Category Archives: Part 2 Assignment – Elements of design

Assignment 2 – Planning

For this assignment I am to incorporate what I have learned thus far into a set of photographs directed towards one subject. I need to produce 10 – 15 photographs, all of a similar subject, which between them will show the following effects:

  • single point dominating the composition
  • two points
  • several points in a deliberate shape
  • a combination of vertical and horizontal lines
  • diagonals
  • curves
  • distinct, even if irregular, shapes
  • at least two kinds of implied triangle
  • rhythm
  • pattern

Choose from these groups of subjects:

  • flowers and plants
  • landscapes
  • street details
  • the raw materials of food
  • if you prefer, choose your own subject.

I initially thought that I would choose landscape as my subject as we have many forests close to where I live. However when I went out to try some scenarios I quickly realised that it would be rather difficult to tick all the required boxes. The forests here are dense and dark with very little clearings. They are not easy to walk through – they’re fine if you are a small animal where you can get through the nooks and crannies left by fallen trees and low branches. A small selection of the images can be seen in the gallery.

Then after reading an article on the LensCulture site about Brenda Biondo who did a series of the vintage playground equipment in America, I thought that would make an interesting subject. So off I went to do some test shots. Plenty of shapes and angles, but the equipment is so much smaller than in my childhood, plus I thought about the problem of children in a photo. The way the world is nowadays, I didn’t want to go through that hassle.

Shortly after this I happened upon CreativeLive’s site and noticed a tutorial about food photography (write up is under my Learning tab). In the tutorial, Todd and Diane Porter explained how simple it was to use natural lighting for food photography and they demonstrated their workflow in this regards. This got me thinking and I started to do some research into various food photographers. I looked at the following photographers’ work, focusing mainly on their photographs with raw food and have noted what I liked/disliked about their work:

  • David Loftus – loved the clean, rustic look
  • Beatrice Peltre – her photos are very light and airy, highlights blown out, also uses contrasting materials around the food
  • Carl Warner – landscapes with food. There was no way I was going to try anything like that. The man is a genius!
  • Keiko Oikawa – I also liked the way that she blows the highlights out in the background in some of her photos
  • Mittongtare Studio – the dark, moodiness and bright, airiness of his photos. Makes strong statements.
  • Jean Cazals – I liked a few of his images, but found some of them a bit too contrived. A slice of bacon wrapped around a branch is not going to send me out to buy bacon, nor will a fresh fish lying on caked mud. Still they are different and have a bit of a shock/surprise value to them.
  • Anders Schonnemann – most of his photos have a rustic, moody feel to them.
  • Clara Gonzalez – again the bright, airy look and the dark, moodiness
  • Alexandra Grablewski – her photos were mainly of cooked food and table settings with an airy feel
  • Mythja – I really liked her photos. Very rustic, used old props and many of the photos were taken outdoors, but they all have a very distinctive moodiness to them.
  • Clare Barbosa – her fantastic props and once again the airiness of her photos.

I also looked through numerous Fine Cooking magazines and cookbooks that I have on my bookshelf. I searched Jstor for any journals, but only came up with a few articles which I will include in the Assignment’s bibliography.

Now that I had some ideas floating around in my head, I persuaded my husband to make me a couple of rustic tabletop backdrops, one dark and the other light. I then went to the local Salvation Army store and bought some few vintage style cutlery (and also borrowed some from a friend). I went shopping for some non shiny props, as most of my kitchen utensils are stainless steel.

I then sketched out (very badly) some ideas – please forgive my drawing skills – they are non existent.

Let’s see how it all works out.


Barboza, Clare. (2014) Clare Barboza Photography [online]. Available from [Accessed 27 July, 2014]

Biondo, Brenda. (2014) Once Upon a Playground [online]. LensCulture. Available from: [Accessed 25 July, 2014]

Grablewski, Alexandra. (2014) Alexandra Grablewski Photography [online]. Available from [Accessed 29 July, 2014]

Loftus, David. (2014) David Loftus [online]. Available from [Accessed 28 July, 2014]

Mittongtare, Pornchai. (2014) Mittongtare Studio [online]. Available from [Accessed 28 July, 2014]

Mythja (2014). Mythja Photography [online]. Available from [Accessed 29 July, 2014]

Oikawa, Keiko. (2014) Keiko Oikawa Photography [online]. Available from [Accessed 28 July, 2014]

Peltre, Beatrice. (2014) Beatrice Peltre Food Styling & Photography [online]. Available from [Accessed 28 July, 2014]

Schonnemann, Anders. (2014) Anders Schonnemann Photography [online]. Available from [Accessed 29, July, 2014]

Warner, Carl. (2014). Carl Warner [online]. Available from [Accessed 28 July, 2014]

Workshop, Todd Porter and Diane Cu-Porter – Story on a Plate: Food Photography & Styling [webcast, online] Creative Live, Seattle, USA, June 2014. 32 minutes: 48 seconds. (accessed 27 July, 2014)


Food Photography Without Expensive Gear – Chris Marquardt

As part of my research for Assignment 2 I have been watching various video tutorials on food photography. In this tutorial Chris Marquardt takes you through a photo shoot done in a restaurant using available light and some homemade reflectors. I found it interesting that he doesn’t need a plate to be filled completely but can make a beautiful photo using just a portion of the bowl or plate.

Reference List

Food Photography Without Expensive Gear [webcast, online] Chris Marquardt, 19/05/2013. 30 mins 23 secs. (Accessed on 7/8/2014).

Story on a Plate: Food Photography & Styling

I have been doing some research into food photography which is one of the subjects I can choose from for Assignment Two and I came across a 32 minute video on lighting for food on Creative Live’s website. The photographers presenting the workshop, Todd Porter and Diane Cu-Porter, approached the lighting experience in similar fashion as the exercise I did for multiple points, where one starts with one item, takes a shot, adds another item, takes a shot and so on. Apparently this is the approach they always use when on assignment. They encouraged the use of natural light for food photography as far as possible as this does eliminate colour cast problems and the food just looks nicer in natural light. They did their demonstration on a punnet of cherries and Todd demonstrated how he looked for the best angle to show off the cherries. The first shot is always done with no reflectors or diffuser so that there is a good starting reference. Gradually a black foamboard was added to make the shot moodier, then another and finally a third was added to create a very dramatic effect. Todd then switched to show how the same punnet of cherries would photograph if backlit. This time white reflectors were added, again one at a time. I found this short video to be extremely informative and down to earth and I will be using these techniques in my assignment.

Unfortunately it doesn’t seem that I can link directly to the video, so there is an extra step to get to it. Click on the link above and once you access this page, be sure to click on the photo of the cherries just below the larger introductory screen (as seen below). You will then be able to view this informative video.

Free Preview: Shoot: Cherries

Free Preview: Shoot: Cherries

Workshop, Todd Porter and Diane Cu-Porter – Story on a Plate: Food Photography & Styling [webcast, online] Creative Live, Seattle, USA, June 2014. 32 minutes: 48 seconds. (accessed 27, July, 2014)