This particular food photography shoot involved so many elements that the best way to make it work was through symmetry. Symmetry was the key to making all 22 ingredients stand out. Once that concept was locked in, the rest just followed. Paring the masalas with contrasting coloured bowl makes each one pop. The wooden board brings an element of earthiness, grounding the visual.
I always strive to get the best colour and composition in camera. The few things like blemishes in the background, incomplete backdrops or increasing sharpness can be dealt with during post-processing. My philosophy is to keep the ingredients, in this case, or people, when I shoot family portraits, as authentic as possible.
With so many things on the board my aperture was set slightly wider, at f/5.6. The masalas in the bowls sat higher than the spices on the board but with a wider aperture a bigger slice of the image was in focus. This meant all elements were in perfect focus.
It’s important to remember that colour is a visual design element that adds interest to the image. In order for the warm colours of the spices on the board to stand out, I used a blue background. Blue, a cool colour when used with warm colours tends to recede, making the warm colours stand out.
If you look at the straight out of the camera picture you will see that this setup was resting on the same table as the colourful dumplings. It’s got its fair share of bruises and scratches but applying a few clever editing techniques was all that was needed. Flip through the slide show below to see what my post-processing process for this was like.
Think this article has helped you conceptualise your next food shot? Leave us a comment and tell us how.