Yesterday you created a shot list for your subject. Today we take the next step of preparation.
This is my favorite way to prepare for food shoots.
This method is to sketch the photo that you have in your mind on a piece of paper.
Typically I sketch all the possible ways I would like to photograph the subject (this is already in my shot list).
Creating a sketch helps you visualize the frame before you start creating the photo. I’ve found it specially helpful for prop styling. By looking at the frame on the sheet, you can visualize the position of props and how it will impact the photograph.
Before You Start Sketching
My process of sketching begins with identifying the characters of my story. Just like we discussed earlier in the challenge, I like to clearly identify my main characters, my supporting or secondary characters and what I consider extra that are essential for the story but are not required.
As you sketch your food story on a piece of paper, identify these characters. This will help you decide how prominent or not, you would like them in the frame. You can also make a decision about the position of these characters as well as lighting, focus and distance from the lens.
Think about what your story is about?
Is this about a traditional dish that is served to an individual or is the dish sitting on the dinner table?
What props will you need to support your story?
Now using this information and ingredients, you should start the sketching process.
How to Start Sketching
Sketching should start with you deciding whether you want to frame horizontally or vertically.
Once you’ve decided this, now the question is where to place your main character? Once this is done, next move to secondary and then the extras.
Go ahead and now start experimenting. Don't worry if you cant' sketch. This is not a drawing competition. This is a tool for you to understand and visualize your compositions in advance.
Move the main character, place props and try different arrangements.
Let’s look at an example. As you will see below, I’m preparing to take a photograph of Chhole or Chickpea curry.
In this case, I started the process by making decisions about characters of this story – Main character in this case is the Chhole or Chickpea curry. Tandori Roti is going to be secondary character in this case. Extras will be rice, raita, onions and lime. Extras can be removed if they start to crowd the scene.
Then I listed some props that will make this work in this situation. This gave me a better idea on what to focus on.
And after making all these decisions, I started the sketching process. The process is quite straightforward. Using the information collected, I started with the main character or Chhole. I made some sketches and got a rough idea of how a certain combination would look.
After experimenting with couple of variations, I knew what I wanted to start with.
One thing to note is that, the goal of sketching is not to completing finalize all minute details. Rather, it helps you find the direction, before the food is ever brought to the scene. This gives you a starting point or a launching pad.
You should still explore and trying different variations once you are at the scene. Having sketched the concept or idea doesn’t mean that you have to be rigid and should not move around the scene and take photos. All of that has it’s place. Sketching puts a visual element before you even when you cannot be at the set.
So what is your assignment today? You guessed it…
Estimated time: 30 mins
Step 1 – Decide your subject you plan to use for this exercise.
Step 2 – Decide the characters – main character, secondary character/s and extras. On a piece of paper write it down.
Step 3 – On this paper, create vertical and horizontal frames that represent frames of your photograph.
Step 4 – Sketch how you would fill the frame. Add main character, secondary and extras.
Step 5 – Once you have completed that, take a photograph of your sketch and upload it in Lesson 23 Album on the new Facebook Group. If you are not a member of the facebook group, you will not be able to view the album. Request access from the FB Group page.
Step 6 –In couple of lines, share your experience in the comments below. Was this the first time you sketched your photo? Have you done this before? After sketching this on paper, what was going in your mind? Take few minutes to analyze this. Share with others and read experience of other participants.
Step 7 - Optional - If you have additional time and can do it, take a photo based on your sketch and upload it in Lesson 23 Album on the new Facebook Group. Once again, you will need to be the member of the facebook group to view the album. If you are note, request access from the FB Group page.
Again, this exercise is not about your sketching skills. This is not about how good your forks and plates look in your drawing... this is about visualization.
Not everyone will be comfortable with this exercise. Try it anyway. You may not use this technique in every one of your shoots, do the assignment anyway.