In last few days we’ve talked about three specific ways to improve your composition. We’ve discussed the decisions that we as a food photographers need to make.
But how should you make sure that all these decisions don’t conflict with each other? For an outstanding food photograph all decisions should point in the same direction and communicate the same idea.
The camera angle you selected on Day 3 or the decision about depth of field on Day 4 or the choosing the frame on Day 5, all these three decisions should be focused towards communicating the same idea.
There are many other decisions that you will make – decisions about props, lighting, post processing and many more. Not only the three decisions you made in last three days, but all these decisions should tell the same story. For creating a successful photograph, all elements of the photo should flow together and help the story.
In order to make this happen, you need to clearly decide and define the idea or the story and understand all elements that may impact the story.
The very first step is to clearly understand the purpose and write the story.
Most good stories usually have one main character. For your story, you have to decide who is the main character.
In commercial food photography, main character of the story is usually the food. For McDonalds that may be their burger, for KFC, that character may be those chicken wings.
For editorial food photography, the type of food photography that most food bloggers use, mostly the main character is not the food.
Most editorial food photos tell a bigger story. Sometimes it’s about the early morning breakfast and not just the pancakes, sometimes its snacking in the afternoon and not just bruschetta. Almost always, the story is about something more than the food or drink or the dish itself.
But what about your dish? How do you create a story that helps your food dish come alive?
For developing the story for your own food photo, you need to decide the main character of the story. Is the main character of your story the dish, or is it really about the experience of the afternoon in the sun on the beach? Are you really telling me about the tea or is it about the experience of the afternoon? What is it about?
In this assignment, your goal is to develop a story, as detailed as possible, useful for your participants.
Now about today’s assignment.
Estimated Time required – 15 mins
If you have any questions or problems about the course, take a look at the Frequently Asked Questions page. Also the blue box below has some suggested reading if you’d like to know more on a certain topic. Take a look at what we have below.
In today’s assignment, you will choose one of the subjects you’ve selected on Day 2 and write a story for that subject. Before starting this, get a pen and paper.
Here are the detailed steps: -
Step 1 – Select a subject from the list you created on Day 2
Step 2 – In one line, write the title of the story. The title should be very specific. Don’t leave it loose.
Step 3 – For this subject, decide what is the main character? Do you want the main character to be an experience or simply the food itself? As mentioned in the article above, is it the drink in a glass anywhere, or is it about being on the beach and enjoying the drink? On the paper, write down who or what is the main character of the story.
Step 4 – Now that you’ve decided that the main character, next step is about filling in details. If the main character is a cake, now you need to fill the details like, who is the cake for? Is it a full cake or a piece of cake? How many people are eating the cake in this story? It is just two people who are celebrating their anniversary?
Step 5a – In the comments below tell us- Have you done an exercise like this before? How did you make photography decisions before this exercise? (Give as much details as possible so that I can share more specific tips. If you haven’t made these decisions before and did not think about the story as part of your process, please share that also.)
Step 5b - Also share in the comments 1) What is the subject? 2) Who or what is the main character? 3) What are the details?
Step 6: Make a photograph that communicates the story. Use details you’ve described as part of Step 4 to create the scene and make the photo. It's okay to be unsure about this. If you don't know how to do this or feel like don't have the answer, try anyway. Once done, upload the photo in the lesson album on facebook group. [Important: You will need to be a group member to see the album page. Please make sure you have requested access for the Course Facebook group, without this you won't be able to see any of the lesson albums].
If you are not clear about story telling, strongly recommend you read this post - One question to ask before shooting.