Textured Toast: Dramatic Side-Lit Photography | Tabitha Park | Skillshare

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Textured Toast: Dramatic Side-Lit Photography

teacher avatar Tabitha Park, Product & Food Photographer

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

8 Lessons (54m)
    • 1. Introduction

    • 2. Planning

    • 3. Lighting and Scene Setup

    • 4. Avocado Toast Prep

    • 5. Composition

    • 6. Styling and Shooting

    • 7. Lightroom and Photoshop Edit

    • 8. Class Takeaways and Final Thoughts

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About This Class

This class is all about shaping window light to highlight the texture and contrast in your flat lay photos. We'll be utilizing Raking Light and I'll show you a few techniques for added drama and punch. Gone are the days of lifeless "blah" flat lays!

We will be planning, staging, styling, and photographing gourmet toasts for the class project.

By the end of this class you'll be able to:

  • Utilize inexpensive light modifiers to control the natural light in your home
  • Avoid common compositional hang-ups and crop with intention
  • Develop a plan before shooting day to save you time and trouble if something goes awry
  • Hone your eye for reading light in an image
  • Make better decisions about optimizing your image size for its final destination

This class is for Intermediate-level photographers with a good understanding of Manual mode and how to achieve properly-exposed images. Ideally you're working with a DSLR or Mirrorless camera, however, the lighting and compositional techniques will apply even if you're using a smart phone (I use my iPhone in part of the lighting lesson!)


Meet Your Teacher

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Tabitha Park

Product & Food Photographer

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Hi! I'm Tabitha and I teach photography classes. I'm a lifestyle, product, and food photographer living in the Pacific Northwest with my husband, Taylor, Smallcat, and our 12 gorgeous chickens! I love plants and coffee and naps. In my spare time I'm a reckless gardener and collector of "garbage" that might be "useful someday"

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1. Introduction: Hey, I'm Tabitha and in this photography class, I'm going to show you how to add depth and drama to your overhead photos and flat lays. When I first got started shooting flat lays, I did not like them at all because I am a person who is so drawn to high contrast, vibrant, beautiful, textured photos, and I wasn't getting this in my flatly. They all looked really flat and not in a good way, and so I have since figured out how to shape my light to make sure I'm adding enough shadow and I'm getting a lot of heavy sidelight to really show off those beautiful textures in my subjects. We're going to be photographing really textured toast and I'm going to show you different ways to add or subtract shadows to give your photos that little bit of pop and drama. We are going to be working with natural light inside of your homes. You don't need any fancy equipment. In part of the class, I even use my iPhone for some of the pictures so you don't need a DSLR but it is recommended and so is a basic knowledge of manual mode. These classes for intermediate level photographers who want to be able to control their light a little better. I'm going to show you how I do it with foam core boards and tracing paper, and it's going to be really cool. By the end of this class, you should have a deeper understanding of the way that lighting works in an image. I'm going to give you some compositional tricks and tips that'll help you no matter what kind of photos that you're taking. I'm going to show you how I approach a crop and plan for the final destination of the photo and I'm going to show you my editing sequence for how I edit pictures like this and prep them for my Instagram accounts. My name is Tabitha. I'm a lifestyle photographer, a content creator, and I teach over 18 classes here on Skillshare. I can't wait to show you how to add more drama and texture and life to your flat lays. Let's get started. 2. Planning: Thank you so much for joining me. The point of this class is to capture a really textured photo of any kind of toast that you like. I picked toast because it's pretty thin, which means we don't have to worry about having a lot of depth of field and the shot. We're doing a flatly and so it'll be pretty easy to just hold your camera over it, take a picture and have everything be in focus. We're going to be using a type of light called raking light. It's silent and it will help make the texture in the subject pop. We're going to be using natural light from a window and I'm going to be blocking half of it to reduce the amount that flows over the subject and then just primarily keep it silent. What we want is something that is exciting and fun to photograph. We want to consider the colors that are involved. So when you're thinking about your toast, if you make avocado toast that's got green in it. Something that contrasts with green is red, so if you think about maybe incorporating something red, like a tomato, maybe strawberry, red onion, you could go yellow or orange. Those go really well with green. Just making sure that you consider the colors in your picture. Don't choose too many, but also make sure that you have something that's going to stand out so that it's not just kind of boring and plain, if that makes sense. I've put together a Pinterest board with a ton of different toast ideas if you're not sure what you want to do, hopefully there's something in there that will get your mind going. One last thing I want you to consider regarding your toast is try to make something that you or someone around you will actually eat. I believe in not being wasteful as a photographer, you will never see me using motor oil or Elmore's glue or shaving cream on any of my baked goods or any sort of food whatsoever because I think that your snack that you prove up should be a reward for the work that you put in making beautiful photographs of it. That's just me though, you're welcome to do your photography however you want, we can be different and that's totally cool. That's just my little two cents in there. I am going to start planning out my thumbnails and show you what that looks like. Here we are in procreate on the iPad. This is where I do all my sketching and pre-planning for my shots. I've got this template setup, it has four thumbnails as well as a section at the bottom where I can identify my focus and draw out a palette. I have left a download link for this in the project section of this class, so you can go and download it or print it out, whatever is going to be helpful for you. Here you can see I start out with my palette, I'm identifying some colors of vegetables or other items that I have or can get pretty easily. I'm going to start out with my first toast, which is my avocado toast with ricotta and tomatoes and then I do a drizzle of black salt on top. I really like the color contrast here. Next up I do a simpler toast. It just has ricotta with these goose berries, onion, I like the orange colors so for a background, I think it'd be nice to have like a bluish tone and then a honey drizzle overall. The next shot, I'm thinking something darker and [inaudible]. We're going to go avocado again and maybe do like circles of red onion. I think that'll add a nice pop of color, and then overall granular salt for texture. Then the last shot, I thought it'd be fun to try a lifestyle look. So I've got plates and silverware. This is blueberry ricotta toast with a honey drizzle. I think the blue and the yellow are really nice compliment together. Then once I'm done sketching everything out, I just take a second to identify what backdrops that I have that I would do this on. Just as an extra step so that I'm wondering day or I can just look and be like, oh yeah, that's what I had in mind. I have finished my thumbnails, looking at them all next to each other, I am most drawn to the classic avocado toast with its tomatoes on it. I love the idea of getting to use my black lava salt that will contrast with the ricotta cheese and this looks so tasty, I'm very hungry. I'm going to go ahead and make sure that I have cherry tomatoes, ricotta, avocados and some nice whole grain bread. I'm going to keep it simple with my backdrops and so I've got a lot of texture and contrast going on in my subject, so I'm going to go with a white roll of paper. It's just going to be really clean and easy to edit if I have any mistakes or spills or anything like that. Now that I have a plan, I'm going to set up my shooting area and prepare my toast. 3. Lighting and Scene Setup: Before I show you my setup and equipment for lighting, I want to cover a few bases. This class is 100 percent natural light. We are going to be utilizing a window. We want diffused light. This either means you have to shoot at a time of day where sunlight does not come directly through your window, or you need to make sure that you're putting up a white sheet, or curtain, or taping up a piece of tracing paper to break up any direct sun that does come through your window. We don't want super harsh shadows and crazy blown out highlights for these. We want to incorporate contrasts, but not that much contrast. Additionally, since we are using window lights, we want to turn off all the other lights in our space, because we don't want to get weird colors and shadows in our setup that are impossible to remove. We want to really just keep it simple, and clean, and make sure we're the ones controlling the light that's entering our scene. As far as time of day goes, you're going to have a pretty sizable window in the morning or early afternoon in which you get a lot of light. I try to avoid shooting right before sunset because typically as the sun is going down, it starts to turn golden, and then I get this gold light in my shot that is not ideal. I try and get all my shooting done in the early afternoon. But some people I know work in the morning, really, it just depends on your personal preference, and your space. Then lastly, I want you to consider what's around you. If your walls are red and you're getting light on those red walls, that's going to show up in your picture. You're going to have to block a lot of that out. Also consider what you're wearing. I wouldn't wear like any vibrant colors if the sun light is going to hit you and bouncing to your scene. I wore this today and it was fine, but I was in the shadow area, and I was up above my setup, and so this color didn't reflect into my scene at all. Those are just some things to consider. Let me show you my setup. This is my shooting setup here in my kitchen. I'm utilizing my big backdoor window. It's a little bit too big for this session, so I have draped a gray sheet on the top just to reduce the window. I don't want this big amount of light pouring in and reducing the amount of shadows. We really want nice and deep heavy shadows, but not direct light. To prevent that, I have a sheet of tracing paper taped to the window. It's a diffused overcast day today so I don't really need this, but sometimes the sun peaks through the clouds a little too strong and I don't like it. If that happens, I don't want to have to stop and fix it, so I put this here just in case. This is a roll of white paper that I've taped to the floor. This is where I'll be shooting and I'll be setting up here. That's my backdrop. That is a roll of white paper over there covered in catnip. I'm hoping my cat mostly sits on that one and not this one. I have a piece of black foam core that I will be using to direct some of the light or block some of it. This is a good way to be able to control better how much light is getting into your scene as well as what direction it's getting in also. I have a white one of these that I will be using to bounce light back into my scene if needed. Really quickly, I set up a bonus example scene so that I can show you exactly what's happening with my light modifiers. For this first shot, I am using a white foam core board and I'm putting it opposite my light source so that the light will bounce off of it and fill in the shadows sections. This is a trick that I have shown in so many of my classes. This evens out the backdrop, and it fills in the shadow areas. This is a very classic way to light and it's a great way to light. However, it does tend to flatten out the shot, and for this class, we are focusing on texture. Here's the shot that I got using the white foam core reflector. Next up, I wanted to show you my control shot which is with no light modifiers whatsoever. This is just me using the light, and photographing the natural shadows that fall. Here's the shot from this. Lastly, we have our black foam core. This is used to block a lot of the light, to narrow it. So we have really defined side lighting, and it will help pronounce the texture in our toasts. Here's the shot there. Then I wanted to show you all three pictures right next to each other so you can really look and compare. When you first see these images, you might not see a whole lot of differences. The differences are subtle, but I'm going to start pointing them out to you so that you can see what I see. The first two images, we have this glare coming from my window. The last one doesn't have the glare because I blocked it with the foam core. That was an unexpected happy thing that came from this shot. Next, I wanted to show you this blueberry. In the first two images, the blueberry appears quite flat, but the last one there is a defined highlight and shadow side of the berry, which makes it appear more round, and pop out of the picture. Also, the honey sparkles a little bit more on the shot with the black foam core. Lastly, I wanted to look at the cheese. In the first two images, you can't really tell that the cheese is so textured. The last image you can tell that there is a defined cheese cavern that I've created. There's a bright highlight side right next to a dark shadow side, and it really helps to find that beautiful swirled texture on my toast. Here's the image with no drawings on it. You can really start to see the differences and figure out what you like and how to get it. If you like the one of the first two images, that is totally good. You do not have to like the same image that I like, but understanding how our light modifiers change each of these images, and how to get it, is key here. These are the three different ways that I let these, and how each of the techniques subtly changed them for the better or worse depending on how you like your pictures. Lastly, I wanted to show you my final shot. I got these with my DSLR. The differences here are subtle, but they're there if you're looking for them. At this granular level, it starts to become more like a spot the differences game where you're really looking between each of the pictures to figure out what's different. This is actually it for the blueberry and recorded shot here. I just put this together so I could show you, on a really granular level, what is happening with our light. Now that we know how to shape it and get it to do what we want, let's prep our avocados and get ready to style and shoot in the next two sections. 4. Avocado Toast Prep: This is my loaf of sunflower bread. I picked one that had a lot of texture on it, and you can see already from this sliding with the window from my sink that it is really textured and beautiful. I'm going to slice these up into pretty similar-sized slices and then throw them in the toaster so that they're nice and crisp. I'm going to do six slices. I'm probably not going to use all six in my picture, but it's nice to have choices. I'm going to go ahead and throw these in the toaster real quick. This bread for reference, it doesn't have a super hard crust, so it was really easy to cut and the inside is just super soft. This is super good bread. I'm going to throw these in the toaster and then we can start working. You don't really have to toast them, but I feel like the toasted look on this piece with the brown crispiness will add to the texture and also the flavor when I go to eat them. While those are toasting, I am going to get started on my avocados. I picked a bunch of avocados today, hopefully going for a firmer avocado, it might not be as flavorful as a softer one, but it's going to be greener on the inside and that's going to be really beautiful for a picture. I just start off cutting straight down and then rolling through. Hopefully matching up, I didn't. Then turning to separate. What we want is to be able to get really nice thin stripes, so you want to go slowly and then just take calculated cuts. You shouldn't cut into your hand. Sorry. Like this. What we will end up with is really beautiful avocado slices that we can layer. I have all my slices made, now I'm just going to grab a spoon and scoop them out. Going slowly, trying removing it from the peel. Then we have some really beautiful avocado slices, which we will organize on our bread. By the way, I just took these out of the toaster. They look amazing. This is exactly what I want. Next up, we want to have our mini tomatoes. I'm going to wash these first. Here are our tomatoes. I can choose to slice them in half or long ways. I think because the shape of the bread is oval, I'll probably want to keep the oval-shape, so I'm going to slice them long ways. Hopefully this is enough. This is the black lava salt that I'll be using. It has a really beautiful texture. Each of these peer middle pieces have a really great shape and I'm so excited to just add this as a sprinkle in my photo. You do not have to have a fancy salt, you can just use balsamic vinegar and it will still give you that black contrasts against the white of the ricotta, which will go between my tomatoes and my avocados. Now that I have these done, I'm going to sprinkle them with the salt when I'm over on the paper, so I'm going to take this over there and will also bring some of these extra tomatoes. 5. Composition: Really quickly, I wanted to cover just a few compositional things that I'm thinking as I'm putting together a shoot and adjusting while I am shooting. The first thing that I wanted to talk about is repetition. You'll see in this session that I have a lot of similarly shaped items as well as the same item repeated over and over. You'll see I have a lot of toasts going on in this picture, and the reason I chose to do this is because it's easy on your brain. Your brain sees one toast and understands it and then when it sees more, it already understands those toasts. So once it gets one, it gets them all. So it's a really easy way to make an image really approachable. You can also use repetition in your shapes. You heard that I mentioned that shape of the tomato is an oval and so is the shape of the bread. If I had square plates with my round shaped items, it might be too much going on, and so if I'm working with circles, I try to keep circles altogether. If I'm working with squares, I try to keep my angles really straight. These are all just things that you might want to consider because they help make your image easier to understand. Another good thing about having multiple items that are all the same is it conveys a sense of like community. People like to be together, they like to be part of something, and so when you have a lot of items rather than just one lonely item, it tends to feel more like a gathering, a happening. It's a group of people. I'm not just going to eat all six of these toasts. I mean, I might, but I'm probably not. Probably I'm going to share, and that sense of sharing and togetherness in community is a great thing to convey in your image. One of my very favorite things to consider when I'm setting up a shot is the rule of tangents. This is basically where you create an unwanted relationship between two items in a frame that draws your eyes right to it. There is definitely dedicated subjects in each of our pictures, and if we accidentally made two spoons touch each other and that's where your eye goes, that's not what you want. Trying to avoid making things touch too closely or if you have an item and it touches the crop edge of your frame, or if it exits the crop right at the corner, these are things that draw your eye and they can often lead your viewers I completely off of the image. Keeping an eye on your crop and also how every item in your scene interacts with other items, we don't want to have anything lineup to closely or happenings behind our subjects that are hard to understand, we want to make sure that everything is clear and easy to get. These are things that you can adjust while you're setting up or while you're shooting, if you're shooting not on a tripod. I also like tangents because a lot of times you can fix it in post. You can add a little bit of background, you can take some away. Just by adjusting your crop, you can fix a lot of these weird things that happen along the edges. Then lastly, I want to talk about negative space. You'll see in my setup that I include space in an image for some text. This is a good way to plan for promotions or magazine spreads, or maybe a future cookbook. If you are giving yourself space in the image, you can add stuff to it later or you can use it as a tool to give your eye a break. If you've seen, sometimes you'll be looking on people's Instagram accounts and their pictures are all just so detailed and so full of information, and it's like really exciting to look up and then you go to their profile and look at everything in a whole, and everything is so full of information and details, then it becomes really overwhelming. I think that adding pictures that have bits of negative space where there's just nothing going on, it's pretty empty. There might be like a little sprinkle of salt, but mostly it's just clean, that gives your eye a little bit of rest. This makes a portfolio or a feed in general look a little better because it breaks up the monotony. Those are my three compositional things that I'll be considering today in this shoot. Now, we can put our scene together and start taking pictures. 6. Styling and Shooting: I am going to try and set this up for you, so that you can see what I'm thinking when I'm putting together a picture. I have right here four toasts. This is kind of your clean and crisp set up. This is very effective as long as you have it perfectly centered. But what I want you to take a look at, is the super nice deep dark shadows and the way that the light really makes these toasts stand out. I'm going to bring a white piece of foam core in here so you can see what that does. I just have this piece right leaning against my tripod. That fills up the shadow areas really, really well. Let me show you, this is before, and then this is after. This, I still feel like, is a good amount of shadows. That little cat, don't eat that please. I feel like our shadows are still contrasted enough, but I really do actually prefer that deep dark richness without the reflector. If you wanted somewhere between, you could just use a smaller reflector or move it further away. I feel like this setup is really balanced. I might consider throwing some of my spare tomatoes around in the scene, as if they just fell off. This is looking really planned actually now that I'm looking at. I don't love it, so I'm actually going to start over a little bit. I removed those extra tomatoes and just added a generous even sprinkling of salt over the entire image, especially on each of the toast pieces. I'm going to take a bite out of one of them just for a little bit of an added lifestyle feel, and then kind of adjust it until I feel like it looks really good and balanced and not too planned, and then we can work on our lighting. If I want to change how the shadows are falling in the shot, I might try bringing in a piece of black foam core. This will reduce some of the overhead light, but still keep a lot of the side light, which will define texture and remove a lot of the diffused look to it. If I am working this foam core, I will want to increase my exposure. It's a lot brighter, but we are getting more interesting contrast this way, because we are controlling how the light is falling across our subject. If you look at the definition in the cheese on the top left piece of toast, you can see that it has a lot of texture, but if we remove this and then bring our exposure back, it still has our texture, but it's not as defined. This is just defining it a little bit. There's tons of options between here and there. You can do just a little, you can do a lot. It just depends on what you are going for. Next, I'm going to do a shot that encompasses more of the paper, so my toaster is a lot smaller, and I may have to incorporate a few more toasts. What I want to avoid is aligning the toast with V line, the crop line, because that is going to create an unwanted relationship between this very edge and that very edge and so, I either need to cut it or not cut it, and I'm going to not cut it. I drop this one down. I'm liking how this side looks. I'm actually going to bring these out just a little bit. This is going to be the cover photo for this class, and I want it to be long and feel balanced. I'm liking this kind of relationship here. I'm going to try and corral a lot of these little salt pieces so that they create a line between them that will help draw your eye around the frame. I like odd numbers when I am putting items together, but doesn't mean that two next to each other doesn't work, because this definitely does, especially if you have a two and a one by themselves. But what I don't want is to have them be too similar and seem like they're trying to be a thing. These two are trying to be a thing and it's freaking me out, so I'm going to move them. I also need this guy to be either down here or up here. I think he'll be down, but not too close to the edge there. Now, what I have going on is these and these are mirroring each other and that is creating symmetry that I don't want. I either need to rotate this or completely change this. I'm actually going to bring him a little closer to this guy so that these two are friends. I like that. It carries your eye to the frame. You basically start over here and then you kind of wrap around, and that is a very positive shape that your eyes move around in the frame. I'm going to move these two, and add a few more miscellaneous tomatoes. Since I know that this picture is going to have text, I am leaving a big blank spot in the middle of the frame. I think I like how that's going. I'm alternating some of the tomatoes upside down because it seems more natural. Then at this point, I need more salt. I don't want to sprinkle this really evenly over my scene. I want to use it to direct your eye. We are going to create a subtle spiral. This one didn't have any, so I'm going to add. I also blew on it to kind of spread the salt specularly. What I have is a tiny piece of salt on that very top edge, and I also have a stain right here for my ricotta from a previous setup. My plan is to Photoshop it out. I'm happy with this. I'm going to go ahead and take my picture, and then we can talk about what's working and then Photoshop things out that we need. Here is our final image after I edited and cleaned it all up. Then here is some quick text thrown on top so you can kind of get where I was going with. In the next section, I'm going to show you how I got here with my raw files in Lightroom. 7. Lightroom and Photoshop Edit: I will be doing my editing in Adobe Lightroom Classic CC. I have the cloud subscription service, but just make sure that you're using Lightroom Classic, not the other Lightroom CC, which is the cloud-based photo service. We're using the Classic Lightroom and I am using version 8.1. It's January 18th, 2019. There's your source of reference there. Here in my Lightroom catalog, I have my Library tab open. This is probably what your Library tab is going to look like with all of your icons here. I have already looked through my images and decided which one that I want to edit based on crop and focus, and that is this shot right here. I'm going to switch over to the Develop tab, so it'll bring it full screen. Since my background is white, I want to change the background of Lightroom so that I have a reference for how white I'm getting. I'm going to right-click on the background here and I'm going to change my background color to white. Now, I'm going to start editing. Overall, I can tell this image is dark, it's pretty dark, so I'm going to up my exposure just a little bit, and then I'm going to scroll down. I'm seeing that I've got some vignetting here and I'm thinking that that is from my camera and my lens. I'm going to scroll all the way to the bottom, and just a little higher into the lens corrections drawer. I'm going to check the box, Enable Profile Corrections. This is going to read the photos metadata and make changes based on the lens that I'm using. Since I'm using my mirrorless camera for this particular photo, it doesn't really know, so I have to tell it. I'm using an icon and a 24-70. Already that takes out a lot of the distortion and it takes out the natural vignetting in the shot. Let me show you before. This is what my camera took and then this is after I corrected the profile, I've got a little bit of black in the corner here, which means that I missed getting my backdrop in the shot, so I'm going to go to my crop settings. That's this little square right here. I'm opening on my crop settings and I know that this shot needs to be 16 by 9 because it's going to be the cover photo for this class, so I click on "Original" and I go down to 16 by 9. This will give me the crop size that I need. I'm going to grab inside the crop and move my photo around until I am happy with our crop. Right now, I'm looking at pieces of salt and distance between toast and the edge. I can Photoshop any of these pieces of salt out, so I'm not super concerned about where they're laying mostly I want to make sure that these feel balanced in the overall image, and I feel like we're pretty much there. I think it feels pretty straight on the horizon, but if I wanted to adjust, I would come outside the crop box till I get this little arrow and then I can rotate the angle like this, and if I don't want the angle rotated, I just click in this box type zero and it will go back to where it was when I shot it. That is a nice crop right there. I'm going to click the crop box again to accept, and then I'm going to start cleaning up. This is my spot removal tool. I'm going to activate this. You can adjust the size of the circle by scrolling in and out. I'm going to adjust it and crop out things that I think are distracting. This is a piece of sunflower from the bread and I think it's distracting. Here's a little smidgen of avocado. Anyway, just stuff that's confusing or messy, I'm going to click out and it's just going to automatically sample a spot right here. It picked this little spot with two specs. I'm happy with that, so I'm going to leave it. I'll crop out this one, you can crop out lines. I don't know if you can see this really subtle line here, but I'm going to click and draw, and then it will clone out that spot right there, and then this main section right here is what I wanted to focus on its wrinkled paper. I might have to do this in sections. Usually I start with the middle and then work my way out. You can adjust where it samples from by clicking and dragging into a cleaner spot. I am really happy with how this is looking so far. There's one little spot right here that I need to adjust, great. I ended up taking out a piece of salt right here, and now I think the spot feels really weird and empty, so I'm going to add a little piece of salt right there. I am going to click the spot I want to add the salt and then I'm going to sample from nearby-ish salt. I tried to pick my salts so that it's not one that's very memorable, but it's enough that it will add that back in and then I will close and call it good. I'm really happy with how this looks overall on a salt and background level. Now I can go in and do all my tiny adjustments with color and contrast and light. We're going to start at the top here, and I'm going to just do a little bit of adjustment with my temperature slider. If you're not really used to adjusting your temperature intent, you can grab this little eyedropper tool and select a spot on the picture that is a neutral, which is like a white or a gray, and you can click on that and it will automatically apply what if feels is right and a lot of times it's right on. I feel like that was a really good call there. Here's what we had before. It's a little blue and here's what we have after, and while we're doing before and afters, let me just show you exactly what I did with all my spot removals. If I come here, you can see this is before I removed all those spots and then this is after. It's subtle, but overall, it improves the image dramatically. We'll bring our white balance back in here. Now, I'm looking at this picture and the toast feels dark, and I can tell that my background is a little bit darker than pure white. I don't know if I can pull off 100 percent pure white because the ricotta cheese is also white and I don't want to blow those highlights out, so I'm going to just trickle my exposure up just a little and then I'm going to try and increase the shadows as well. I know that we want to have dramatic shadows to show off the texture, but there comes a point when the shadow becomes distracting. I've increased my shadows a little bit, I want to increase my whites a little bit as well. That will really make this picture vibrant and full of life, and then I want to take my blacks down for more contrast. I'm going to increase my shadows a little bit more, and already my avocados are feeling kind of yellow and my tomatoes are feeling a little orange and I want to adjust those. I'm going to scroll down past tone curve into the HSL/color drawer. Here we have the hue, the saturation illuminance. We're going to go to the All tab so we can see them all at the same time. I mentioned my avocado slipped a little bit yellow, so if I adjust my green slider to the yellow side, it makes them even yellower and that's not what we want, so I want to adjust it more toward the blue side. If I go too far, they're going to look crazy. We just want to add a very subtle adjustment here. Just make those avocados like a little greener and more true to life. We can also go up into the yellow slider and we can change the yellows to be a little greener too. Let me show you what just happened here. This is before, looking at the avocados and this is after. I feel like my avocados are nice, and green, and beautiful, so I want to touch up on the tomatoes next. I mentioned that they were looking a little orange. I want them to be redder, so if I go into the orange slider, I can just take it over a little bit to the red side. Overall, now they look a little bit pink, so I'm going to move my red slider back to the orange side, just doing these little minor adjustments to get your shot how you want. Let me show you where we're at. This was before I did any color adjustments and this is after. It's subtle, but it's good. Now I am feeling good about this. I want to add a little bit more depth and drama, so I'm going to hang over into the tone curve section. If your tone curve doesn't look like this, click on this little square box here and it will change it up. If you want to actually touch the tone curve and make your adjustments here, you can. I'm not super familiar with how to adjust this line, and so I use the sliders. Click on this little line and it will bring the sliders back. I'm going to bring my darks up and my shadows down, and then I'm going to leave my lights and highlights there. I don't usually like to touch this highlight slider, I prefer to go to the top and adjust this highlights later. I feel like it does a better job, really isolating those highlights and so highlights I'll show you if you go all the way up, that's the whites in the image, and this makes my background look great, but it makes my ricotta look like trash. I don't want to adjust the highlights too much. If I bring them down, which is a very common practice, it does bring more information in this area, but my background looks a little bit murky. It's this tricky balance between making your background look nice and bright and making anything else in your picture that's white look normal. Sometimes I like to go for a nice compromise where I will increase the highlights quite a bit. I am up to 30 and then I will go in and brush the other white stuff down. If I go to my brush tool, my adjustment brush, and then change the effect to darken, it's pulling the exposure down negative 0.3, and so I want to also pull the highlights down a little bit. I had pulled the highlights up 30, if I bring them down 15, that should probably be significant enough. I'm going to go ahead and start painting my ricotta, bringing a little bit more texture back in there. It's a little bit dark and murky, so I'm actually going to adjust my exposure up a little bit. Cool. Now what I am doing is, I'm just painting those highlights back in so that we get the texture there and also have this beautiful, bright backdrop. Awesome. Another thing that I'm seeing here is, if you look at the color of my image at the very top, it's pretty close to white, but at the bottom it's a little darker. That's because my light source is up here and it's shining down, so naturally it's going to be brighter in the top part of the picture and darker in the bottom. To adjust this, we want to go over into our graduated filter, and we are going to change the effect to lighten. We are going to click and drag from the bottom to the middle, and this will apply a lightened filter across the bottom of the image. If you grab this little circle, you can adjust it. Let me turn it up a little so you can see what's happening. You can see as I adjusted, it lightens and darkens up the picture to the circle and then fades out. If you hover over this, it will show you exactly what part of the image it's applying to and the fade. You can adjust the fade by grabbing the outer lines and bringing them in or out to your preference. Normally I bring this about halfway through my subject, whatever looks normal, you can adjust the angle on it, but already I can tell that this edge is much closer to white than it was before. In fact, it's a little too close, so now I'm going to bring this exposure back down a little bit to a normal number and that feels more balanced to me. I'm looking at these tomatoes and they look like there's not enough shadow to them. They look like they're just too bright, so I'm going to bring my shadow slider down just a little bit, and then I'm going to go back down to my HSL menu, and I'm going to change the luminance of the red. Right now if I were to increase the luminance, those just turn so pale, so I'm going to bring it down just a little to add more depth to them. You can see just by doing the shadow in the luminance shift, I went from this to this. I am loving how this is looking so far. I feel like we're pretty much there. There's one last slider that I wanted to show you, the Clarity slider. The Clarity slider, if you use a lot of it, it adds really crunchy details and makes it look grungy and architectural. We want to go easy on the Clarity slider, just adding a little subtle nudge. Yes, I love that. Perfect. I feel like my white balance is right, my colors feel good. It's showing off that texture like I want. I'm going to add a little bit of sharpening and then export the photo. Sharpening is in the Details slider. I like to click on the box. This will show you an area of the photo if you zoom in, so I like to look at a part of the photo that I can see where there's a lot of in-focus detail. I'm going to increase my sharpening to about 63 and then I'm going to go down to the Masking slider. If I click and then hold down Option, it changes my photo to black and white and then I can fine-tune what parts of the image get sharpened. Really only the white parts of the photo are getting sharpened right now. Really I just want to sharpen the edges. I'm not concerned about sharpening the backdrop at all. Just getting the edges that takes to about 70 and then I'm going to call that good, just like that. If I had a lot of noise in my image and the shadow areas, that would be like weird pixels that didn't look very clean. I could mess with the noise reduction sliders all six cities and try and get it so that the noise is reduced. I feel really happy with how this is looking, I'm going to go ahead and export. I'm going to right-click on this image down here in my timeline and go to my Export tab. For my export settings, I change it to export to the picture folder in the subfolder where it belongs. This one's textured tells us that's where it belongs. I change the Rename To Custom Name-Sequence and then I would change it to what it is. This is avocado toast. I'm going to put a number 2, because I might have named something else, avocado toast. Start number 1 and then in my file settings, I want that image format to be JPEG. That's what I use most of the time. I'm making sure the color spaces, sRGB, if your color space is any of the others it might export and look really weird, if your colors are greenish or pinkish and it just didn't look how it looked in Photoshop, that's probably because you're in the wrong color space. Just make sure you're in sRGB. This is what we would use for anything that gets shared on the web. I limit my file size to 1,800K. That's the max size that you can upload a photo to Skillshare. To make my life easier, I always just leave this checked for anything that's not getting printed. In my image sizing, I check the Resize to Fit, I change it to the Long Edge, and I put 2,500 pixels. This will make 2,500 pixels across the bottom here and Resolution 240, I probably could get away with 72 resolution and have much smaller photos, but I leave it to 240 because I want to, for my output sharpening, I sharpen for screen in the standard amount and then in my post-processing, I do nothing. For this image I want to open it up in Adobe Photoshop, so I will change it to that and then hit Export. This is going to throw my photo in my textured toast folder and it's going to launch Photoshop. Here's my picture in Photoshop, I'm going to add text to it, so I hit T for the text tool and I'm going to do textured toast. When I'm adjusting my text tools, I can see that there is some salt in the background that's obscuring my text. I'm going to come over here and hit the spot healing brush and then I'm going to make sure I have my background selected. I am going to just click right on top of this salt piece and it's just going to make it disappear and I remove any salt that might get in the way of my text. I'm going to hit this, that's the move tool and I'm going to adjust this to a way that I want. This is what I would do if I'm throwing this together for Skillshare or whatever, I've planned out this negative space bar here and my shot so that I can add text or maybe if I wanted to do a recipe, I would just type that here and then this would be good for a cookbook or something like that. Planning for this and knowing that you can always take out these little tiny pieces of salt or something like that to help your image look better. Let's say that I needed this picture to be square and I wasn't afraid of the top half being mostly white. What I can do is I can go to image Canvas Size. I'm going to change my height to match my width. I like to work in pixels because it makes more sense to me. My width is 2,500, so I want my height to be 2,500 as well. If I do 2,500 and I know I want it to make it bigger from the top here, I'm going to set my counterpoint to the very middle bottom. That way it grows up and out and then I hit "Okay." This adds a background space above my shot. What I can do now is I want to make sure I'm on the background layer and get my spot healing brush back out. I'm going to heal these pieces of salt right on the edge here and then I want to make sure that this up here is the same color as my background. I'm going to hit my marquee tool and I'm going to grab this entire space. If I right-click and hit Fill, I get this menu here and I can choose Content-Aware, this means that it's going to look at my picture and guess what it thinks I want up here. Sometimes this works, sometimes this doesn't, because I've got a huge space here. It's probably going to try to copy toast, but let's see what happens. It actually did a great job. It was very subtle, but it added the same paper texture in the right color that I want, I'm going to hit Command D, to deselect. I've got a little bit of salt here that it added for me, which adds to the picture. I think it helps it not look like I just created a background here. Next, I want to use my clone tool. This here is the clone stamp tool. I'm going to Hit Alt and choose a spot with some salt and then I'm going to draw it in up here. It's just going to copy what's happening below. You can see if you look down, I've got a little cross hair that's following along so I can make sure I'm not going to copy any of the toast. I'm just copying some of the salt and I don't want it to look too similar. I want to make sure I hit Alt and pick another space that's going to have different kinds of salt and add that just subtly. Here is my final image. I've made this a square and I've got tons of negative space up here. I just added a background so that it was the right size that I wanted and I made sure that I use the Content-Aware fill to make it the same texture as the background, so it looks like I shot it this way. I do this a lot if I get my toast a little too close to the edge and I am like, "Oh, I wish I had more space there." I just add space on those edges there so that I have a little more breathing real, this is how I fixed tangents a lot. Let's see, if I had this image cropped like this. Right here the shadow comes a little bit too close to the edge and it's making me nervous, so for the same thing, I would hit Image, Canvas Size Pixels. I'm going to make the height 1,600, and I'm going to make it grow from the top, so it grows down and right now, I can just use the same marquee tool to grab this space right here. Right-click Fill, Content-Aware OK, and it's going to add what it thinks comes down here. I'm going to hit Command D, I added this tomato here which I don't want and I can just take that out with the spot healing tool, and clean that up super nicely. This is just a super quick fix, if you get things too close to the edge, use a Content-Aware tool and make your picture what you want. Sometimes this doesn't work, especially if you crop something in half. It's hard to add detail that wasn't actually there. But if you're just growing your backdrop, that is something that I do all the time. Yeah, that is pretty much it for my Lightroom and a little bit into what I do for Photoshop as well. 8. Class Takeaways and Final Thoughts: Now that we are at the end, I just wanted to go over a few takeaways so that you keep these things in mind for your next photo shoot. Raking light is the type of light that we use in this class. It's heavy sidelight that scrapes across the top of the subject of your picture to add shadows and highlights. You can easily utilize a sheet or poster board or piece of foam core to narrow and block any light that is too much for your scene. Make sure when you're shooting you turn off all the other lights in the room, so that you don't get any unwanted colors or shadows in your picture, that muddy it up and make it super hard to edit. If you have direct light that you need to diffuse, you can use a sheet, curtain, tracing paper, wax paper, anything that's transparent that will help block up those direct sunlight rays. When you are composing a shot, keep an eye out for those edges, make sure nothing is exiting the frame directly out of a corner, or getting too close to the edge without being cut or not cut. We will like to give ourselves breathing room and we'd like to give our items breathing room too. If you have things that are too close to each other, they're going to create an unwanted relationship in the image that is going to draw your eye in and away from the actual subject in your frame. We want to utilize repetition to evoke a feeling of togetherness and abundance and really help your eyes understand the frame a little better. Repeating items in a frame and also considering the shapes and how they interact with each other, thinking about using round shapes altogether rather than mixing round with square with triangle, because that tends to make an image a lot more confusing. Consider the contrast in your image, not only in the lights and darks, but also in color and texture. If you're adding color contrast, maybe you're pairing things that are blue with things that are orange or yellow, you're combining a cool color with a warm color. If you are considering texture, think about layering images like putting something smooth on top of something rough or granular, or sprinkling something rough or granular on top of something that's smooth. This helps add interests to your image and break up the monotony of just a lot of smooth or a lot of texture going on. Take the time to plan and sketch out your shots before you begin. This is going to save you time on shooting day and it's going to give you a venue to empty out your thoughts, so that you don't lose them, or have to rely on your memory. You've got it written down, you've got it drawn out, you have a plan, and you're ready to go. Utilize negative space in an image to add visual interests. If you have a lot of space that's blank and clean, and then you pair it next to space that's more cluttered, it's going to add a little bit of balance. If the whole image was equally cluttered, like if you have an even distribution of sliced almonds throughout the whole frame, it's not going to add as much as a carefully planned out sprinkling of omens, that direct your eye and control where your viewer is looking. Crop with intention to remove distracting items, avoid tangents and prepare for your final destination. If you're prepping images for Instagram, I highly recommend planning for a square or for a slightly taller crop. You don't want to wide crop because the way that phones are designed, it will only show up for a short amount of time, whereas if you have something that's closer to the dimensions of your film, it's going to fill up the screen and force the viewer to see your whole image as it is, things will be bigger, brighter, more beautiful. I highly recommend if your plan is Instagram, do a square or do slightly tall, but don't do wide. Try not to be wasteful and photograph is something that you're excited to snack on at the end of your shoot, that's your reward for working hard. Those are just my main takeaways. Thank you so much for joining me. I'm really excited to see what you do with this lighting style and how you style your food and prep everything. I can't wait to see your project in the project section or on Instagram. If you share on Instagram, make sure you tag me my handle is tabithapark, so I can come look and give you some feedback if you want. If you have any questions along the way, or need help, or run into photography related issues, leave a comment in the discussion community section here on Skillshare, and I can get to that, and help you out, and we can figure it all out. If you want to get an email next time I post a new class, make sure you're following me here on Skillshare. If you have suggestions or ideas for future classes that you want to see, I always want to hear, so feel free to reach out. Before I forget, this lighting style also works for moody images. Both my examples were bright and airy, however, you can utilize the same general idea on a dark board with dark subjects, just really controlling that foam core, so you get this really narrow beam of light that just scrapes across your image. You can totally apply these to your images, whether you shoot moody, or brain airy, or somewhere in-between. Thank you so much for taking the time to watch. I really appreciate it. See you next time.