Making pictures: lemon cheesecake

Taking pictures & making pictures.  Up until recently I have always taken pictures of anything that pleases my eye.  These are on the whim moments where something catches my attention and click goes my shutter.  I have albums upon albums of candids over the years that have preserved many memories.  I wouldn’t change those photos for anything but now that I’m taking food photography a little more seriously it is time to make pictures rather than just simply take them.

I made a glorious lemon cheesecake yesterday – think lightly creamy with a good crunch – and naturally had to shoot it.  Here I’ll talk through my thought process of the mini-shoot using a series of 5 photos.  For this shoot I used natural light from an East facing window.  I dressed the window with greaseproof parchment to diffuse the hard light that was streaming in.  A white foam board was placed in front of the cake to bounce light back into the shot.

ISO 100 | f4.5 | 1/250 sec | 77mm

In the picture above I had just started to add more information.  What started off as a lone cheesecake is now joined by lemon zest, half of a lemon and a zester.  This is all to tell the world what kind of cheesecake this is. The lemon also adds color and contrast to the image.

ISO 100 | f4.5 | 1/160 sec | 58mm

Further information was added in this picture.  I included the jar to make it more apparent that the dark blob on the cheesecake is indeed blueberry spread.  The camera angle was elevated to incorporate more of the jar but I was mindful of keeping the crust in view (you’ll see why later on picture #5).

ISO 100 | f5.6 | 1.160 sec | 79mm

Another angle change gives a different perspective.  This image seems a little more inviting to the viewer; it says “take me.”  Or maybe I was just hungry at this point of the shoot and have gone delirious?

ISO 100 | f6.3 | 1/50 sec | 80mm

This was an experimental shot.  It’s usually not advisable to take focus off the hero (the star of the photo, the cheesecake) but since I’m showing you a series of shots this is a good photo to include.  Look at the juiciness of the lemon!

ISO 100 | f6.3 | 1/40 sec | 35mm

This last shot was made overhead to show more detail of the blueberry spread.  I love how the spoon juts out of the frame, it’s almost like you can grab it.  My favorite detail, however, is the scalloped rim of the cake even though it’s not perfect… or perhaps because it’s not perfect.  This is my favorite picture of the whole series but I wish I could have worked the crust into view so that it could be a standalone image.  A scatter of crumbs maybe?

Out of this series of photos, which do you like the best?  Why?  When making your own pictures how different is your process?

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