Quirky Food Photography: Style and Shoot a Moment in History | Henry Hargreaves | Skillshare

Quirky Food Photography: Style and Shoot a Moment in History

Henry Hargreaves, Photographer and Food Artist

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14 Lessons (1h 1m)
    • 1. Introduction

    • 2. Project

    • 3. Storytelling Inspiration

    • 4. Concept and Composition

    • 5. Supplies and Props

    • 6. Prepping the Scene

    • 7. Setting up the Shot

    • 8. Shooting 1st Composition

    • 9. Shooting 2nd Composition

    • 10. Shooting with Lights

    • 11. Image Selection and Retouching

    • 12. Incorporating Text

    • 13. Final Thoughts

    • 14. Explore Photo Classes on Skillshare

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About This Class

Your parents told you not to play with your food, but New Zealand-born, Brooklyn-based photographer and food artist Henry Hargreaves has a bone to pick with that advice. In this 60-minute class, learn Henry’s techniques for crafting a visual story out of food and shooting it to perfection.

Recently inspired by a mysterious sandwich frequented by Elvis Presley, Henry walks you through his own creative process of bringing history to life through food photography — from sourcing supplies on a budget, to styling the food, to setting up lights, capturing the perfect angle, and retouching — all while embracing spontaneity to see how the cookie crumbles.

This class is perfect for photographers, art directors, designers, and anyone who wants to have a little fun with food. No prior background in photography is necessary. You’ll walk away with classic photography tips and tricks applied to a unique medium — and a mouthwatering piece of art to share.


1. Introduction: So, I'm Henry Hargreaves. I'm from New Zealand. I've been living over here in Brooklyn for the last 12 years, and I am a photographer and food artist. Today, I'm going to show everyone how to take a picture that tells a story about someone or something that any of you have read or heard about and create this whole narrative based around this event and kind of be able to draw the audience to understand and put a smile on their face at the same time. Basically, most of my work falls into two categories, I've got the food art and then the kind of almost narrative storytelling using food. The kind of things that I often do is my more personal projects, which is using food as a kind of common denominator between subject and viewer. The prisoners last meals before they're executed on death row. I also did band writers. It was musicians backstage requests. Doom day preppers. Where it was was the people who were waiting for apocalypse, and was going to be their first meal I guess after Armageddon strikes. The skills the students can learn today, how to make a badass picture of food. How I light it and how I like to compose it? How to tell a story with food and what elements to be bringing in, and they're also going to see how to make an 8000 calorie sandwich. I think this class should be taken by anyone that loves food, photography, history. This classes fit anyone. If you don't want to take this class you're just a boring person. 2. Project: So, today, what we're going to do is we're going to learn how to tell a story through food. I'm going to make this particular meal of Elvis Presley. I'm going to show you how I do it and relate to it. But what I want for you to do, is to be able to take similar cues and to be able to take your own story from history, and recreate it using the same methods. So, also some of the skills that I want you guys to take away from this today, I want you to be able to learn how to basically bring this to life as a two-dimensional image. In terms of like shooting it on your camera or your phone. I want to show you how I would prop things and help to bring the story in. Basically, to make this thing look really cool. I'm really looking forward to what you make a new share, because that's what this whole thing is about. It's about taking something that interests you and sharing it with an audience. Telling people the story and just bringing everyone into the whole fun of history through food. So, this project today, is probably going to take about an hour of your time. Then, maybe another hour just in prepping, if you need to go out and shop some things. But, it shouldn't take too long at all. I think the trickiest part of this project, is going to be figuring out what it is you want to do. Because as soon as I show you where I find inspiration, you're going to see there's so much out there and you're just going to have a hard time picking what the one thing as you settle on. I always like to focus on projects that interests me. Because I feel if something interests me, there's going to be a much larger audience that are also going to really enjoy that as well. So, now, we know what we're going to be doing today, why don't we get started? 3. Storytelling Inspiration: So, in terms of inspiration, I mean, don't tell me that it's hard to find. I mean, all of us have something in common. We're born, we eat, we die, and the eating is what we're interested in today and what I'm really fascinated by, and just any story, any interaction with any kind of media, when there's something about food, that sort of makes my ears perk up and especially when it challenges my expected notion of what something is and then I want to try and tell that story. For a few guys, the things that I think are really easy places to start is just like popular culture, songs, Snoop Dogg's gin and juice. It could be a childhood story, Alice in Wonderland, what happened to the Tea Party? It could be a political theme or something religious. We could be doing Passover versus Christmas, exploring different religions through food and last meals and those things. Or it could be even something more personal like what your parents had at their wedding and trying to recreate that. But using food to draw in the viewer and just tell a story that suddenly everyone can sympathize and empathize with through food. If I don't write stuff down I forget it really quickly. So, I keep a notebook where I write down all these things that jump to mind and they might be totally unfleshed up or crazy or whatever, but I think it's really important to keep a just like your own encyclopedia of your ideas. Then when I get time to create these things, this is where I come back to and I start looking at these things and see what jumps out of me again as being really interesting things. I mean, it could be, here we are, cocktails from films, the orange whip from the Blues Brothers and The Flaming Moe from The Simpsons. When I was looking at drinks, and I wanted to do something with cocktails, I was also reading a book recently all about daily rituals of famous people and their habits. Either they came to Tesla and I mean it was just so interesting, it was talking about how Tesla being Edisons intern, but then it got into Tesla's whole culinary ways and he ate alone every day at the Palm Room in the Waldolf Astoria at 8 PM sharp. He called on his order early and had it served by the Matred with 18 napkins and he would repolish everything and calculate the cubic contents of each dish before eating, and he could never enjoy his food without this ritual. It's those sort of stories that I just think, isn't that amazing. But it's one thing to have it on the page, but that's where I feel it's my job to kind of bring this to life and to better bring this to a wider audience and have them enjoy it as well. So, today what we're going to do is we're going to look at the food of Elvis Presley. In particular, a sandwich of his called the Fool's Gold, which is slightly less known sandwich than the famous Elvis which is the fried bread with peanut butter and banana. Now the Fool's Gold, I stumbled upon online and I was reading a little bit about it on Wikipedia, and it referred to a book which was since out of print. So, I went on eBay and bought it, and it was, 'The Life and Cuisine' of Elvis Presley. So, thank you David Adler for helping make today so much easier for us all. Now the Fool's Gold Loaf, what the whole kind of story, just jumped out at me. Elvis was in Graceland, entertaining a couple of law enforcement officers from Colorado, and he spoke about the sandwich that he had at the Colorado mine company, which is a restaurant in Denver. The sandwich, consisted of a loaf of bread that was hollowed out and it was filled with an entire jar of peanut butter, and an entire jar of grape jelly, and a pound of bacon. He was telling them about this and decided they all needed to have it immediately. So, Elvis called his chauffeur, he came and picked them up, and drove them straight to the Memphis airport, they got on his private jet, Lisa Marie and flew to Denver, and on the way, called up the Colorado mine company. He had 22 loaves of the sandwich brought to the airport for them to have as soon as they arrived. The base he got out of the plane, Elvis was also notorious for inviting everyone to join him. So, the pilots joined them and they all sat down. They wish he never left the airport, and ate the sandwiches with champagne imperial, got back on the plane and flew back to Memphis that night. So, I want to bring that story to life today by showing you how I would envision this meal went down. Something else that it really interests me about this, and this particular food and Elvis, is that the food to me is such a kind of paradox of which to me Elvis is he's the king, but he's also got these really like naive and kind of almost common taste. There's something I want to show up here. It's he was attracted to this law, the sandwich because it was 46 dollars, ''I'm wealthy, I'm the king, that's what I want. But it's also just junk.'' When he was in the army in Germany, I mean he wanted the cook to come over to cook him home, things that he was familiar with from growing up in Tennessee, and this is what I love about Elvis is this kind of back and forth between wealthy and just the common things, the champagne at the table, but all he really wants is the soft drink. Those kind of trappings of wealth and the common person, and that was, I think what was part of his success was he spoke to this audience that was a mess, but kind of put himself on this pedestal. So, if anyone's having trouble in getting started on this project, just take a look in the resource section of this class. I've got a bunch of starting points that might be a good place to start with some inspiration. I mean or just take something I've already done and just reinterpret it and show me again how you think that's actually went down and tell me I'm wrong. 4. Concept and Composition: So, with today's project, where we're going to start with is the concepting phase, and the way I recommend you do this is almost start to put the picture on your head as a starting point. For this one here, I'm thinking, they're in the airport at Colorado. Let's start with the table. What kind of a table is it? Something is 1976. It's probably something quite chintzy, easy, delicious kind of a cheap table surface. I'm also thinking this stuff's being delivered. So it's probably in paper bags and plastic bags. There's nothing to flash here. I also want to bring in a couple of key elements, that relate to the people at the table. I want to have something that's a cue to Elvis. I want to have something that has a cue to the pilot, and I want to have something that's a cue to the law enforcement officers. So. I'm thinking Elvis, what's iconic 1976 is as big days. I'm going to try and get some glasses. A pilot? Do I get a hat or something like that.? Maybe even old pilot log book. Then for the law enforcement officers, I don't really want to go down the road of getting guns or anything like that, and I think that's kind of cliche, and not a can of worms I want to open up. So maybe it's more about badges. So, I'm going to try and get those little crumbs that you sprinkle around the food, brings in the story of who's there. The actual food itself, that's the easy part. This basically, the ingredients to make this are stuff that you can find at any supermarket: jelly, peanut butter, bacon, bread, done. So, in terms of the style of the shot, I'm thinking, if we're in an airport, that's probably lit by neon lights. So, we don't need to get too technical with the lighting. Also, with these things, I like to make things simple. That's what we're going to show here. So, it's probably going to be well-lit. It's not going to be too moody. I'll also bring in a few variations of what actually looks good on the fly. Is the sandwich untouched? Has a sandwich had a bite taken out of it? Do they cut it up to share amongst themselves? I'm going to see what looks best, and at the end of the day, the thing you've got to remember is no one knows the creative process, they just see the final. Apart from you guys, people only ever get to see the final image. So, they assume everything was deliberate on the way there. You have the luxury on the journey to making that final product of being able to play, and figure out different things that work and don't work. So, I really encourage that. Then at the end, just come out with that, live with it, and no one's going to think about. Don't be apologetic about the lighting or anything else. It's just that's that and everyone will think it's awesome. So, now we know what we're going to do today. Let's go shopping and make a fool's gold sandwich. 5. Supplies and Props: So, I've just been out shopping. I've got us some champagne and I've got some fresh loaves of bread to resonate the sandwich. So, I just want to make clear that when I do these projects, I also try to do them as cheaply and streamlined as possible. So, all the stuff I got at a local store. I also got ginger oil because as a little bit of a pro tip. I'm not going to open the champagne, I'm going to save that for a real celebration. But ginger oil looks just like champagne when it goes in a glass. I've also got a couple of things online, that are going to help tell the story. I got a police badge. But just be aware when you buy a police badge online that comes with the badging, don't just by the holder. So, I think we're going to shoot it from the back today. I was a little disappointed with that. I also have my trustee intern will print out a couple of options for what we're going to do for the logbook. So, I printed this out, cut it out and I'm just wrapping it around the book, so it actually looks really like what the Lisa Marie's pilot logbook could look like. I also, of course, got a snazzy pair of shades that will be fit for a king, but I think I'm quite liking rocking these. Everything seems so nice in this yellow tint. Another thing, Elvis always drank his sodas out of a big, big cup. So, I went to the home of America Dunkin' Donuts and got myself a big cup. So, that's what he's going to drink his drink out of as well. You use what's at your disposal. I don't think you need to get too hung up on the backgrounds, on the cutlery, on all those things. For instance, this year everything could just be served on the paper bags, or we could use plates. Plates, if you need plates and glasses go to the Goodwill store. For $5 I'm sure you'd better find all props you need, or just take what you've got from home. Again, no one's going to think about, oh, that glass you didn't buy. They're all just going to see everything and think it was just deliberate anyway. So, money shouldn't be too big a challenge. Yeah, it might cost a few dollars to get these things, that's a reality, but it's such a small outline to get something that's so great and would last forever. I wish you just found this surface in the hallway of the building so it's just an old formica table that I took the legs off. That there looks pretty Denver Airport 1976 to me. Okay. So, I have the liberty of having all these props, is leftovers from shoots that I've done in the past. I don't know if I'm actually going to use any of these, but I'm just going to take a couple of things, just in case they work. So, I'm going to get a couple of plates, and I want something that looks- there's a dead ringer for something from the '70s, as it's that one there. So, I'm going to take those two plates to try. Also a glass for the champagne. It would be nice to have a champagne flute, I don't have a champagne flute here, but that kind of techie for crystal goblet I think is something that could pass. Then I've got a bunch of old knives and folks. So, maybe that's a bad country house. I like this one here because it's got that, I don't know, it reminds me of a freeze you might see in a very brown veneer kitchen. So, I'll grab that and I'll just take a fork just ahead. So anyway, I'm just going to test these things out. They may or may not work, but it's just good to have. So, I'll go back and put these down on set. 6. Prepping the Scene: So, now is that time where I start talking about the equipment, and although having a nice big camera like this is awesome, it's not totally necessary. I'm actually going to shoot with two cameras today, with this one here and this one here. The reason, I mean, to me, this camera is as good just because most people are only get to see this such a small resolution. But for me, because I have got this camera, and I really want to use it, and people want prints, I do them big so they can be printed out. But 99 percent of people who have to see these pictures are going to see them so small that it doesn't really matter so much what it was created on. So, I'm going to just quickly set up on here and give us idea of the size of my frame so I can then bring in all the other stuff. I'm going to use a zoom lens as well, just because it's way easier to get to come in and out of the picture than being one fixed place. I think also being overhid is a good way to shoot these things mainly because, if you come down lower, you're seeing everything in the background, and my studio doesn't exactly look like an airport in Denver. So, if you come above, I think it, A, it cuts out so much of the background, and B, I think as a viewer looking at the picture, it puts you in the point of view of someone who's at the table. You can really relate to it. So, I'm going to start with something like this coming in, and now I'm going to start to build the scene. So, I guess the first thing I want to do, is I want to see how big one of these loaves of bread is for scale and how many I want in here. I mean, the story says that they had 22 loaves, but I mean, that's just gratuitous at that point. So, I've got three of them where I want one is the central one, and then I want another two kind of just peeking in. So, that's about right there. Food is such a personal thing, as something all of us can relate to all the different types of food, and it's one of those things I think like taste and smell remain with us for so long. So, that's why food can be such a great common denominator in these kind of things. So, that's what I'm trying to achieve here, is to better put the viewer in really almost smell and taste these things, and I've got a feeling with this is almost like almost it's such a sideshow this sandwich, that there's almost like a curiosity to taste it but be repelled at the same time. That's that's what I want the viewer to be able to respond to here. I mean, I think that is something that is such a metaphor for all of us is the kind of curiosity but the grossness with the magic, and to me, that's what really sums up this fool's gold loaf. So, let's cook one of these things, let's see how it looks. So, now that I've got a basic idea of how I want the picture to look and how it's going to be framed, now, it's time to make these sandwiches. So, I'm going to start with the butter on the outside of them because the bread is going to be baked first and then hollowed out for all the ingredients. Okay, and now time for some bacon, and just to be extra and really get them crispy, I'm just going to throw in a bit more butter as well. Don't let any lack of cooking prowess to tell you either. I am a horrible cook, and I can almost feel like it has helped me because it's like suddenly this magic world of food that I'm not really that much a part of. I also pick these projects that I can approach. But if I'm not comfortable, I also think collaboration can be such a great way to do projects as well. So, that's why a lot of my things, I also do with other people, but something like this, it's like I'm really comfortable doing it. So, let's see how these came out. Okay. So, something to think about as you're doing this is I have no idea. It hasn't been written down how this thing's are actually prepared. So, I'm actually going to do a couple of different ways. I don't know if the peanut butter and jelly are mixed together, if they're done separately, how this whole thing lives together. So, it's a little bit ambiguous. So, there's no right or wrong way for how you have your dishes looking when it comes down to those details. Okay. So, I'm going to start with the jelly on the bottom. Okay. So, now we've got an entire jar of jelly in there. So, now I'm going to put this in just. Now, again I'm just thinking about how this might have been done at the original restaurant. So, maybe it's going to be a little criss-cross. Now, let's see how the peanut butter goes. So, it did say creamy peanut butter was described, so that's what I've gone for. I mean, I still can't, for the life of me, work out why all of us get so big towards the end of his life. He was eating so well. Okay. Now the moment of truth. Let's bring these guys together. That is heavy. I mean it was a pound of bacon, and then with those two guys. I mean, I think that's going to be a good four pounds or five pounds sandwich. Okay. So, now how would this thing come out of the restaurant? So, I'm going to grab a paper bag and put this in. I feel they would have just wrapped it tight. To me, this feels like good standard delivery fare. So, I'm just going to do the other one, the slight different variation, and then we'll set up our shot after. So, and the other thing starts to happen is you make the food. I don't know, you really start to put yourself, and at the time and place this is happening, and you start to empathize with the person, like immediately and I'm already starting to think about the kind of person who would be eating this, and Elvis almost starts to become quite a tragic figure as these are parts of his diet because ultimately his body just gave up at the end. I know a lot of that has to do with the drugs that he was taking in terms of uppers and downers and everything else, but his diet had such a big part of that too, and his liver giving up and the way he had never really made a conscious decision to eat healthily at all. That was never really part of it. They're all such quick small pleasures or vices or things, you can start to, I mean I'm starting to relate again to the person who'll be putting this in his stomach. It's not necessarily a sane-thinking person. Wow. Okay. Let's go and shoot this. 7. Setting up the Shot: So now, we're going to start to set up the shot. So I'm going to bring in the key elements and then as just a matter of rearranging and reshuffling the deck until I get the balance that I'm really happy with and looking for. So, I'm going to start with sandwich number one. I'm then going to bring in the props, the flight logbook, police badge, an oversized glasses. Now, they're also drinking the champagne and he's got his big drink. So, these guys come into play. Then, we have champagne. I'm going to get the bottle of champagne just so it's going to be slightly out of focus and cropped but just so it gives a visual cue that there is actually a bottle of champagne here as well and they were drinking Perry and mineral water. So, that will probably be near that. Is it on a plate? Did I have a couple of bites of this before he got stuck into it? Are there other loaves around it? Because the story goes, there are 22 loaves. But I'm assuming between the six of them, if we have over us the two policemen and let's say, three crew members. I'm assuming they're not making much of a dent in the 22. It's going to be taking them back to Graceland for his extended policy. So, I don't think we need to show everything. So, I think, as I look at his plate, I think visually, that makes the picture much more interesting. So I'm going to incorporate the plates into this. I am also going to bring in some towelettes and napkins and this is probably more resonant for people overseas but always find in the states, that whenever you get anything delivered, they have this kind of just a try of some sort of a napkin. It's never quite enough to do the job. So they end up giving these stacks of them. To me, there also such diner napkins, because when you're in a diner, they have these kind of silver dispensers and you pull them out one leaf at a time. So I got a bunch of these because I feel this is what would have come with this. So, I'm going to have them on hand. Just some towelettes. I kind of like the way that these here were branded Royals since 1949 and I kind of feel looking at the branding has never changed either. So I'm like, "This could be something interesting to have." And I'm not committed to having all these things in. I think, they're just interesting to have around and I can kind of pull things in to get the balance right. So, I'm going to start without the knife and fork. I want the log book in there somehow. Okay. So now, Elvis doesn't drink. He didn't really agree with him. He said he drank a few times but didn't enjoy the feeling of it. So, he's the one who's going to be drinking the mineral water and he always like to drink things in big cups. Again to me, I mean, that's just such a thing that resonates with me about the king. Everything's big. The sandwich is big. The glasses are big. The cup's big. It's like in in his kingdom, everything's massive. So I got the cup at Dunkin Donuts where everything is massive. But I also don't want to be branded Dunkin Donuts. I don't want you to see it but that's another good thing about shooting from above, is it that the label and stuff like that kind of doesn't matter. Also, this is not really a focus of it. This is mainly about the sandwich. So, these other things just kind of frame, and tell the story, and give it away. 8. Shooting 1st Composition: Now I'm going to come into the camera and I'm going to take a shot just to sort of see where we're at. I'm just going to use the available natural light. To me, when they got off the plane, they came into like a little office cafeteria area in the airport hangar. To me, the lighting is kind of similar to what we've got here, which is just straight neons in the roof. That's the way I'm going to start the shot. It's just shooting natural with that, not bringing in any strobes or anything else. So, basically, my first shot is really nothing to write home about. It doesn't even look like anything good. So, I start looking at this and I'm like, okay, what do I like, what don't I like. The first thing I do is I'm going to change the crop. At the moment, you can see I'm shooting a portrait. I'm going to bring it down to a square just because a square is a format that can be shared on every media. It can be used in Instagram, Facebook, websites, anything like that. Whereas often if you go landscape, things get cropped down into a square and you lose so much real estate. So, square's just such a good thing to be able to shoot in and share. So, I'm going to think about this being in a square format. Also, as I look at my image, you don't really see anything. The drink is too predominant. You're not really seeing anything that's inside the sandwich. It's even coming from the wrong direction. So, I'm going to bring this around here, get the glasses. I think the champagne should take more. As I look at this, I start to realize that we need to see more of it. It needs to be kind of grosser, and more in your face, and more impactful. I mean, the sandwich has done most of the hard work for us. It's such a visual thing. So, let me shoot one more. I'm also just going to put a crop on this. I've got my camera attached to my computer so I can see the pictures come up in real time and then I can kind of work with it from there. I could do it on the back of the camera but I've just got a bigger screen to look at so I just get more. I can see more of what's going on. The other thing that's really important is to shoot a gray card. So, basically for anyone out there who doesn't know, a gray card is literally just a pure gray surface that you can use in software to calibrate all the colors against it. Because I'm going to change the light set up a lot, it's going to be good each time I change it to shoot one of these just so I know what is true gray. It's like when you often shoot in a room and you've got neon lights and everything turns out green. That's just because all the colors are off. This will just help reset it. If you're shooting on a phone, I mean, you can easily calibrate the color on that afterwards and change the color balance to get what you want. This is just a much more precise way of doing it. On my computer, I'm going to set the color balance. Bang. I'm going to come back to the way I'm framing this and looking at it. I feel that the image is not big enough. I want to show the scale of the sandwich. So, I'm going to come back and do another shot where I pull back and you see much more of what's going on here. This loaf is an absolute monster. Maybe, I'm going to see, even if I take it out of this and just leave it on. Okay, now we're starting to get somewhere. So I'm going to come up, I'm going to take a shot. I'm going to look. That's now starting to get much more on kind of the ballpark of where I want to be. I want to show what's inside because at the moment, there's too much of the bread surface, where this is so much about what's on the inside. Now, this is one of those kind of judgment calls you make as you're making your dish. It's what aspect and what sort of phase are you going to have this on. I think to engage with it and have someone as if they've taken a few bites, I always think that's a really good thing. You look at it and you can almost start to taste it. I think that that also separates it from typical food porn where everything's presented the moment before you eat it. I think there's no energy in the food there. If there's a bite taken out of it, if there's a dirty knife and fork, somehow there's just a lot more energy sort of circling in the picture. I don't know, I like looking at it more. 9. Shooting 2nd Composition: Because these are so long, you've got the liberty of trying different things. I'm actually going to try slicing this because I think it could be really interesting to see a couple of slices of it on the side. So now, we've got the loaf sliced. I think now we're starting to get a lot more atmosphere popping into this. Also for anyone that's interested, we're just in a really neutrally-lit room. I'm shooting at ISO 800, one-thirtieth of a second and at F4. I like to shoot usually quite wide open and have a shallower depth of field, just because it allows you to guide the focus and with something like this, the depth of field is going to be just a few inches, and that way you're not focusing on the top of the glass or the top of the straw or champagne. You're coming in there, the juicy part of this fool's gold loaf. So, and also when I get it to where I want to get it, I'm going to try some different variations too and options but this is just a great average starting point. So, let me just take a quick snap. We'll see how that is. Okay so now, I feel like I'm starting to get somewhere. There's a couple of blank spots and impulse that I want to fill up and I can't see the police badge at the moment. So, I'm going to get that in over here. I want to get a bite out of the main loaf here. So, I'm not quite brave enough to do the whole thing well, why not? I'm going to break it to start with, okay. The best way to make it look like it's had a bite taken out of it is to take a bite out of it. So, let's see what this is like. I can't do this and not try this. Man, whoa, that's rich. Got it all down my wrist too. Oh, that's tough to get down. Well, I commend anyone who would finish one of these. One bite is almost enough. Now I'm going to put this back in place so it looks like a man's been having a bite of that. I'm also going to take bits and pieces of this and just make it a little bit of a mess on the plate and style it a little bit. Okay. Lets do another shot. Now this is really starting to come together. I think now you're getting the idea of the decadence that's going on. You're getting the idea of the elements of the policeman, Elvis and a pilot, all coming into the shot. So now it's just about I'm going to fine-tune things. I'm liking this angle low. So, I'm going to push the glass back just as a bit of that. I'm going to might even just put this dirty guy on there. Nice. I want the drink just really on the outs like this. It's not that fascinating a thing. I don't really want the Perrier in there but I feel like the lid can live. Open up a couple of these towelettes. When you're doing something messy like this, the good thing is you can use it on the way. I can't believe that. I'm sure they're going to be bits of jelly and peanut butter turning up for a long time. I want a bit more red in here because it's such a vibrant color. So I'm just going to pull a little bit out from in there so you get to really see a lot of that spewing out. I want to see more bacon. Okay, and now here's, for the champagne, I'm going to put a bit more of this in here so we get some effervescence. Great. I'm getting happy where it is. I just want to tweak it a bit. I'm actually going to bring the camera a fraction lower so we can see into the guts of the sandwich a bit more. You're not coming down too much that we're seeing everything falling off. I also want this sandwich to come in a bit more of an angle and be a little bit lower. I always feel like straight lines in a picture are distracting because if they're not right on, that's something that subconsciously you look at and it's what draws your attention in there. I think when things are coming in at angles, everything just has a better rhythm about it as well. So that's something that I'm looking at doing here is trying to, and sometimes it's easier to do it in camera and even take the camera off so I can find an angle and I think I like this angle here. Okay. I think I've found it. Okay. So now I can see the whole guts of the sandwich. It becomes really visual and really, that's what I want because were making the sandwich the hero of the shot. We've got the little bits of bread that are cut, that terrace up and they almost walk your way to the to the main sandwich, and you've got this knife that's pointing down there. You've got the bottles that are framing it. There's a natural grandstand around the main event, which is the sandwich, and that's what I want. I think when you look at a picture, you shouldn't have to figure out what you're trying to see. The photographer should be able to show you what it is they want you to look at. They do that by creating these little visual cues around it. I think I'm in a much, much better position for that now and the balances there. So now I'm also just going to try a couple of other like zoom in because I want to be able to show just enough of the outside that you get what it is, but I don't want it to be too distracting. Okay. So, I also really like to break lines. If there are straight lines, you don't want something necessary just touching the line. You want it broken. So it's just bringing the knife a little bit over the top of that line there. I think everything else is looking pretty damn good but I can't see Elvis's big soda. So, I just want to find a way to bring that into the frame. I might even be coming in right at the bottom and if I do it right the straw will point into the middle again. So it will just help guide the eyes back in. So what I'm going to do, the other thing that I think could be really interesting here, if the loaf was cut in half and you got to see another segment of it, so you didn't just have this whole clean surface. But I don't know how that's going to look, and the whole thing may end up falling apart, so I'm going to do that after I've tried a few lighting variations just as kind of Plan B. So now I'm going to set up some lights. 10. Shooting with Lights: So, now, I've got the composition that I'm happy with. The balance of everything seems totally right. So, now what I'm going to do, I'm going to play with some different lighting variations. We've shot it under natural light, and in this kind of lighting, the other thing I'm going to do, I'm just going to show you, you can easily take pretty much the same photo on your phone. So, I'm just going to get a couple more while I'm at it. These look terrific as well. So, I'm just saying you don't need all this big equipment. Don't be limited by it. See what you have almost as a strength rather than a weakness, because you'll always find creative ways to deal with what your limitations are. Here, I've brought my lights into this. I'm going to start with a set up that, again, I'm thinking about I'm in a room. You've probably got some overhead lights, but I'm bringing in a side light as well. because the advantage of having a sidelight is it can create some shadows coming from the side that just give everything a bit more depth. Then, I can play with the kind of the ratio of these. At the moment, this one here, this hitting the ceiling, is brighter than the side light. But I can start to tip the scales to bring the side light brighter, which will mean the shadows will become more pronounced. I just want to see how these things start to affect what I'm doing. So, look, it's great to be able to shoot under natural light. It's a real luxury to be able to do that. But when you have strobes and other types of lighting that you can bring in, it just allows you to fine tune things, and get things the way that you want. But also, the other reason I like to bring the lights in, I'm now bringing in happy accidents into the equation. I'm like, "Let's see what happens. There might be something I'm totally missing, when I'm seeing quite a flattened natural light". So, let's have a play. I brought the side light on the side as well, because this is a side where the sandwich is open up. I don't want the light coming from the side and just shadowing everything inside and making it dark. I want that still to be the hero of the image. So, the types of lights that I'm using today are Profotos, they're strobe and they're really good and strong. They're not monolights as a pack. So, basically when you've got the pack, it means you can get more electricity into the lights to make them more powerful. I've also got monolights. Monolights are a lot more convenient in a lot of things, but when I'm in the studio, this is my lighting of preference. If you don't have access to strobes, I would go natural lighting. You can use constant light with ARRIs and you can even get those really cheap little Home Depot things. I always find them so difficult. I always find that there's such a hot spot and not a hot spot. I mean, my two cents is get a cheap set of monolights or get or just shoot natural light. So, I'm going to reset the camera settings now because we're not shooting ambient light. So, I'm going to bring the ISO down to 200, and bring my shutter speed up to 160. I'm going to bring it up to about F9, and I'm going to see how this looks. Take a look there. Okay. So, it's way too bright. First thing I'm going to do is drop the ISO down to 100. Shoot that again. We're still pretty bright. So, I'm going to bring that lights down here. The first thing that really is going to jump out at you now is that the colors are all off. It's looking like really magenta and red. That's because from shooting an ambient light, the color temperature strobes is so different. So, this is where we need to get the gray card again. Get my gray card. Good work. I got it in the jelly. I'll reset the settings. Basically, the biggest difference right now is because I'm shooting at ISO 100, the grain is much smaller. But you don't really notice it until you blow it up big. So, like I said, I've to do things big, because I have people who want to order prints from me,when I do exhibitions and things. But that's just totally at the high end. So, that's something that makes a difference for me. But, if it's just going to be shit on Instagram, it really doesn't matter. But the other thing the lights allow is, it just sort of brings in the contrast and punchiness. I'm able to get much more shine on the things like the jelly. That's also why I shoot at the roof because it essentially makes a massive of light source. So I've got an umbrella here, which is going into and reflecting but it's reflecting this big. When I should hit the roof, basically, the whole roof is coming back as the umbrella. So, I'm getting a very soft light raining down on this, and a much more direct light coming this way. Now, I want to bring a bit more contrast into this. So, I'm going to make the soft light less, and the other one more predominant. So, I'm just going to change up the ratios. Take a look there. You can already see now, the shadows are starting to become much deeper, which is what I was wanting to have happen here. I'm going to turn it up just a little because it was getting a little bit dark. Now, because I'm also shooting at F9 as opposed to F4, where I was before, a little bit more of this and focus. So, I want to try and find the middle ground. I don't want everything to be so sharp. So, I'm going to come down to 6.3, and I'll again drop the lights. Great. So, this time, it look really awesome. So, now, I just want to take this light and just like see what it's like if I bring it down lower on this shot. So, right now, all I'm really doing is just giving a whole bunch of variations and then the other thing, I can decide which is my favorite. As you do this, it's a good time to look at everything and see if anything is not working or turning flat. The first thing I notice is, where we had the champagne, that's gone flat. Just to kind of a pro tip, if you take a little bit of salt, just like a pinch, and you put it in the bottom of the drink. Look at that. I really like fezzes and fuels. It will keep pumping through for a while. So, that's that. Now, I just want to take the light and try all these different places. And just be careful you don't stand in the light. Also, something above it. Remember as you bring the light closer to the object, it's going to get stronger. So, as I change the angle, I still always try and keep it a similar distance away. But just remember, if you're shooting in raw, you also have the liberty, afterwards, to be at a push and pull, your exposure of that if things are too blown out, and as I look at this now, the plate is getting really hot. So, I'm going to bring that back, and I think the angle was working better. Okay. Now, with this here, as well, you notice that the background objects are starting to get a little bit dark. So, I'm going to try putting a bounce card in the other side, which basically means this light, when it comes through here, it's going to hit the bounce card and bounce back on the other side, and just kind of fill in the shadows a little bit. So, I've got that shot before, and then I shoot this now. As I go back between those two, you see the shadow has just become a little bit denser on the last one than they are in that. Look, there's no right or wrong way. Not one is not better than the other. It's just down to personal preference. So, it's at this point, where I'm feeling pretty good about this image. But before I step away, there's one thing I want to do. I want to try chopping the roll in half, because that was the one thing that I thought could make a difference earlier on. But also it might ruin the whole thing. I didn't want to do that too early. So, let's just take a look at this. So, now I've got the shot. I just really wanted to play around with a couple of, goes in it. I want to pull it apart, I want to get it really gross, really over the top. Then, I'm might also just take my camera off the tripod and just freehand a couple just to have- this just feels nice to know you've covered the bases. There's nothing worse than after you've spent all this time prepping, and shopping, and things, and then saying to yourself, "Oh, I wish I had just tried something else." So really, that's all I'm doing is making sure that I'm not going to regret anything right at the end. So, I'm just going to shoot like that. I'm might even just open it up a bit, so you really get to see the inside, bring out some of the bacon. It's really gross, I expect. Let me pull that out. There. I think we've got plenty of great ones to choose from there. 11. Image Selection and Retouching: The next step is to select the image that is going to be the winner and then retouching. So, I'm going to go through the software that I shot everything on, Capture One. It's always kind of nice to look at the progression from the first starting images, the kind of establishing ones through to where you got to at the end. So, here, you kind of see as you build, the scenes being build, to the light being changed and all the variables happening to here where the first shots of the strobes come in. Kind of as I just quickly go through everything, I can see kind of genuine, generally where I really want to be, and I really like the strobes and towards the end because I like the way that this thing becomes so kind of, it almost looks like a body that's opened up. And I really want this to look like the meal of a man who's only got 18 months left to live. So, that's where I want to be. So, as one of those last shots, I think is the one for me. So, I just start to look at the balance and the different angles, and that also is one of the shots I got right at the end after I slice the loaf in half, and I was like, "Let's just try the variation." So, because actually the last frame is the one that I liked the most. We've got this great reflection, and the jelly, the bacon is totally identifiable, there's bubbles in the champagne. You can see the glasses, the champagne, the log book, the police badge. You've kind of got all those cues. There's also, in the foreground, the stuff is slightly soft. So, your eyes are immediately drawn into the center. So, now, I've got this here, I'm just going to quickly start tweaking a few of the kind of color balances on it. I really, I'm not a massive retouch it to the point that things don't look like they were when they're done. I'm just going to experiment with like filling in a bit of a shadow, like pushing the whites back a little bit, can should I desaturate clarity, just a few of those little bits and pieces. So, I'm just going to start with the highlights first. Basically, what this does is where the whites have kind of been blown out. It just brings that back in, and that's what I want to bring that back in. I think that looks better. Again, I'm putting myself back in a room, a lunch room in an airport in Colorado. Now, with the shadows, I feel the shadows were a little bit dark and dominant there. So, I'll probably going to bring a little bit light back into those. Now, vignetting is a really interesting tool, because what that does is it kind of naturally draws your eye into the center, and I don't like using too much of it. So, basically, this is like if it was a reverse vignette, it means everything is kind of like blowing out of the outsides. If I take it back to where it's natively shot at, it looks like that, but I just want to just draw your attention in a little bit, and it's just a great way to subtly do that. So, I'm going to drop a little bit of a vignette on there. I'm going to look at saturation next. Do I really want to push the saturation and make this very kind of colorful and red? Or do I want to drop it back a little bit? Now, this is what I find is, it's something from 1976. I want this to look a little bit nostalgic. When I think of photos from that era, and looking at my parents that shortly after they're married, everything's kind of a little bit yellow. So, that's what I want to do. I almost want to bring the saturation down and then turn up the warmth and the Kelvin temperature. So, I've desaturated a little bit, and then I'm going to make it a little bit yellower. I don't want to make it too yellow, I'm going to bring it more like there, and then I think it's desaturated little bit much, and then come into about there. Also, just going to push exposure touch. Now, it starts to become an image, that to me, is kind of a little bit nostalgic as well, so I'm pretty happy with that. I just want to quickly compare to the other shop, because sometimes when you work on an image for a while, you get so close to it, you can't actually remember what was good and what was bad and where the starting point was, and that's where we were before, and that's where we are now. I think I might just turn the temperature down a little bit. So, I'm just doing some really, really small fine tuning to about their, just bring up a touch and bring the contrast a little bit, and then finally just look at those whites again, and I'm going to drop it back. Then, the final thing is clarity, which is like sharpening, like mid-level sharpening. If you take the clarity off, that's when you get that really kind of like soft glamory picture, which just makes me feel queasy, or if you go too hard it starts to look like one of those sort of over retouched kind of wrapper images, but I think a little bit of clarity can be kind of nice on food when you're not trying to make it look appetizing. It just basically pushes contrast and the mid-level of the curve. So, I'm going to put a little bit of clarity in there, and there we have it. So, I'm going to process out at 20 by 20 inches, at 300 DPI, which is way bigger than anything you'd ever need on web, but if I have to make prints of this, it's kind of perfect. So, that's what I'm going to do and now I've got my JPEG, should be ready right here, and there it is. I don't even feel like I need to retouch anything of this. All I really want to do is color correction and push it, which I was able to do in Capture One. So, now, that's kind of good to go. 12. Incorporating Text: Just as the last step, I think it's really helpful to have an option of having your image with some text that gives it, anchors it to what it is. Because if you've got an image online and it's just like a written description below, it becomes very hard to share and the two get separated very easily. So, I like to take an image and then, have the text in there, just mainly for web views. If someone orders prints, I don't typically have that there. But on the web, I think it's really helpful. So, you can drop it into whatever software you're comfortable with, I happen to prefer Photoshop. But, a lot people might use Illustrator or something else. I'm essentially just going to put the things that really matter - Elvis Presley, the Fools Gold Loaf for the year, and then I'm going to see if anything else needs to be incorporated. So, look I don't know, I mean I'm just thinking at the moment, do I make it look like a bit of a Polaroid and then I add the text underneath it. I think sometimes it can be really good with text to take a color that already exists within the palette. So, I mean like let's start with that beforehand, so maybe it's a deep, I want it to be dark but maybe it's this deep red color like so maybe I'll come into kind of here. So, it's almost like a Burgundy or a Claret. Now, I'm going to go on the text and just say- So, really I mean all I'm doing I mean I've got absolutely no topography background, I mean I'm just selecting something that's in here and I'm going to come back to this later on. So, I often think it's quite good to take some time but I just for now want to show you what could be hypothetically an option. And I come in here we're just going to crop it a little bit on it. So, the final thing I've done is I've dropped in Photoshop which is the software that I'm the most familiar and comfortable using and I've just put a thin white border around it that makes it look like an old instant Polaroid and I've dropped and just some simple handwriting. I mean I've got no background in typography and I'm sure I'm breaking all rules but anyway, at the end of the day, to me if I was looking at this, it would jump out and I would know exactly what it was that I was looking at. I think that looking at that image now, I mean that's ready to go out there you see what it is. You can also put, I could put a recipe in here for what the Fools Gold is or I could say this was Colorado airport had with these two offices. You can tell however much of the story you want. At the moment, I'm quite happy with this. 13. Final Thoughts: So, I hope you've enjoyed watching me go from coming up with inspiration, to pulling all the props, to making the sandwich, testing the lighting, bringing the whole thing to life in full circle. Hopefully, feel like I've been able to bring like a little glimpse of 1976 in an airport hangar in Denver to modern day wherever you are. Anyway, look I'm really, really excited to see what you guys will come up with. Please, just beat me at my own game, just tell an awesome story with pictures, upload it. I'm really excited to see, and comment, and give my feedback, and all that stuff. Lucky, in the meantime, there's nothing I hate more than wasting food, so I've got a big ass sandwich to get through. It's heavy. Anyway, enjoy. It's actually is really good. 14. Explore Photo Classes on Skillshare: