Being a member of a few food photographer groups, I like not only seeing my fellows’ work, or reading the comments, critiques and reactions, but also often finding much good advice, as well as participating in various challenges – weekly or monthly, enjoying this all a lot.
The other week one of the challenges was to shoot something frozen, very cool, and I chose to work on a lemon sorbet photo, where I wanted to apply some new recipe tried at home.
The recipe went awfully wrong, it might have been our freezer, or the fact, I amended the ingredients slightly, but that alone could have changed the original recipe to such an extend, that it simply wouldn’t work.
The sorbet wouldn’t freeze at all, just its top layers, and although those looked pretty, it was not possible to work with anything such for photography, and definitely not to be eaten – that not at all, most certainly!
So I needed to be a bit inventive, if not for the family treat, at least for the photography challenge and decided to “cheat” a tiny little bit, using something different that would still resemble the look and texture of the sorbet itself.
This may be something a little surprising for the recipe readers, or even some starting food bloggers, but food stylist do apply lots and lots of little tricks in order to bring the perfect look for the photographers to capture. Many times, especially in those meant for advertising, they definitely are not to be eaten or enjoyed in any culinary way possible. Not only for being manipulated or touched by too many fingers, but made look pretty by completely inedible substances e.g. using washing up liquid for that perfect coffee spume, or shaving foam for that tempting cream dollop topping the banana split, or glycerin spritz for freshness or to avoid any dry look of anything.. Find attached links in the comments to find more of these tips & tricks lower if you’re interested.
So, after my unsuccessful try on lemon sorbet recipe I tried a little cheat trick, still within the reality limit, and instead of the real lemon sorbet, I simply put a couple of supermarket bought cups of lemon mousse in the freezer. The result was really lovely – a very nice, solid scoops of believable texture and colour. Besides, it lasted much longer before they would start melting than with the actual sorbet or ice – cream.
And for the prop tips, make sure, when shooting cold produce like ice – creams, that they give the overall feeling of “cool”. For this reason, I work with bowls / glasses etc that I always place in a freezer the very first thing before the shoot and preparing my set. You get that pretty frost on them. You may also use sprays, but this way it is a bit cheaper, especially if the food bloggers are reading this post, where the photography is only a part of their work, and they need more focus on the food itself.
However, you need to work faster then, naturally. Keep your calm though, and no need to panic for working not fast enough and see your creams melt and frost go off really fast. For more confidence, I usually keep one, or as many needed bowls out to try the set and shots, as well as – as you can see, I work with a substitute for the ice – cream – here an A4 white sheet of paper formed in a small ball.
When I’m all sure about the way my image will look, had my light measured and the needed shots done, I start working very quickly on the frosted bowls and real ice-cream. It really pays off being a bit more patient, and, most of all, having had stuff prepared and planned ahead.
It truly makes things much easier. And above all, it makes those tempting, cool – looking images as the outcome.
Despite the thundery showers and more clouds up there, it still feels like summer, give the cool & frosty images a go, good luck, everyone!
Hope you found these tips useful, and if you like to see many more tips and ideas how to help yourself to style the food in your images, go ahead, see the links in the comments below.