Since the pandemic, I have purchased more groceries than usual. Instead of going to the market twice weekly (I have a tiny refrigerator that I share with my lab), I now go once or once every week and a half. I’m not used to buying as many fresh foods at one time and as a result, I don’t consume all of my food fast enough and sadly they go bad before I get to them. So, I am still adjusting to this quarantine lifestyle and dislike wasting so I’m working on a better system.
I found that I have left over berries to finish this week and if I don’t use them up in several more days they will likely go bad. So, I found a recipe on Youtube that seemed like a good way to put my blueberries to good use. But, I’m never good at following specifications to a tee. I added banana to the recipe. I have to say I was a little dissapointed the pancakes didn’t come out as fluffy as I wanted, but the overall flavor was still good.
THE CHALLENGE WITH THE SHOOT
This shoot almost became a fail. Because I was relying on the pancakes being fluffy, I relied on it to give me the height I needed to make a good stack And yield some good shots. But the pancakes were rather flat and I halfed the recipe. I always halve recipes because I’m only one person. There is no way I can or should eat 12 pancakes on my own.
So, half the recipe and flat pancakes, the stack was going to look pathetic. I had to think of a way to add height without having to make more pancakes. I didn’t know if it was going to look good but I decided to cut the pancakes into triangles and stack them up. Then stick a toothpick in the middle to hold them together. And add some blueberries on top to cover up some of the stick. “Hmmm, it looks funny”, I thought. And it was leaning to one side and falling over. So, I had to tear up some parchment paper and make a wedge to level out the pancakes. It was a challenging shoot due to these reasons. Also after pouring the syrup you can only take a few shots before the pancakes soak it right up. You have to pour more syrup and work fast.
COMPOSITION AND PROPS
In my mind I knew I wanted a white, bright, and airy image. Blueberries and purplish blue flowers, keeping to 1-2 colors only. I don’t have a ton of cool or stylish props so what props was I going to use. Most of the times i just use whatever is available. I opened my cabinets and immediately my eyes were drawn to some white bowls I had stacked up. I thought, ”well, this is different than our usual but let’s try just empty bowls today. How about a stack of pancakes sitting amidst some empty bowls? Let’s go for it”
So I grabbed all my white bowls and arranged them around, leaving space in the middle for the hero dish. I’m too lazy to sketch out my ideas so I have to mentally design in the moment, moving and adjusting props as I go along and see fit.
I was pretty happy with the props and composition. Also I did a good job arranging the flowers I picked from my backyard today. The other day my flower attempt was a total mess. So, at least I had that going right.
The pancakes pretty much only looked good from straight on and slightly angled (between 45-90 degrees), so I didn’t vary the angles as much as I normally would have, which is super unlike me. But, I had an awkward subject that only looked good from one perspective pretty much, or a bad stylist. lol
LIGHTING & SET UP
Images were taken in natural light by a large north facing window around 1pm hour. It wasn’t super sunny so no diffuser was used. Window to the right, reflector to the left, angled slightly to light the left front of the pancakes. Shooting table was the same level as the window, although I usually prefer it below the window (was just too lazy to adjust the table height because it’s a lot of work).
I did attempt to take some video but apparently my video skills are subpar and I didnt get any usable clips. I’m in for a steep learning curve there.
Anyway, here are my shots. All pretty much a slight variation of the same thing. Still, I think it came out pretty...the shots that I did get.
Shutter 1/60 handheld
ISO 400-600 approx
Almost straight on
I love close ups of food looking enticing
Can you see the very slight difference in angles between this image and the horizontal one above ? This one was taken straight on while the other one was slightly angled. Which do you prefer ?
Come say hi, check out more photos and recipes and follow me on Instagram:
Food & Blog account: @jengo.daily https://www.instagram.com/jengo.daily/
Portrait account: @ jengo_photo https://www.instagram.com/jengo_photo/