So my Pinterest Still Life board is full of all these wonderful darkly lit images of food, with rich colours, subtle lighting and deep shadows, giving a very different feel to the light, bright and airy images you usually see associated with food.
The “dark light” look (as I call it) really appeals to me and over the past few months I have tried to replicate it, and…..failed quite noticeably. It was very frustrating!
Today a lady on Awake posted an image similar to the above but with blueberries, and when I asked her how she did it, she kindly summarised her process which was very similar to mine but with ONE CRITICAL STEP EXTRA!!
So goddamn simple I want to cry!
What is it, I hear you breathlessly ask?
Lower your exposure in camera when you shoot it!!!
OMG I truly cannot believe it never occured to me, except I am so well trained as a photographer to get a correct exposure, that playing with this simply just was not something I even considered.
Steps to Create These Images:
- First I decided to get organised and actually do a flat lay setup (when you lay it down flat and shoot directly overhead)
- In my lounge – put down black art paper for the background, black foamcore at the top of the image and to the left, closed the curtains on the window at the top of the image
- Setup camera in overhead position
- Pick fruit and arrange on plate
- Put plate under camera, adjust tripod legs to suit
- I have two A4 black cards folded in a shallow V shape (so they stand up on their own) – these are used to block the light coming in from the window and shape it to best advantage
- Arrange light to suit while viewing in live view
- Edit in Lightroom
- Add a Kim Klassen preset
For the red currants (and any translucent fruit) I tweak the luminance up a tad and it makes them glow internally in a pretty way.
Below is a slideshow with the before image being the basic edit done in Lightroom, and then the After shows the difference with a further process with Kim Klassen OLight preset and a bit of tidying up (removal of spots etc) in PS
This is a very dark moody lighting style, but is due to the difference from the usual style of photography that it appeals to me. I am still learning how to stage food images (it is an art in its own right) but having fun while trying not to buy ALL the props 🙂
Even if the style isn’t to your personal taste, do you appreciate these images? Do they tell you a story? Or make you want to reach out and taste the fruit?