Dark and Moody Chocolate Photography: DIY Natural Light Studio | Tabitha Park | Skillshare

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Dark and Moody Chocolate Photography: DIY Natural Light Studio

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

    • 1.



    • 2.



    • 3.

      Finding Light


    • 4.

      Light Tunnel


    • 5.



    • 6.

      Shooting and Composition


    • 7.



    • 8.

      White Balance


    • 9.

      Color Casts and Reflectors


    • 10.

      iPhone Photography


    • 11.

      iPhone Edit


    • 12.

      Project Description


    • 13.

      Final Thoughts


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About This Class

This class is all about justifying the purchase of a fancy chocolate bar in the name of art!

Just kidding (kind of!)

We're going to be taking gorgeous, studio-quality low-light images with beautiful diffused window light. No studio experience necessary!

Here's what we'll cover:

  1. Identifying the best light in your space and the best times of day to utilize it
  2. Shaping the existing light for a dramatic, high contrast image
  3. Styling a scene with items around the house to tell a compelling story
  4. Reading imagery to understand and replicate lighting and angle styles
  5. Composition basics and tons of miscellaneous tips
  6. Quick technical review about White Balance and Metering
  7. Workflow with a DSLR and iPhone
  8. Editing iPhone images with VSCO app for Instagram

I can't wait to see your photos!

Meet Your Teacher

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Tabitha Park

Product & Food Photographer

Top Teacher

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, our 17 gorgeous chickens, and Smallcat! I love plants and coffee and naps. In my spare time I'm a reckless gardener (irl and in Stardew Valley), and unapologetic hobby starter. Currently hyperfixating on crochet, embroidery, and spoon carving!

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Level: Beginner

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1. Intro: Hi, I'm Tabitha. In this photography class, I'm going to show you how to take dark, moody photos in your own home. We're going to be analyzing the light, the quality of light at different times of day. I'm going to tell you the best times to shoot and then how to shape your lights to make the most effective images. For the class project, we're going to be photographing chocolates. I'm going to talk about different things that you can do to put in your image to help tell a story, as well as composition, white balance, metering, the whole thing. If you don't have a DSLR, that's totally cool because I take a lot of the pictures here in this class with my iPhone. So I'm going to show you ways that you can take better, sharper photos with your iPhone. Then I'll take you through my editing sequence in the Vskit app and Instagram. I'm Tabitha. I'm a lifestyle photographer and a teacher here on Skillshare. I can't wait to share all this information with you. So let's get started. 2. Inspiration: Before we get started shooting, it's important to take some time to figure out what you want to photograph. I spent a lot of time on Pinterest, just kind of collecting my ideas, seeing what's out there and then gaining inspiration from photos that I find. So I've put together this pin board on my personal account about our Moody Chocolate class. I've organized it in sections to categorize the types of images in a way that was helpful to me and hopefully can be helpful to you, so I will post a link to this pin board in the project section and then you can take a look if you want. There's 237 pins, so there's a lot going on here. Hopefully, my hard Pinterest work is helpful to you. So one thing that I want to say before I jump into one of these sections is, its important if you find an image that you love not to copy it exactly. There's a ton of artists represented here in this pin board, and we want to respect their work and their process, and so please for the sake of art, do not copy images exactly. Use the lighting, the style, the angles, the depth of field in these images and find elements from them that you like to copy or convey in your photos, but keep in mind you want these to be your own, and so it's important to respect what is here and use it as a stepping stone to guide you on your journey of photographing your chocolate. So yeah, I've organized them, this section is stacked chocolate. I like the look of it, it's got a lot of side lighting images. So images like this one, that I actually took, its sidely the windows over here and it's shining on the chocolate, giving it that kind of texture. Here's another shot. We've got the background, it's side lit because this side is darker and this side is lighter. One thing that I want to help show you is, how to be able to see an image and read it on a technical lighting level. So if I see an image that I like, my first instinct is, how am I going to recreate this? What I'm getting from this shot is, we've got a wood almost like rusty looking texture down here, we have another dark brown texture back here, we've got light hitting it here, but not over here. That leads me to believe that our lighting, it wraps around just a little, but it's not strong enough to carry throughout the background of the image or this background is sort of at an angle so that it doesn't get lit up. Our subject here, super dark on this side, which means there is no light not even a reflector bringing light onto the shadow area of this chocolate. The light is definitely coming from this side, and you can see that it's hitting anything that is somewhat reflective. So these coffee beans are really shiny, so the light is hitting at those really strong and then you can tell with the focus, this chocolate is very sharply in focus on this plane. You can see these beans are out of focus, these beans are in-focus and these are out again. So this plane is very narrow, there really close, and they're using a really shallow aperture. So they're shooting probably at 1.8 or 2, so that the background will be nice and blurry and it will give this sort of macro image feel. So let's do another one, let's do this one. This is a higher angle, so our background is completely floorboards. The lighting is a lot more diffused, but I think it's coming from this side, I can tell because the corners of this chocolate are really bright. One thing that this image has that the last one did not is, they've bounced light onto this side of the chocolate also. So the sun is coming in through the window this way, and then they have a big giant reflector on this side that's reflecting that light back onto our subject and highlighting it. I can also tell because this shadow right here, that's coming off of the chocolate, is noting that this side of light is brighter than this side. Their background looks like cool wood slats or wooden table, and then it looks like they've sprinkled it with nuts or salt to kind of give it this sparkly bouquet effect. Our depth of field is really shallow, you can see our bottom chocolate is not sharply in focus and our top chocolate is, and then even this piece, the top or the front of it is in focus and the back of it is not. Again, I would say that they're probably using F1.8, F2 and shooting really close so that the background is further away. These are out of focus, we've got these beautiful bow kit circles, and it's a really beautiful effective image. Let's go into a different board so that I can show you a little more of what I have. This section is all about having a layered setup, so you can see that these images are a lot more complex. There's a lot going on, look at this picture. We have so much in this image that is happening and it's lots of layers, lots of textures, and so that's where I wanted to organize these shots. For me this is kind of what I struggle with most, because I feel like I add too much or not enough and it doesn't tell a good story, there's a lot of objects in this. So I would say these are more complex because you're not just controlling your chocolate and your background, you're controlling every single prop you add to this image. I love this particular image because it's got a section in the middle that is empty. They've played with negative space here and it is super effective. I actually have a pin board dedicated just for negative space imagery, so that's this one. These images they're storytelling, just look at this. We've got all this going on, on the edge and then right here is just blank. I like to think that this kind of images would be good for a magazine article. So if you were to feature this image, this is your subject and then up here is where you'd have beautiful script that says like, Decadent Fudgy Chocolate Cheese Cake or whatever this is a photograph of. This image is very moody, you can see our background is almost completely gone. We've got a teeny bit of light hitting the edges of this shiny the rest of the cake and then our piece is, the way that this is angled, it's got a little bit of the texture, the lightest hitting, and then the rest is just completely in the shadow. You can barely tell there's a spoon here, but because our background is lighter than our subject, you can see just that little arch in the spoons handle. I love this imagery, there's so much here. If you find an image that you like, more often than not, it links to the actual website or food blog that they belong to, and so I definitely recommend going and perusing these different blogs just to get an idea and find more inspiration there. So I'm not going to go through every single board, but we have a lot. The lighting board is one where I've used a lot of photos from German photographer, [inaudible]. I'm not exactly sure how to say her name, but she is incredible. She has a couple of YouTube videos where she describes her process and her editing, and I don't know what she's saying because they're all in German, but they are excellent. You can see her setup, exactly what it looked like and then the image that came out of it. So if you're having a hard time applying my particular setup to your space, maybe some images here will help you and so that's why I've put them here. She also has this awesome little tutorial, she basically has this cardboard box with a hole to shoot through and the little hole with a door for light to come through. And you get these incredible super low-key really dark images with just a beam of light hitting the highlight areas. So tons of inspiration here, tons of ideas. Definitely take some time and figure out what you want to do, but don't get lost in the details. Don't get lost in trying to reproduce a photo exactly. Just, hopefully this will get you in the right idea, the right mindset in seeing what story that you want to tell. 3. Finding Light: It's important to analyze your space to see what you've got going on. In my living room right here, I've just closed all the windows. It stays in dark in there. I'm just going to focus on this big back door window. Lots of direct hot sunlight is coming through that window, and so I have a really thin Ikea curtain. It's just white. It was 10 bucks at Ikea. It is blocking the indirect light, diffusing it. It's still bright, but it's not going to give us really harsh shadows. That is my perfect spot to shoot. Here's another angle of my kitchen. I just wanted to show you you can definitely see where the light's coming in. The sun is setting over there, and so the light angle comes in this way. Right here on this table area, that's where I'm going to get really bright light. My tabletop is really light, and so I'm going to try and shoot on the table in the back behind these chairs on this end of the table, because this is where my light is coming in at this time of day. If it was earlier, it would come straight down the center of my table, and then first light is going to come out of the opposite angle of what we're looking at right now. Once you have spotted your light and found the best spot for you to be able to work at, feel free to move a table, do whatever you can to get a good surface in that good light, then we can start to shape the light to do what we want, which I will show you how in the next video. 4. Light Tunnel: Here is my very, very simple setup for a DIY light tunnel. You take two pieces of white foam core and you paperclip them to two pieces of black poster board. If you could find black foam core, that is obviously preferable, but this is what the Dollar Store had so this is what I got. I have two heavy duty clamps at the bottom here, just basically holding it down, keeping it from rocking back and forth while I'm trying to shoot. I also have a dictionary on either side, just as an extra reinforcement keeping it from caving outward. This is basically how I would set it up, I've got my background, I have some just kind of layered objects, my subject. From here I would shoot at like 30 or 45 degree angle or from above and get really beautiful back-lit images. If you want to shoot straight on and you don't want to have a big blown out white background like you would get if you are shooting directly into this diffused window, you can add another piece. This is just a piece of melanin board. It's cut down. So it's like shiny and on one side, and then it's this brown particle looking bored on the other side. You can set it up against the back and just make sure that when you're shooting, you've got just all of this in your background. It'll bring it down a little darker so that if there is highlights, you'll be able to see them better because their background will be dark instead of bright and white. So basically at this point, I would just set up my scene and photograph it from all the angles adjusting as needed, especially with the light. You need to make sure that you're aware of where the sun is going to be while you're shooting. At this point in the day, the Sun where I'm at is pretty much gone. But anywhere from here to here, that's ideal. You want it to be nice and bright, but not direct sunlight, you want it to be diffused. So that's why I have the big white curtains on my window. Here is a miniature version of my light tunnel. The reason I created this is because it is so late in the day the sun has set, I am just bleeding out the last residual light from where the Sun has dropped off the planets. Here we have our particle board, our cardboard box, and the light which is coming from that way, that's where my horizon is, and I've got this beam of light right here. You can see everywhere else is super, super dark. This is where the light is, so this is where I ended up. I originally had my chocolate bar on my cheese board, but they're both so dark, the chocolate bar just disappeared. I added this little piece of dictionary paper. I legit just ripped out a page on my dictionary like a savage and crumpled it up, and then flattened it, folded it, put my chocolate on top and then sprinkle with some salt. Here's my picture. The chocolate is sea-salt dark chocolate. I played with what I had. I looked at a tone of different images on how to photograph chocolate bars or trying to gain inspiration, and I ended up getting lost in how many choices and how many options you have. Basically when I saw my bar of chocolate, I was like, you know what? It's sea-salt, it's dark chocolate. Let's just keep it simple. This is what I ended up with for my sea-salt chocolate bar. 5. Props: If you want some props, ideas, look no further because I got you covered. Doesn't necessarily have to be anything special. For a lot of pictures that I do, I honestly just use this little tray, it's a cookie sheet and its not very clean, its well-loved, nice and rusty, this is a great textured surface for this kind of imagery. You can use it as a tray or you can use it as a nice solid background, it can block lights. Another more elegant solution, is this little melamine board. You can buy this at the hardware store, it comes gigantic, and either they cut it down for you or you can take it home and cut it down. One side is like a whiteboard, its like shiny and good for dry erase markers, and then the other side is a brown particle board. That's a good way to go. This is a simple black ceramic plate I bought at the thrift store. I just bought one, so, sorry if you go back to that particular thrift store and you only have seven blades because I bought one of them. This is a slate cheese board, and I got it at World Market. It came with these little soap stone pieces of chalk that you can use to write what kind of cheese is on there. I use these on the edge as chalk to help highlight my shadow areas. If you don't have a fancy, fancy cheese board, maybe you have a regular bamboo cutting board. I actually bought this at the same thrift store I got this plate at, because I thought it was a nice, smooth surface and if I wanted, I could stay in one side and have two different surfaces to work with. At the same thrift store trip guys, I really just scored, this is this crazy, its really thick, I don't know what it looked like when it started out, but it has these cool, dark blotches, it's white speckled all over, it's very heavy, and I love the look of this. They add so much texture and personality to a shot of a piece of chocolate which can be a lot more simple, and so, this is a great prop to have. This is a measuring spoon set I bought from target. It's just a bunch of gold measuring spoons. The measuring spoons that I use in my kitchen are all silver, and so, I bought this set because it is just a different color, adds a different texture and feel to the image. Along with that, I bought a single gold spoon. If you're buying silverware for a photography project, keep in mind that a spoon that's highly reflective is going to show you in the background taking the picture basically. The nice thing about this brushed gold spoon is that when I use it in my pictures, I don't have a reflection of me holding a camera in the spoon. Then I also have, I guess this is a coffee scoop, it has a little clip, it's copper. I bought it because it was copper, it was the only copper spoon they had, and I love the industrial feel of copper these days, and so, I thought, who knows if I'll use this. I love the way it looks. Also at Target, I bought this burlap table runner. It was a couple bucks, and it's a nice long, big texture that you can use for your background of your images. If you want more rustic feel, you can trim a little bit and frey it. I also have crinkly brown paper. If you've received a package that came with the giant [NOISE] paper snake as packaging,[NOISE] just use that as a nice background for your image. For this class, I actually folded this into a paper bag and then put like some coffee stains on it for a photo that I did a coffee and it was perfect, it was exactly what I needed. If you don't have any of this brown paper, you can just use a paper bag. Next, I have some other textiles. This is some blue cotton, pretty heavy woven fabric that I bought at the craft store. I bought it to do embroidery on and it just happened to be the right inky blue color for what I was going for this class. Then this was a little tea towel in the home goods section of target. I liked the colors, I liked that it had a lot of variety, so, if I wanted to just do more muted, I could focus on the gray section, and then if I wanted more vibrant pop of color, I would stick with the blue. This super cute measuring cup, I feel like if you were doing more of a scene, you can have your chocolate and then like fill this with other things, its glass, its very stylized looking, so, that's a cool prop you can use there. I have various different strings and things like this I would use for more of a Christmas eve or Valentine's Day session, and then I have twine that plays with the burlap, and also some green twine there too. Then I have this little black bowl. I knew that if I wanted to have a bundle of chocolate in my image, a bowl would be a good place to start. This has a satin finish, and so, it will have a little bit of shine to it if the light hits it, which ended up being cool for my image because the edge of the bowl lit up a little bit, and that helped define the shape and it just looked really effective. This came from my friends tree. It loses its needles all the time, which adds a cool texture in the photo. This doesn't keep forever, but this one will. This is just a fake sprig I bought from the craft store. If you use this in a close-up picture, you'll probably be able to tell that it is plastic, and so, keep that in mind, it might be better to just go with something that is real. Also in this session I had a sprig of mint leaves, and so, using real live herbs and greenery can add a lot to an image. I have for other textures, a couple of different dictionaries that I bought at the thrift store. This one has really bright white pages, and so, I ended up using one of these pages in a picture I took, and I just tore it out, and crinkled it out, and used it to add some visual interest to a photo, that's this piece right here. I also have another dictionary that I bought. This one was $3. It has a cool canvas cover, but the pages are yellowed, and so, I felt like for a more neutral photo, I would go with the bluer light, bright white page, then for a warmer image, the yellowing could be really cool. A lot of the time I use sea salt. This comes from a grinder, so, I can use really, really heavy chunky pieces of salt or more like a dust. This one is more crystalline looking pieces, they have like pyramid salt that you can buy that's really special, or this is margarita salt and it's flaky. Depending on your image or your application or how these things photograph, mixing it up, this was super cheap for pictures. Then this is a box of sugar cubes. Maybe you're photographing of fancy drink or candy sugar cubes are cute and add a nice texture to a photo. Different spices that I use, this is Star Anise, it smells like black licorice and it's in these little star shapes, these spices. I couldn't find this everywhere, but I did end up finding it at one of my local grocery stores. This is a giant thing of cinnamon. You can use cinnamon, powdered sugar, cocoa powder, to add a sprinkle of dust to an image. Cloves, these are for more Christmas eve, they have a nice texture to them and they smell really good, unless you've had like four root canals and then they smell like a root canal. Then these are my light modifiers. This one is just a piece of computer paper folded in half, it helps bring light into the shadow areas of an image. The light bounces off of it and then lights it up, so, that's nice to have around. This was literally no money at all. This is one of the boxes of chocolate I just covered in tin foil so that I would have like a handheld reflector here, so, this adds a nice shine to your image and brings in a little bit of light where you might need it in your shadow areas. These are the props that I've worked with, feel free to look around your house and see what you can come up with for your images. Keep in mind, you don't want to do too much, if you have too many props in an image, it can be overwhelming, so, try and simplify, pick a couple of key items, two to three, and a background, and you can make really effective images that way. Most of all just play with what you have, and you can easily see if something's going to be distracting or if it's going to add to the image, and if it doesn't add to the image, take it away. These are just some ideas to get you started and get your mind going. 6. Shooting and Composition: In this video, I'm going to share with you some clips that I took while I was styling and photographing the chocolate for the images used throughout this course. It might be a little bit disorganized, but I'm hoping being able to see exactly what I'm doing and what's going through my mind, will help you on your journey, photographing your items also. Throughout, I'm going to sprinkle it with images where it shows a before and after of my composition and things that I change while I was shooting to help get a better, more effective image. Let's jump right in. This first image, I had just finished styling it in a way that I actually didn't love so I started over and this is kind of the beginning from how I made my chocolate stack image. Here with my cute little red string, and then let's try something different. I'm going to break up this chocolate, it is Lindt chocolate, so it comes in these nice, easily breakable sections. For this image, I'm going to do a stack, I had to make sure it wasn't poisoned. Then I'm actually going to wrap the stack. I'm checking to make sure my top one is not smudgy or fingerprinty, and then I am going to bring my red ribbon or my red string back in here and tie it up. This is my chocolate stack shot, I want the light to come over the top it, so if I'm shooting from this direction, it's all going to be shadow area which I don't want. I'm actually going to take down one of my walls, apparently I'm taking down two of my walls, and then the light direction is coming this way. When I photograph it, I will get a lot of texture on this side. However, this side is the one I styled. That's a little bit too much, I got a lot of string going on here. I'm going to cut one of these, and then make this not quite so crazy. It might be cute to make it look like I'm packaging it with cement, there's my little garnish. I think that looks pretty cute, I'm going to shoot from this direction and get it with the last remaining light sweeping over the top. We'll just do that with my phone, I'm getting a lot of really diffused light, see my shadow is not very dark, and I'm actually going to open this. The sun has set and I can work with a little bit more bright light. This is kind of the quality of light you would get on an overcast day, and so it's pretty, it's strong, but it's not so strong that my shadows are a harsh straight line. Here's what I've got, I'm just going to take this little surface, and try and block some of the light that is coming into my lens. I'm going to hold that here, really so that I've just got this slim area of light, and I will shoot it this way. However, I'm getting this clamp in the background. If you're buying clamps for the first time, go with some black ones. That might help. Back to it. This piece in the background is distracting and delicious. All right. Here are some of the images that I was able to capture from this setup. This first one was taken with my iPhone and then the rest with my DSLR. You'll notice the biggest difference is just my depth of field between this one and this one. This image I really like and I think it turned out well. This one's a nice top down which I love, and then this one is a great example of what not to do. Compositionally, a big rule that this one is breaking the rule of tangents. One thing to keep in mind that you might not think about is, keeping your subjects away from the edge of the frame. You'll see this bright red string in the foreground is leading your eye around and then completely off the page. It's okay to cut things off, but make sure that, see this loop how it's super, super close to the edge of the frame, that makes people nervous. Back up just a little bit and it looks a lot better. For my next shot, I'm going to be photographing this bar of chocolate. It's from Iceland and it's so gorgeous, I can't wait to see what we can make with it. This chocolate bar is coffee flavor and I wanted to incorporate some coffee beans and maybe some coffee or coffee stains on the picture just to sort of play into that. I have two different kinds of coffee beans right now and I wanted to show you the difference in appearance. Look at these beans, like for real, completely different. Both are delicious, but you can tell one is a lot more matte, and the other is way oily and shiny. These ones are going to be a lot darker and have more contrast, and I think experiment with both and see what is going to give you the best image. This server is so cool. It's broken, I don't know when that happened but that's okay, we will incorporate it. I actually happen to have a brown coffee mug and I think that'll be good in this picture. I am going to put some coffee in it, and I'm also going to put some coffee on a plate. What I want to do is get a little mug spot. Hey, that's a mug I made, just kidding, but seriously. I'm going to try for the best here. I've never tried to make a coffee stain before. That turned out, looks pretty good. Can you see it? Yeah, you can see it. This is kind of fun. You don't want to be too crazy, but I do want the subtlety of it, and then I actually like there's little drip on the table, I'm just going to drip a little bit more for visual interest. Cool. Great. We are not going to photograph the plate of coffee. All right. Because we actually have coffee here, I'm going to set up our mug somehow, try and make it look good. Then the chocolate bar, I like the wrapper, but I don't know if it's going to be too much. I may just ditch it for the plain chocolate and I'm going to try and break it on our lines here because they're very cool. It helps if you have clean hands when you do this, you don't get fingerprints all over your chocolate, like I just did. Then one of these, I'm going to take a bite out of for the picture, not because I'm super hungry. All right. We have our coffee stain, we have our cup here, I need some beans in here. I feel like these, matte kind of beans are a little bit too much the same color. My super, super dark beans, I think will be better. Let's get a teaspoon of coffee beans over here. Well, I think that looks good, but we'll see what it looks like with a camera and go from there. Here is my finished shot, I took this one with my iPhone. I ended up ditching the measuring spoon because I didn't like that it was overly competing, It seemed like that was the subject of the photo when really the subject should be the chocolate. I tried to keep it simple, took that out. I love how this image came out. I think that the way that the light hits the angles on the chocolate is super beautiful. I like the fresh coffee stain, I had to keep doing a couple of those coffee stain prints because they kept drying out. Then my coffee, if you'll notice, it is very bubbly. Every now and again, I would move my coffee from one coffee mug to another, just kind of back and forth adding air and I think that the bubbles helped make it look more fresh, I just kept freshening it up while I was shooting. Another thing to notice, the beans, I tried to flip a few of them over onto the side with the slice, the little line on it, that way they didn't look too much like little bugs. But yeah, this is what I came up with, I love that the crinkled paper adds a really, really nice rustic texture, really tells a cool story. Another last minute composition tip is to, I'm sure you've heard the rule of thirds, you can see that the top third of my image is the coffee mug and its shadow, my middle third of the image is pretty much the chocolate and then the bottom third, or nearly third is the coffee beans. I think splitting the photo up this way helped add that visual interest that we're looking for and be able to tell a story at the same time. Yeah, thanks for watching and hopefully you are able to learn something and this wasn't too crazy. 7. Metering: All right, metering. Metering is what happens when your camera looks at the scene that you're about to photograph and says, "Based on the lights and the darks here, I think you should use these settings." Typically it's to get a properly exposed photo. Because of the nature of the photos that were taken for this class, the dark and moody photos, we're going to override what our camera thinks is right, and take them darker like they should be, if that makes sense. If you're shooting on auto mode, it's going to be a little bit tricky for you to get your images as dark as you want without having to switch to manual. I recommend switching to manual mode and working with your shutter speed and your aperture and your ISO to get the right exposure for your images. If you're shooting with a DSLR, you have an on-camera meter that you can see. It's basically a bar with little lines on it and it'll tell you if according to the camera, your photos too bright or too dark or just right. It helps you be able to change your settings so that you get the most perfectly exposed photograph that you can. There's a couple of different metering settings. There's a full metering setting, so it basically averages all the information from the whole image, all the contrast, and then just says, "Well, based on this, your photo will be properly exposed using this or you can do spot metering." If you're taking a picture of a person and it's a really bright background behind them, you want a spot meter for their skin so that the camera knows that's what you want properly exposed, not this overwhelmingly bright white background. This all happens inside the camera, and if you're using a phone, this happens automatically. If you've ever tried to take a picture of a dark object on a white background, you notice that the camera has a little bit of a tricky time. You click on the object and it makes it way too bright, you click on the background and it makes it way too dark and it's like, "Why is this happening?" It's because your camera doesn't know what you're photographing. It just knows what colors and what brightness is present, and so it tries to do its best but it's not always perfect. This is important to keep in mind when we're doing dark moody photos, because what we want is a darker image than what our camera is normally programmed to give us. I'll show you how to manually adjust that, the exposure in your phone so that you can get images that are more true to life. 8. White Balance: Let's talk white balance really quick. White balance is basically you telling your camera what color the light is when you're shooting so that it can make your images look as true to life as possible. I'll be honest with you, when I shoot with my DSLR, I just put it on auto, I have a lot of other stuff going on, changing my aperture and my ISO and my shutter speed that I don't want to have to deal with making sure the colors are right too, so I just let the camera take care of it and then because every single photo that I put out in the world is edited, I always edit my photos, it's not that hard for me to take that little extra step and make sure that my photo is warm or tinted the right way. But if you are just starting out and maybe you want to do minimal editing, it's important to set it in camera. Today in this class, we're going to be using window lay, and so it's important to set your white balance to either that little sun or 5000 Kelvin. Fun fact, if you are getting new LED lights for your home and you want it to look the same color as the light outside, you can get 5000 Kelvin bulbs and that's what I have in my home. You probably won't be able to see very well. But when I turn my lights on, they're the same color as the light coming in through the windows and so it feels really natural and really bright. The only time it's a little weird, is at night when you feel like your house should be yellower and our houses just bluish. But once you get used to it, I love it so much more. Anyway, that was a weird sidebar, but white balance is important and also I'm going to turn these lights back off because I don't want you to think that you should use window light and the lights in your ceiling when you're doing these photographs, you do not want to deal with mixed lighting. It's so hard to get the white balance right on a photo that has two different color lights shining at it, you'll have a weird shadows because the lights overhead are going to get in your photo, it's going to compete with the light coming from the windows. For the purpose of this class, we are just going to use one light source and that is a window light, the sun shining through the window creating diffuse light. Now I want to show you what each of the preloaded white balance settings will do to your image. We have this tungsten shot, it looks super blue because incandescent lights in your ceiling tend to be warm, almost an orangery color, so the blue will compensate for the extra orange. Fluorescent lighting tends to be green and so this image has a magenta here to it, to override the green. Daylight, this is the setting that I recommend for taking pictures with window light. This is the closest that I could get, my picture has nice graze, it's not too warm, not too cool, and it's just about perfect. We have flash, this is what you would use if you're using the flash on your camera, the flashbulb tends to be a white light, almost a teeny but blue, so this is a little warmer to compensate. Cloudy, is very similar to what flashed did to my image. This is probably my second choice. If I were to select it, daylight would be my first choice, cloudy is my second. It adds just a little bit too much warmth for my personal taste though. But basically, it's what you're going to want to use if you're shooting outside with an overcast sky. Then lastly, we have open shade. This is in the middle of the day when the sun is out and you go to a spot that has been shaded by a building or something. This one, is a little bit almost ready, it's a little red and yellow, and so that will compensate for the blue-green of the shade. These are my preloaded settings and what they did to this particular scene. Again, stick with daylight if you're shooting with natural light coming through a window and you should be good. 9. Color Casts and Reflectors: It's really important to be mindful of what you're wearing when you're shooting. If you have bright colors on, you are going to throw those colors onto the images that you're shooting, especially when you're shooting back light, the light is going to bounce off of your shirt and get onto your picture. It's going to cause these really, really ugly shadows that are hard to get rid of. So I've set up this to show you. Here is my picture with no weird color casts. Then here it is with a green color cast. This is just a blanket. I'm holding it here so you can see light is coming in, bouncing off of this and and getting right in our shadow areas. It's so hard to edit this out. If you can wear white or gray or black, something neutral, that's not going to affect your images this way. Here is what happens when you wear red. You've got that reddish brown shadow light in here. So totally makes sure that what you're wearing is a priority and wear something that's not going to negatively affect your images. Again, here's what happens when you turn the overhead lights off. It's super important that you just have the one light source when you shoot. This is a reflector. It's just a piece of tin foil wrapped around a cardboard box. I use it to shine light onto the really dark shadow areas of my subject. This is helpful when you've got really, really dim lighting and you just need a little bit of light kicked up in your photo. This is a close-up of what happens when you use chalk on the edge of a dark surface. It's a little out of focus, but you can still see I'm coloring it in and then that's what it looks like after. You can wipe it off with water and then apply it again, it's super nice. You can use chalk, you can use baby powder, corn starch, or like I'm using this soapstone marker that came with my cheese board. I also use it up in this corner so that it helps brighten up that edge and you can really define a shape. 10. iPhone Photography: This is a picture that I took with my iPhone and then edited in the VSCO app. I'm just going to run through some quick tips and tricks on how to get better sharper images with your phone. I'm going to rest my iPhone on this slate for stability. That way I can freely use my other hand to figure this out. If I tap on the picture in the darkest spot, it automatically brightens it and it picks that as my focus. You can see now my chocolate is out of focus. My chocolate is my subject, so I will be clicking that. This is a more highlighted area of the chocolate. When I hit that, my phones in-camera meter is going to say, well that is perfectly middle gray so everything else will adjust accordingly. If I told it that this was perfectly middle gray, it would make the photo even darker. This is a great way to get Moody photos, except if I'm clicking over here, this is not in focus anymore. What I want to do is click on what I want in focus and if my image is too bright, I can touch that little sun and drag it down and that will make it darker, dark enough that I can do my moody shot. Let's say you're just doing every day, whatever else photography and your picture is too dark, you can always bring the sun up to make it brighter. I don't want to do that for this picture because it'll blow out my highlights. Bringing the sun-down, but not too far. What I want is my chocolate to look as dark as it does in real life and then if I hold this down for two seconds, it turns on this AEAF lock is this auto exposure autofocus lock. It's locked at right here. That means if I move it like this, if I move it around, it's not going to automatically adjust my brightness or my focus. I want to get this back on here. I'm going to re-do it just because I want to make sure it is in focus. We'll do twice, we're locked onto this space right here. Now I can drag the sun to be the darkness that I want and then go ahead and take my picture. Let's say I wanted an even lower perspective to get that black background to be lower than the picture. I can't like really get my phone a whole lot lower. One trick that I like to do since the camera is up in this corner, you can just rotate your phone upside down and now you can get a view that's it's a lot lower. I'm going to take a photo from this way also and this is how that one turned out. 11. iPhone Edit: Here we are in my camera roll, and basically when I decide what picture I'm going to edit, I just sit and go through my photos that I took and I favorite the ones that I like with the ones I have potential. We are going to start with my first picture that I took. I actually really like this shot, so I'm going to favorite. I really like the negative space in this shot. I think that one has a lot of potential. That one cool, but I don't like how it's like half dark, half light. I like this picture a lot, but I don't love how that measuring spoon creates a straight line its like distracting. Let's see if I got a different shot, ooh my gosh my cat. This shot is pretty good, It's pretty interesting. I like it, you can see the coffee ring in there. I'll favorite it, I love this shot. You can see I've got this ring here. My coffee has bubbles in it, so it looks super fresh. The picture is pretty bright, but I think that we can turn it to still look really moody. I'll go ahead and favorite that one. I like this one too. It's just a slightly different crops. Depending on my end photo that one might even better. You can see I moved out a little bit just in case I wanted to get the whole coffee cup in the picture, that was good. In fact, I'm going to unfavorite that one and then favorite this one instead. This is the last set of images I took today. I love the ones that I took on my camera, not sure about these. I liked the shot, but I don't like this piece of chocolate right here looks like it's been smeared. When you're posing your chocolate, make sure not to have too warm of hands because you'll melt it a little bit. That's a cool shot. The chocolate is really dark and hard to see, but I think we might be able to work with it. We're now launching the VSCO App Oh, great, like my little selfies. We hit the plus sign to import some photos. Up here at the top it shows different albums, right here you can see favorites, which is awesome because I just put all these in here. These are the pictures that I have to work with these nine. To start out, I think I would like to edit this shot. I click on it and then hit the Check mark that's imports right into this skill. Then I click these zero Editing icons and it pulls up on the filter menu. Right here we have the different filters that come preloaded with the VSCO app for free. Basically when you click on it, it applies the filter at full strength, and i f you click on it again, you can turn it down just a little bit. I rarely use a filter at full strength. I always turn it down just a little bit. Let's go back. Go through all the filters a little bit more. Just see what we have to work with, and then over here, these are like the paid filters if you buy the subscription. Of all of those, I think F2 or G3 look pretty good. I'm going to go with F2 Has a little bit more of a magenta hue and then I'm going to turn it down. If you long press, you can see the before and after. Its very hard to tell, but I added just a teeny bit. I'll add just a teeny bit more just so you can see what's going on and then check mark to apply. Now, this picture isn't finished yet. I'm going to go into this little editing window here and it's sorted all my tools with little icons. First off, exposure, I feel like my exposure is pretty right on when I was taking the picture, I made sure to pull that little sun down, so that it would be nice and dark, but I can darken a little more for more meatiness. Usually I weigh depending on how much contrast I add if it needs more exposure or not. I just took it down just a little and then contrast, I love to take the contrast up. That is what's going to add that mood and that low-key feel to it. You can see I added quite a bit of contrast. I'm not going to straighten it because I like the angles and everything. Crop, I might crop it, but I'll probably just end up cropping it in Instagram. I'm just going to leave it as is. Then let's see, sharpen, sharpen is something I used to overlook it, but now I always sharpen, especially when I take pictures with my phone because I feel like I can never get it sharp enough and so I definitely would not apply full sharpness. You can't it's hard to tell, but it just gets really, really grainy. I Usually like to just apply just enough that you can tell it's been sharpened. One thing I don't like about the VSCO app is it doesn't show before and afters of what you've just applied. It just shows you before and after like from where you started. This is where I started and this is where I am now, if you want to see before and after, you have to just drag back and forth and see what's being applied. I'm just going to apply, plus five on the sharpen, clarity I rarely ever use. It does really well, things to the picture that I do not like. Going to bypass that, saturation, I usually kick it up just a little bit because photos tend to come out just a little gray out of camera. This is going to kick up my orange tones in here in blue and really add a lot of that color contrasts, and I was looking for. Then I might kick up my shadows just a little depending on what it looks like, yeah, not doing it. My temperature is pretty right on, but if you wanted to adjust it, this is what to make it a little warmer. That adds like a more home like feel, where as blue adds more of a sterile almost like scientific labs feel. I don't even know which one I like better. I'm going to go with slightly under and then my tent. I think my photos right on but here's what the little more greens and here's with little more pinks. It's a very subtle change. I think more greens looks a little better. Yeah, I like that. Basically, if you're not sure what these spiders do, just click it and see that's what I like to do. Skin tone, there's no pick people in this picture, but it will effect like the brown, see how it turns the browns like redder or Greener. I don't need that because I've already adjusted the tents. I'm just going to leave as is. Then here, it's going to add a dark shadow around the outside that can help in our moody picture. In fact, I actually like it for this shot, because it brings the focus in. I'm going to apply that one and then green. Green is like if you're really in the farm, you would add a bit of green.I'm not, I don't know. I never know like how I feel about grains, so I just don't touch it.. Fade, that's another thing that's very trendy right now, it is to add some fade and like make the picture look super stylized or whatever. But I feel like it's a little bit dated, unless the picture looks a lot better with it, I usually don't add it. I don't mess with the shadows or highlight tin unless I've got a weird color cast from like mixed lighting. That's pretty much where we're at. I think I like the overall picture, but if it was an advertisement for this link chocolate, it's just like that doesn't not, it's definitely not the focus of the picture. The light is hitting the cinnamon sticks more, so that seems more like it, but as a general mood and feel, I like how this picture turned out. I'm going to save it. You can hit the dot-dot-dot and save it to your camera roll. That's what I normally do, save actual size and then I would upload it to Instagram from here. 12. Project Description: For your class project, I want you to go out and buy the most delicious sounding chocolate that you can find, because yes, when you're done, you get to eat it. You're going to study your chocolate and figure out what story that you want to tell based on what ingredients are in it, or what it's flavored, or anything. Then, take your images inside with window light, just window light, turn off all the other lights and get these dark, moody, beautiful photos as best you can, and then, edit them and post them in the project section. I hope that you'll come up with two to five different unique images that you've gotten from your session and then share those. Basically, it's kind of a way to practice different compositions of layouts, different angles, and really just push yourself to best photograph your one subject the way that you can. Then yes, sit back, eat your chocolate, and enjoy your hard work. 13. Final Thoughts: That's everything. Thanks so much for taking my class. I really appreciate it. If you don't already follow me, make sure to hit that little blue follow button so that you can get email updates next time I post a class and keep up to date on everything going on around here. If you decide to share your images on Instagram, please tag me. My handle's just tab with a park. I love to see the photos that you take. Feel free to share them in the project section. If you have questions or you need extra help, reach out. Just disclose a little comment and I will totally get back to you. I can't wait to see the images that you take. Thanks again.