I love photographing desserts, being able to play around with colors, textures and light. Today I will tell you a story about a Lemon Pie I wanted to photograph. My setup was really simple, composed by a DSLR camera, basic zoom lenses, a tripod and a fill card. The light was all natural and came from a large window that was covered with a white fabric to help with the diffusion. I prefer softer shadows and even on cloudy days, I need to cover the window.
Playing the culinary photographer and the food stylist
When photographing desserts, sometimes I work together with someone preparing the food and other times I do all by myself. Regardless of the cook, the plating is really important and after that comes the styling process. It’s similar to platting a dessert for a dinner or for serving it on a restaurant, but it must be extremely detailed. For this pie I wanted to create a style that would showcase all the layers, the slightly brown tone on the meringue and the beautiful green from lemon zest. I’ve also taken some pictures of the pie before slicing it, to have a different perspective registered. Regarding styling tools for this session, I’ve used a pastry bag to place the meringue and paper towel to clean the plates.
The Beginning: Before slicing
You couldn’t tell if it is the exactly same pie, but I assure you it is! It’s great to have different images of the same food with variations in the composition. This work was a free minded, free style culinary photography, so there were no specific requirements from a client, and then I was totally allowed to try a lot. In this composition below I’ve used parchment paper on the top of a round baking tray, blue fabric and a black wood board.
Showing what is written:
Then I changed the angle to show a bit more of this black wood board. You can barely see the name Porto Alegre (the Brazilian city where I live), my intention was to highlight the pie and bring a weak idea in the background. Photographing desserts allows you to try different compositions and ideas!
Food Photography from the top
When photographing desserts, I would not let this perspective forgotten. So I needed to shoot the pie from above. So I handed the camera and adjusted the shutter speed and aperture to get a sharp image. The white balance and the exposure were not so good, but I fixed then afterward.
The loneliness of a slice
After taking out a slice, there is no way back! So the next perspectives were assembled based on the concept of a served portion. The composition included a tea pot with a green tea bag. The intention was to hide the brand of the tea by taking that area out of the focus.
I did not resist
This last shoot was almost unplanned. When I got to finally eat that delicious lemon pie, I just realized how cool would be to tell that story in a picture. So I stopped in the middle of the slice and captured the unforgettable moment of breaking a slice. Here is the happy end:
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