Happy Friday! I've combined two shoots into one today. The first is an amazing cupcake one of my co-workers made for Valentine's day (I know that was a while back), and I'm finally getting around to posting it. The second shoot is a quick product shoot for one of my friends, who owns and operates a Chai business at local farmer markets in Seattle.
Let's start with the cupcakes, which are always fun to shoot: there's so much detail in them from the frosting, to the sprinkles, and the nice spongy cake layers mmmm... This is my second crack at it, and I went for a more dramatic look, with a focus on details. My first time around, I shot cupcakes in a light tent, which is fine for a high key look, but I went the opposite with this one.
BAM! right in the face! Big 'ol red velvet cupcake, as they call em. Sure doesn't taste like velvet. I suppose the texture is velvety. Certainly delicious. One soft box to camera right is all I used for this shot. I originally had a fill card camera left, but I kinda of like how it just fades into darkness.
For the side profile, gotta make it big. Get low, and fill the frame. I wanted the rivets in the cupcake wrapper to show, so I lit this directly from 90 degrees left, and a little higher.
The hero shot, at f2.8 with my macro reveals the nice sprinkly sprinkles that look like ice chips.
OK, moving on to the chai shoot. My friend Amit sells Chai at some of the local farmers markets in Seattle. First off, I didn't really know what Chai was until I did this shoot. Sure, I've heard it at Starbucks "I'll have a chai this a chai that, with a shot of blankety blank with Diabetes on the side, please, thank you." So, I had to try some for myself. IT'S GOOD! It's tea, with a kicker - spices, and aromas that make you all warm and fuzzy inside. If you live in seattle, check out his Chai stands, you can find him here: http://www.tastychai.com/home/how-to-get-our-chai
The product comes like this, in a powder that just requires hot water. It holds all the components to make the magical Chai, including whatever it is that makes it creamy. It smells great too! This shot was an afterthought. I originally thought this was just my sample to shoot, and not how the product was sold, so I came up with this shot fast. Using a candle as a suitable prop, it conveys the sense of warmth. I also wanted it to act like it was providing true "candle light". Of course it wasn't, so I bounced flash from camera left gelled with full CTO to mimic candle light. Not a great shot, but gets the point across.
This was my original intended shot to showcase the product. Instead of showing it in a jar, I wanted to show the natural ingredients that create those interesting flavors and aromas. So, I tossed it onto a cutting board alongside some sugar. I think this "organic" display is more effective, but never made it to his website. Top / side light from camera left brings out the nice textures, but I had 2 troublespots to watchout for. The spoon's reflection had to look natural and not show the softbox. This is dependent on the angle of light and the camera's position, so I toyed around with it to get it right. You'll notice I put the sugar farthest right. Placing it further from the lightsource was to ensure it the details were not blown out, but I made sure it stayed white with an accurate exposure.
Last but not least, this was what I felt represented the product in a nutshell. It shows the hot steaming chai surrounded by its natural ingredients. I felt the background needed balance so I accesorized it with the sugar container. This was lit from camera left up high, and filled gently in front with a white card. I wanted the focus to be on the color of the chai, so I didn't over light the front of the cup. I snooted a flash in the far left corner to capture the steam. Although exposure was pretty long because I was shooting at f22, the flash froze the steam well enough. By the way, the steam was faked (can you guess how?)