Hi, I’m Blogger Patti Londre with Worth The Whisk. Pro food photography studios are expensively equipped, right? But shhh… not everything is top dollar. After a few decades of working in food PR and having talented photographers and stylists to work with, I learned that sometimes just a strip of duct tape, a binder clip and a paint stick can produce a very useful tool to help your shots. Equip your photo studio the frugal way; these five “valuable” tools altogether cost $24 plus change.
SURFACE – this is a gigantic poster board from the art store, $7.95. What I like is that it bends. A clamp from our garage holds the front, and kitchen stool behind props it up. I don’t shoot everything with this, since “artistically” that would be boring (oh puhleeze, listen to me, like I know). Getting it into the car was hilarious to onlookers, thanks to gusts of wind. But I did it. And once it gets splotched or creased, I will buy another. Cheap.
LIGHT BOUNCE – 8 1/2 x 11 cardboard from the back of a yellow pad of paper wrapped in a sheet of foil (matte side out). I use this with every shoot because it can make a subtle but noticeable difference in my mediocre food photography. Look at the chocolate in the photos, below, and notice how the “with” just has more yum to it. Bouncing light is a nifty technique.
Experiment throwing light onto little places by holding it opposite your light source. If you set your camera for a 2-second timer, you can let go completely (avoids shakes) and bounce your light without rushing. Bounce it here, bounce it there, you will then have lots of photo options when you look at your shots.
PROPS – The Goodwill Store in Santa Monica is probably like any thrift shop in our town, with piles of unmatched dishes for sale. They were in a generous mood the other day and sold me a nice batch of little bowls and dishes for $8. Total.
I learned from reading other bloggers’ photo tips that a collection of white is most useful. And I am learning that plates with some texture, like a basket weave edge add interest to a shot. Add cool shapes like square or triangle plates and bowls, and you have plenty of options.
FABRIC SURFACES – I like tablecloths, but I don’t NEED a lot of tablecloths. The local upholstery fabric store, F&S Fabrics on Pico in West LA has quite a few bins containing swatches for .98 each. Nice textured things, fanciful colors, crazy patterns, it kind of doesn’t matter.
The camera sometimes needs some options when shooting foods, I am learning – a pound cake on one fabric looks different than the same thing on something else. The other day, I bought 6 swatches for under $6 and have used two already. I keep an iron nearby because creases sneak up on me without looking until I’m done shooting and THEN see them in the shots.
Hope to see you all at Camp Blogaway. We’ll be sharing a whole lot more of such ideas then.