Rifqi's photo

My photographic journey

Cooking like a boss.

I’m a lucky guy; I have two beautiful girls who takes care of me. Well, the big one takes care of me and sometimes the little one will give me a hug, which is pretty awesome. However, the little one is also showing an interest in cooking and she’s always very helpful, in her own way. My wife therefore got her an apron and wanted to take some pictures in the kitchen. Our kitchen isn’t exactly the most exciting room you’ll ever see, so I had to think a bit before I could come up with a decent setup.

First of all I had to consider the ambient light, though it didn’t take much consideration to kill it. A mix of flourescent and tungsten is pretty much as bad as it gets. There wasn’t much light coming in from the window either so in the end I lit the whole scene with flash.

Sampling the ingredients is important.

The key light was a bit tricky and the main reason for that was that my subjects would be facing a wall. I used a LP160 in softbox and it’s just out of frame in the top left. Because of the angle of the light I still ended up with more shadows on their faces than I wanted. To remedy that somewhat I placed a silver reflector against the wall, again just out of frame to camera left. That at least got some light back to the smaller of my subjects and filled out her face nicely. Unfortunately I couldn’t think of a way to do the same for my wife.

In order to control the overall exposure in the room I used a LP160 in umbrella, just to camera right, for fill light. I also gelled this light with some CTB, which means that the shadows have a slightly cooler cast than the key light. This fill light of course helps to fill the shadows as well but it’s kind of coming from the wrong direction to fill the faces. Maybe I should have tried to put the fill light above and behind me, to get it more on axis. A table and a bunch of chairs made things a bit crowded though.

Discussing kitchen stuff that I don’t understand.

As a final touch I wanted to add some interest and depth to the room and with that in mind I placed a LP160 outside the window on the balcony. I put some CTO gel on it and cranked it up to full power – voila, instant evening sunlight. This wouldn’t have worked nearly as well if the curtain wasn’t in place. It could work without the curtain but in that case I would want the light a lot farther away from the window. I wasn’t sure the flash would actually trigger but I left a small opening in the curtain and that was enough for the optical slave to pick up the flashes inside every time (except when I shot too fast and it didn’t have time to recycle).

Things go in the pot, food comes out.

That gap I left in the curtain actually turned out to be a bit of a problem, one I didn’t notice until I checked the results on the computer. If you look at all the shots here (except the top one) you’ll see a reflection of the fill light in the window. Luckily that reflection isn’t in the shot at the top, which is one of the reasons it’s my pick as the best shot of the bunch. I like her expression in the shot just above here but the top one is what I worked my way towards by trying different angles and trying to time the action. I feel that everything came together in that one; I’m happy with the composition, the light and the pose.

There’s certainly room for improvement, there always is. The most obvious ones (fill light and reflection) has already been mentioned and I’m sure I’ll find more as I keep looking at it. Still, for what it is, I’m happy with it.

Now, let’s see what’s cooking.

/Rifqi

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2 Responses to “Cooking lessons”

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