Tomatoes from the market

Tomatoes from the market
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1 Comment | Report
OneCentMedia August 11, 2016
jenngo August 11, 2016
Thank you! These are some of my favorite tomatoes, coeur de boeuf :)
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Behind The Lens

I took this photo on my dining table in my home, the tomatoes were arranged in a wooden bowl that I usually use to store my produce.
This image was taken in late morning.
Beautiful diffuse light was filtering in thanks to the clouds, but I did not rely on natural light alone. I supplemented with flash bounced back on a wall through a diffuser and I had a white bounce on one side. I spritzed the subject a little bit with a water bottle to help add some reflective tones and dimension to the image.
This was taken with my Nikon D800 on a tripod with a 105mm macro lens and a SB900 flash and a cabled release. For studio food work I feel that it is important to have as much control as possible and so like to make sure I use a tripod so that I can fine-tune my composition exactly the way I want. The macro lens I find very useful because it allows me to get closer than a typical lens due to the shorter working distance, even though I wouldn't classify this image as a "macro" shot.
Living in Europe I always fell in love with the produce, and these "coeur de boeuf" (beefheart) tomatoes represented the epitome of the beautiful foods that we go to enjoy. I loved the bright colors that they came in, and the vibrant reds against the subdued greens when they were all together in one bowl. To this day these tomatoes are some of the most beautiful food I have ever eaten, and I wanted to capture that beauty from nature in this shot.
Minimal processing was done in this image - a little brightness and contrast and lightening of shadows, along with toning down the reds a bit because they can come across pretty strong in an image like this.
In my camera bag
For food portraiture like this, I normally have my full frame camera body (Nikon D800), a macro lens (105mm), and a mid-range zoom (24-70 f/2.8). Key for me is being able to have wide open apertures in case I am doing natural light photography. I almost always use a tripod and like using a flash at times as well (with appropriate modifiers). A lot of people will say food must be shot with natural light, and that's simply not true. I strive to use flash in a way that the method of lighting isn't the first thing that jumps out from the photo.
My best advice is to just experiment. I find it helpful to make sure to take your time and really finely control each variable until you know exactly what response will come from each aspect of an image that you change. My actual set up in this case was quite simplistic - tomatoes in a bowl on a dining table. But it was fine tuning the lighting and composition that resulted in an image I was really proud of. I simplified the composition choosing to highlight the one step, and used a wide aperture in order to let the other tomatoes fall back into the bokeh. Bouncing the flash softened it nicely and helped give rise to a dramatic but smooth fall off of lighting.

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