Photographing Chocolate: A Sweet Challenge

Photographing Chocolate: A Sweet Challenge

PHOTOGRAPHING CHOCOLATE: A SWEET CHALLENGE

Photographing chocolate is very challenging. For one thing, humidity and temperature can play a big part in what the chocolate looks like. And chocolate is very susceptible to damage from fingerprints, casual bumping against other product, and time.

Working with chocolate to make it look great is what we worked on with this Project 52 assignment. I chose these 11 images to show a cross section of the work the students did on this difficult assignment.

Cover image by Terri Queen.

PHOTOGRAPH BY KHEMAIS HAJRI

Soft ambient from the back with a little kick from the rear-right bring these ridges of chocolate alive. The perfection of the chocolate is revealed by well thought out lighting.

PHOTOGRAPH  BY DAWN GARDNER

Notice the beautiful lighting on the different types of chocolate. Dawn used a large light from above with carefully placed fill cards to keep the dark tones readable.

PHOTOGRAPH BY ALBERT MADRILEJOS

Super soft lighting and wonderful composition show off these rare, exotic chocolates with fruits and nuts. A very large, diffuse light source in close to the subject creates this look.

PHOTOGRAPH  BY RICHARD NEUBOECK

A frame within a frame helps create a bit of mystery for these specialty chocolates. A large light source in close to the subjects presents a wonderfully soft light that helps fill the shadows.

PHOTOGRAPH BY MELISSA WAX

A small drip of chocolate on a white pear is a beautiful treat for the eyes. Melissa used a very soft ambient light to create this image. The liquid like highlight in the chocolate help sell the difference in textures.

PHOTOGRAPH  BY NEVILLE PALMER

A single light helps define the textures of this simple chocolate cupcake. Using a gradient surface allows the highlights atop the chocolate swirls to look even more glorious. A small shiny fill to the front opens up the cake toward camera.

PHOTOGRAPH BY KURT MOORE

Yep, that is chocolate wine. I haven’t tried it yet, but it is on my list. Kurt’s lovely lighting and beautifully shot bottle helps show off the candies all about the surface. The small splash light behind the bottle and glass help keep them front and center.

PHOTOGRAPH  BY TIMOTHY ARCH

Chocolate in a very simple form. Strong backlight, and a specular on the surface of the pan leads our eyes to the chocolate ball. Styling to include the chocolate powder helps keep us focused on the subject.

PHOTOGRAPH BY CARLOS CASHAT

A colorful display of fancy chocolates lit gently from behind with a softbox behind a little kick of light from the front for fun.

PHOTOGRAPH  BY CHARLOTTE LARSSON

Shallow Depth of Field helps to present the textures of these fine chocolates, while giving us a pleasing composition.


 

For the last time this year, I am running this very popular class on Black and White Portraiture. Lots of information on shooting people and converting the images to monochrome (black and white, sepia, toned etc…).

Please check out the page for a lot more information.

If you love still life photography as much as I do, you may want to check out this 8 Week Still Life Class. It is one of the most popular I offer and it will be the last time I do this in 2016. We take a deep dive into the structure, techniques, and styles of still life photography.

Please see this page for more information.

Back to Work… Again

Back to Work… Again

I was truly disappointed that my Alaska trip was cut so dramatically short. I didn’t expect it, and I was not really ready to give up on that idea. (I will do it next year, or the year after if I have to.)

The back pain forbade me doing any camera work, or walking even, so I had a terribly wasted August/September. I couldn’t even sit at the computer for nearly 6 weeks.

Physical Therapy (yea, Foothills Sports Medicine and Lori, my Physical Therapist) worked me back to a good spot. In fact, I feel better than I have in a long, long time. Sometimes these things can creep up on you and what you think is normal is not.

When I finally got the go-ahead to become physical again, I wanted to shoot more than anything. Once before in my life I had taken a forced hiatus from shooting and a young lady started me back on the shooting path. It was only logical that Briana work with me again to get me motivated to make images.

We spent a morning together driving and shooting and laughing. It was great catching up with her, and it was really fun to shoot again. There was so much I wanted to do – still want to do.

I decided to go old school on this trip, so all I brought was my Nikon Df and an 85MM lens. I also packed a Lumix DMC Z540 for snaps. No lights, stands, reflectors and such. Just natural light, a model, and a camera.

I had a blast, and we made some images I really like.

I hope you do as well.

July Portrait Challenge Entries

The 8 Week Portrait Classes had a July challenge of a “summer portrait”. Winner was decided by photographer Nick Giron, a very good portraitist himself.

Here are the entries:

Off to Alaska

OFF TO ALASKA...

AUGUST, 2016

Daily updates at Phoenix to Fairbanks website.

I decided last August that this year I would do something big, something challenging. When I told my wife I wanted to do something to really get back in touch with my creative side, she said, “well then, what do you want to do?”

“Ride a motorcycle to Alaska”, I blurted out, expecting her to dissuade me.

“You’ll need a motorcycle first”, she said, and the next weekend found us looking at bikes together. She has been so supportive of this trip / adventure that I can only realize further why I married her nearly 40 years ago.

Thanks, Marian.

So today I am off. Bad back, stiff left leg and all.

I will be updating from the road at www.phoenixtofairbanks.com and will be back to this blog when I return the first week of September.

See you all then!

Paula Puffer: “Journeys” – A Show in Houston

"Journeys" - A Photography Show in Houston

Artist/Photographer: Paula Puffer

“Journeys”

Photographs by Paula Puffer

Journeys consists of selected images from several bodies of work photographed by Paula Puffer since her mother’s death in 2010. Works that are a part of the show include:

Watching Alzheimer’s: Focusing on aspects of Alzheimer’s disease and how it’s progression changed her Grandmother’s life.

Will Travel for Sea Turtles: Photographing Kemps Ridley and other endangered turtle species along the Texas Gulf Coast;

Transient Art: Graffiti across the Southern US;

The Spanish Missions of Texas;

Canyons of the American Southwest.

Puffer explores the physical world around me as well as themes of life, aging, and death. Puffer also explores her place in the world as a documentary, commercial, and fine art photographer.

Artist Statement 

Paula Puffer is a writer, photographer, and mixed media artist located in Houston, TX. She spends the majority of her time along the Texas Gulf Coast although she regularly travels through the Midwest, Great Plains, and the Desert Southwest.

Paula is currently working on two projects.

“Secret Selves” focuses on documenting the secret selves that women have created for themselves and the impact those selves can have on their lives. Each image in the series uses upcycled and recycled props where appropriate to create the images portraying each  hidden self. The images will be created in color. 

“Family Farm” is a long term documentary project that focuses on building a sustainable farm in Iowa while deep in the heart of Big Agribusiness. The images will be a mix of monochrome and color images of the work Paula’s brother Charlie has undertaken after retiring from the United States Air Force and pursuing his dream to create a farm that connects people and their food.  

The show will run from July 30-August 7 at Texas Art Asylum (www.texasartasylum.com).

Address:

1719 Live Oak, Unit L,  Houston, TX  77003

Reception Hours

Saturday July 30th 1-8 pm
Sunday July 31st – 1-5 pm

Paula Puffer will be on site to answer questions about her images during both of those times.

Paula became a Project 52 Member a long time ago. I have watched her work mature and grow for several years now. She uses her camera to explore her fascination with the world around her. From Sea Turtles to Missions to Food Trucks, her work always gives us a unique and intimate view of subjects we have known, but not in the way she presents them.

This will be a great experience for anyone wanting to attend a photography gallery and speak with the artist herself. I am proud of Paula, but even more proud to call her my friend.

Meet Yechiel Orgel, Commercial Photographer in NYC

MEET YECHIEL ORGEL

NYC COMMERCIAL PHOTOGRAPHER

I read about Yechiel Orgel in an online publication a few weeks ago, and instantly knew I wanted to meet him and get an interview for Lighting Essentials. This is the interview I read, and please go over for a complete view of how hard and long Yechiel worked at his dream, perfecting and experimenting and developing a strong body of work along the way.

“Taking the jump was HUGE and it took me a good 8 months until I was actually able to say “I’m leaving” to B&H. I was missing days regularly at work, taking on photography jobs during the day. I’ve got to hand it to B&H: they were wonderful and extremely patient with me. They knew this was my long term goal and as long as my job wasn’t suffering, they pretty much gave me a lot of leeway.

That is, until the day they told me I have to choose what I want. I couldn’t have both anymore. I was pretty much only a part time worker at this point and they couldn’t hold onto me much longer.

 

When that happened, things escalated from scary to terrifying… I knew I had to make the jump and I had to make it fast. This step I imagine is really hard for anyone. Leaving a day job and a secure paycheck is never easy.”

We tried a few different times to get together for the interview. Once we simply missed the time, then I was stuck in the most remote part of Southern Utah I had ever seen. No internet, no service – no nothing.

We finally got together for this webinar-interview last week and I am very excited to share it with you.

Three takeaways from this interview:

  1. Yechiel worked two jobs to make this dream a reality. This took precious time from his family but he kept his eye on the prize. Work/Life balance is a myth to entrepreneurs who are driven to succeed.
  2. He is a very savvy business person. He knows the value of his work, and demands his clients meet that value with compensation that is commensurate.
  3. He shoots for his book at every opportunity, and at least once per week. Yechiel knows that the portfolio IS the marketing tool that gets you assignments. His commitment to keeping the portfolio strong is one of the reasons he is as successful as he is,

In addition to great talent, Yechiel is one heck of a nice guy. I feel I made a friend in that hour, one that I will chat with again. He generously offered to speak with the Project 52 and FPCN students and we will set that up for after my Alaska trip.

Some images from Yechiel’s portfolio.

Thanks so much, Yechiel.