In the Mood for Food with Larry Tiefenbrunn

Words and Images by Larry Tiefenbrunn

As you probably know by now, the hottest new item in the Platypod family is our new Mini Super Clamp. People are grabbing them by the handful. Why? If you are doing macro, food or product photography, you never have enough hands to hold up the things that you need such as mirrors, reflectors, branches, string and wire to suspend the object, etc.

As soon as I received our first shipment of mini clamps, I wanted to try it out myself. Inspired by food photographer Andrew Scrivani (check out his interview on Photofocus here!and his book called That Photo Makes Me Hungry I snatched a bunch of chocolate chip cookies that Mina made for our grandchildren and arrange them on a plate. Down in my basement studio that I use for webinars, I did a quick set up trying to mimic window light in a restaurant. As you can see in the BTS photo, I set up a Platypod ultra with two goosenecks. One with the mini clamp holding an 8 x 10 white card and the other with a small torch light bouncing into that card. This gave me a nice soft broad backlighting, yet washing the entire subject with beautiful quality light. The only issue with the back lighting scheme is that some deep shadows occurred on the camera side of the cookies with significant loss of detail. To compensate for that I had another gooseneck and clamp holding up a small acrylic mirror carefully directing the light bouncing back into the shadow areas. It worked perfectly!

That mirror was mounted together with my ball head and camera on the Platypod Max. My lens was a Tamron 35 mm F1.8 that is capable of focusing down to 7 inches from the focal plane giving a 1:2 near macro ratio. The look I wanted to achieve was from the point of you of someone sitting at the table getting ready to choose and pick up a cookie to take a bite out of it. This entire set up took me about 3 to 5 minutes with several variations until I got just the shot I wanted. 

If I were doing this again, I would probably have put a cup of milk or coffee in the right upper hand corner and maybe even drizzled a little chocolate syrup on the cookies. There are so many variations one can do. 

If I were to enter this photo in our Crave contest, I doubt I would win the prize, but I hope it does inspire others to create something really delicious and submit their entries. Remember,  all submissions are due by October 1, 2021! Click on the image below to enter the contest.