights and create shadows. It is one of the best things I purchased to help with my food photography shots. I am a big fan of window light and lucky to have a huge window in my living room. I usually use benches and top them with a drawing board to take photos. For this session, I for the first time tried using directional light. To create this I use these foam boards to block light from behind the scene and allowed the same only from left. Right side light is far away, so I didn’t bother to block it but would have if this was affecting my scene. You can see how the shadows are created using this light. If I wouldn’t have used the foam boards, the light would fall flat on the scenes with no shadows, which also works great for many shots. There is no right or wrong, just what kind of light you want to use. The above image was taken with this set up.
For any drink session, I usually start my set up with empty glasses or bottles to check composition, lighting. Then I carefully pour in the drinks taking care not to smudge the glasses. Here I used these beautiful Bacardi Breezer bottles which was cleaned and I have been reusing these since years. There is something about drinks in a bottle which gives a very relaxing feeling. Again the bitters bottle I used here is a cleaned baby medicine bottle. Things which we can reuse for food photography is amazing. You can also see that the base board remains the same and I used a wooden block, which you would have seen several times in my other photos.
I started up filling the empty bottles with lemonade, I pour the liquid using measuring mugs as there are less chances of spill. I slowly started adding props , again a reused bottle of San Pellegrino added a good splash of color. Who doesn’t love the green bottle of San Pellegrino. I added a contrasting black striped straws.
Here’s almost my complete composition along with a Pyrex measuring cup.
I nowadays take groups of photos both with backlighting and side lighting. Here in the pics below I changed the same set up to get the light from left, which is the same window as above. It is easier to move around set ups to experiment with light using a board. I have a huge drawing board, which acts as a base for all sessions now so that I can change direction of the shots. On top of these boards I place my actual wooden texture.
If I have time I usually also move around the set up to try another texture, like the grey painted background I used below. I know all this sounds really exhausting, but the end results will really light you up. A session like this takes me anywhere between 30 – 45 mins to prepare, shoot, rearrange and clean up. It is usually easier if the food prep is not time consuming. With food photography for main courses etc. add in the time for meal prep too.
Here’s the same composition with a grey background