Assignments Blog

Jul 17th

Assignment Three: Ingredients for a Recipe

Posted by with 6 Comments

This is a ‘Table Top” or still life shot.

The assignment: an image to accompany a simple recipe for an InFlight magazine. Those are the little monthlies that most of the airlines have in those seat pockets. Some are good, some are not.

This is one of the good ones.

Here are the parameters for the shoot.

Surface should be simple, without a lot of texture.
Acceptable would be cutting boards, piece of white floor tile, black glass, aluminum and so forth.
The client has stipulated that a plain surface be used, as they want to put some type on the image to call out the ingredients.

Keep that in mind as you shoot it… type may or may not be added to your image.

Shot should be from above looking down. At least 45 degrees, but full 90 would be acceptable.
This is a vertical image, not a landscape. The AD has mentioned that it may be used anywhere from a quarter page to a full page… that hasn’t been decided yet. Most magazines are portrait in orientation, your photo must be as well.

Choose a recipe that is very simple with only a few ingredients.
Salsa comes to mind… or Guacamole.
(But then I am always thinking salsa and guacamole, heh.)

Ingredients shot means NOT prepared… what foods go into the making of the dish.

Guacamole for instance: Avocado, tomato, tomatillo, onion, peppers, Cilantro, spices.

Recommendation… keep the light simple. Keep it flattering for the foods.
Soft, diffused lighting with plenty of fill is the kind of thing they love, so keep that in mind as well.

If you go shopping for the ingredients, make sure that they are the best items. Green chilis can look good or be all battered around… choose the most photogenic of the food items. I recommend the higher end stores and be very careful in transport. That tomato can look good until someone drops five pounds of potatoes on it.

Shoot immediately… produce begins to degrade right away.

Only one utensil is allowed to add context… only one. A spatula, mixing tool, knife, peeler… only one. And if you use one, make sure it is cool. Vintage is NOT old and crummy… heh.

I recommend a tripod, but not a deal breaker.

The video above discusses the shoot. This is the take based on the sketching that I did. You can see I worked angle and lens length as I searched for the best shot. Camera: Nikon V1, 10-30MM. Natural, modified light.


This is the Photoshop work I did on the image. I kept it pretty simple, as the commission called for a natural looking image, and I worked my light to make it as good coming out of the camera as possible.

LIGHTROOM / PHOTOSHOP Work on this image:

Final Image:

What it looked like after making the Guacamole…


Thursday Critique Webinar

Saturday Critique Webinar


1. You must use Photoshop Save For Web > JPG > Quality 60 or similar for uploading images. If you are using LR or Aperture, please check and make sure you are uploading images optimized for Web use at a size of Good or High.

2. Image Size: between 600 and 1000 pixels on the longest side.
THAT MEANS – whether the image is landscape or portrait, it must be between 600 and 1000 pixels on the longest dimension. I am recommending 900 for width as a goal, but some may want to go 1000.


1. Choose the review date you will be attending.

2. Choose file.

3. Upload it with the upload button.

4. You will get a “Success” page upon completion of uploaded file.

Size is not to exceed 1000 pixels wide or 700 pixels tall.


Thank you.
If you post the image on the Flickr Page, make sure you have the recipe in the description… then we kill two birds so to speak. We get to see some wonderful photography and we get some cool recipes… woohoo!

Flickr thread page.

  1. Damian Powell
    July 21, 2013 at 1:17 pm

    Hi, Don. Is the critique time correct for this assignment? It currently says 6pm on Saturday 3rd.

  2. Ian York
    July 21, 2013 at 4:47 pm

    Damian, when you register it shows 8.AM Saturday PDT. / 3.00PM our time

    • Damian Powell
      July 22, 2013 at 7:32 am

      Thanks for checking, Ian. I just signed up again and the “Add to Calendar” option put it at the correct place (1500h) in my calendar this time, so I guess Don has updated the event time. Anyway, so glad I don’t have to stay up late. 🙂

  3. Ron Velasquez
    August 1, 2013 at 1:11 am

    The meeting was moved to 6pm PST today Wednesday… Can anyone update me as to whether or not this was rescheduled? Thanks..

  4. Brady
    August 3, 2013 at 4:01 am

    Ron –

    I missed it too so I signed up for the Saturday, Aug 3 webinar … at 7 am (ouch!)

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