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In this episode of LOVE, LARK:
Ever wonder how to get those gorgeous full-table images? Well today I've got TWO such shoots, coming right atchya.
A leetle bit overbooked, I've promised 2 clients Holiday tablescapes. PLUS have to sneak out of the studio for a portrait shoot. So I've obviously overbooked myself to the max.
Watch how I use a sneaky secret prop and styling trick to save this busy schedule, and deliver different shots for two clients, using essentially the same recipes. With the help of fellow foodie @hellofunseekers, we breeze right through the list of to-do's.
Not food related, but mentioned in this episode: If you'd like to see some of the shots captured for the dermatology, click here to visit the Barr Aesthetics website.
FROM TODAY'S PHOTOSHOOT
TABLETOP SHOOT PREP
Scroll through the gallery above to see some of the shots that came out of today's tabletop shoot. You can see the recipes are similar, but replated in different bakeware. I'm largely happy with the shots, and the clients were delighted.
If you're planning a tabletop/lifestyle shoot, a few tips:
Whenever a tabletop shoot is on the schedule, super-planning is key.
As with a traditional recipe shoot, decide in advance which recipes will be on your table. Consider the color and shape of each recipe, the visual sensation of it all. The key here is coordination and cohesion. Does it look good together? Would it taste good together?
Remember, a well done photo entices viewers to "eat with their eyes" so aim for a meal that looks and "feels" complete. As well as a tabletop full of vibrant, coordinating colors, and a variety of textures. It's like putting patterns together for a room. Except the recipe textures become your pattern here.
Additionally, a tabletop shoot requires table design, as well. Do you need matching plates and silverware? Table decor? Centerpieces? Favors? Flowers? Candles? Stemware? If the food is your primary focus, keep the accessories simple.
No matter how many tabletops I have shot or hope to shoot, taking time to saturate my brain with inspiration helps me get creative juices flowing. I love to search through Instagram hashtags or Google images before a tabletop or lifestyle shoot. Seeing dozens or hundreds of images helps me think outside the box, remember items I may have forgotten, and learn how to find angles/colors/setups that a visually pleasing.
I used to be afraid that I'd "copy" other artists if I looked to carefully at other ideas. True creativity should spring from within, right? I no longer believe that now. I think FLUENCY is part of creativity. So am constantly bombarding my senses with other people's images. It helps me understand, it helps me think, it helps me push my own ideas and limits. Gather inspo generously as you setup. It's a vital step.
Draw a Photo
I've found it incredibly helpful to draw AND LABEL a photo of my planned tabletop before shooting. A quick sketch helps me visually confirm that I've thought of most necessities. It also becomes an easy-glance "map" for prep and for the actual shooting process. If you're a visual human like me, grab the Sharpies and make yourself a pretty picture of what you hope to shoot.
Plan one full day of shopping and prep.
With recipe and table design ideas dialed in, time to create a shopping list with all specifics. Once complete, it's shopping time! Purchase all ingredients and supplies needed for the shoot. Wherever possible, look for precut or precooked ingredients. Doing so can cut prep time in half, something I find well worth having in your side. Since tabletop shoots can be so time-intensive to setup and shoot.
- Quick tip: While at the store, grab large reusable plastic containers. They are incredibly useful for storing recipe ingredients, partitioning off silverware or napkins, etc. Waking to a well-organized space where all parts and pieces are ready to rock makes it that.much.easier to shoot quickly and well. Avoid the chaos, organize, organize, organize.
With all supplies gathered, it's time to chop, pre-cook and prep any parts or pieces that can be made in advance.
Don't do it alone.
Sure, you can setup, style and shoot a tabletop full of food by yourself. But why? The best tables are those where people are gathered. So plan ahead, call over the girlfriends, phone a friend, and don't just shoot a table. Shoot a LIVING table.
Having help for prep, arranging and even modelling will get you infinitely more beautiful and original photos. Invite hands to lift a bowl, toss the salad, gather food on plate. Create a scene full of food and life. And you'll create a tabletop people don't just love to look at. They'll wish they could sit there, too.
In the episode, you'll see me shooting with my classic setup-- a Canon 5D Mk III paired with a Canon 24-70 f/2.8 . See my setup and discover even more tricks with my 90-Minute Food Photography Crash Course.
Wanna get even more of Food Photographer geek on? Find tricks, tips and answers 24/7 in my Food Blogging, Photography & Videography Facebook Group. It's free to join!