Somewhere about the point where I realized I have almost a terrabyte of photographs, I realized I ought to start sharing them and the stories behind their creation. Today are three images from a series of still life images I did based on the polymer clay items I make. I’ll show you the image first and then talk a bit about how it came to be formed as well as the equipment I used. (For the record, all of these were with my previous EOS 40D Canon. I now have a 7D, and I am rather lustfully eyeing the 5D Mark III.)
For the record, let me begin by saying that setting up and taking this photo as well as the one following were INCREDIBLY difficult thanks to dietary restrictions. The house smelled absolutely decadent, and I couldn’t eat any of it! *ahem* Moving on . . . preparing for these images was not unlike preparing for food photography shots. I needed to be paying as much attention to the presentation of the actual food as the jewelry, but while making sure it was said jewelry taking the spotlight.
The waffles were frozen ones that I over-toasted in order to the get the golden color. I let them cool down entirely to prevent the butter from melted, but I sprayed them with cooking spray in order to make them look already buttered. The white plate was chosen to deliberately bring out the white in the napkins which were also chosen deliberately for their stripes and cool tones. The glass holding the syrup is technically a ice cream server, but an actual glass decanter proved surprisingly difficult to lay hands on. To mimic natural lighting, I set up a softbox at an angle that did not reflect into the glass. My choice to hang the waffles on the glass came after several other attempts at placing them in front and center. If you could see the reel I had originally shot, you would notice this angle in the middle of several other points of view. The shallow depth of field may seem to make my work on the waffles moot, but you’d be surprised how fake they would see without the effort.
This was worse than the waffles since I had to actually bake the cinnamon rolls I used, and the entire apartment smelled decadent. How people working at Cinnabon stay sane, I shall never know! While the majority of my images were set up on a table in a studio, this one was taken to the kitchen. I worked with natural window light supplemented by a fill light on a boom. I was also lucky going into this one since I fairly well knew what I wanted. My difficulties arose in trying to get the cinnamon stick to stay put. For something with a flat side, they roll ridiculously well. (Then again, our kitchen counter isn’t the best in the world.) I eventually glued them in place with a bit of brown polymer clay. How meta! Again, I chose the shallow depth of field in order to showcase the earrings and not the noms. The cinnamon sprinkled on the counter ended up on the earrings as well, and the buyer later told me the smell had lingered and it was awesome. Unintentional win, apparently.
This was, arguably, the trickiest of the lot. I needed to find napkins with an asian feeling as well as warm hues, and I needed square black plates. Rescue for both came from–no kidding–my local Bel-Air. Interesting side story! While looking for chopsticks, I asked a clerk. He said they didn’t have them. A female clerk overhead and said they did. He said they didn’t. She bet him five bucks they did. He agreed. She marched us to the spot and LO. Chopsticks on the bottom shelf. He was a good sport and coughed up the $5.
To set up the meal itself, I used uncooked rice that I just softened a bit in water. The sauce is a blend of soy sauce and oil to make it less drippy. I really worked with the lines and shapes of this one. The chopsticks were deliberately placed on opposing axises, and the plates are aligned to be parallel. The chain bends and curves to match the flowers when everything is else is on planes and angles. Lucky for me, this was an unappetizing shoot. (The chocolate cupcakes for another one, on the other hand . . .)
The same series also had tacos, a cheeseburger, fruit slice necklaces, lemon slice earrings, and coffee mug earrings. There were a few non-edibles from my sister’s own store (Pop Garden), and they consisted of bunny earrings, a froggie keychain, bottled winter, bottled beach, and bottled spring. The whole collection was my first real experiment with still life, and I loved every minute.
Except for smelling the waffles I couldn’t eat. That sucked.