Duck wrote:My first, and strongest suggestion, is to bring your computer over to the table and do the styling tethered while looking at the screen. I notice that your layout is spread out with the plate taking on a smaller percentage of the overall frame. A tighter composition would have served this image better.
By styling live you can see the relationships of plate to cups, plate to silverware, accessories to overall composition, etc. You can also look out for unusual or distracting overlaps like the background rose to the plate, or balance, like all the silver on the left and china on the right.
Overall it isn't bad. I'd like to see a little more light on the plate. Also, you have to consider the psychology of placement. The plate has two pieces missing but from the other side of the dish. That alludes that someone else took those pieces (and left one unfinished on the table) rather than the viewer taking the pieces. That creates a subtle disconnect. It is also reinforced by the empty chair on the other side of the table. Subconsciously the image says, "while it looks good it wasn't tasty. See, I didn't even finish and I walked away from it."
I can see the romantic feeling you were going for (sweets, roses, cozy seting...) but between the wide open spaces, empty chair and turned dish it doesn't come across like that. I would suggest uping the ante and place a female in the chair. You don't need to show much, just an indication of a feminine body as the target of the viewer's affections at this cozy setting.
Just my two bits. Hope it helps.
Steven G Webb wrote:I'm not qualified to make commentary on the technical elements but I think this is a pretty picture. Thank you for the pull-back view it is very helpful in seeing how the image was brought together.
Ed Shapiro wrote:There are many approaches to take in food photography but essentially, in advertising food or illustrating finished recipes for a cook book you are SELLING THE FOOD by making it look appetizing. If the shot does not make the mouth water than it is not doing its job. Therefore the motif of every shot should be the food stuffs themselves. The serving dishes, dinnerware, flatware and accessories should be secondary in the composition. Unless I am shooting a specific combo or “meal deal” for a point of purchase display board or a menu, I only suggest secondary articles in the background. I might use selective focus techniques or subtractive light methods to de-emphasize the accessories or concept props and I work hand on bringing out the textures in the food.
I like to have the food placed in such a way that the viewers feel like they can reach in a and take a helping of the food and “dig in” as opposed to having an abstract or aerial view that makes the food seem like it is somehow inaccessible. If it is a restaurant dish; I make sure the side of the plate as it is presented to the customer is right up front and personal.
In you image you have good rendition of texture and the product looks appetizing. This may sound kinda wired but to me the shot does not seem “intimate” enough- the main product is too far away and the props each lead the viewer’s eyes in a circle to each of them rather than a cohesive image. The camera position is a bit low and does not show much depth in the main product and also does not reveal much of the beverages in the cups. With tea and coffee I will add steam tablets and inject air from a syringe into the liquid to form bubbles around the edges to create a just poured look. Using shallow depth of field is kinda tricky as well in that it is meant to lead the eye to the sharp portion of the image but not give the impression that one or two additional props or accessory items are “out of focus”.
The image you have there is not too bad but it needs to be refined. If you are working tethered or not is not all that important as far as initial styling is concerned. I begin working on the layout of the items and the placement of the props even before the lighting is considered or the camera position is determined. Having a live tethered image becomes more important later in the set up process when camera position, lighting and finishing touches are applied just before shooting.
I hope this helps.
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