I have a huge sweet tooth, so when I was offered to shoot Lulu’s Bakery line of dessert products for their website and other promotional purposes, I gladly accepted. As usual, I had studio lighting and speedlites with me, in case I have to face different working situations. Upon initial inspection of the scene and consequently my working space, I have made a call to use studio lighting to cover the entire production area. However, during the shooting process I have come to regret that decision because I have not accounted for all the workers occupying the production area who started arriving shortly after I setup all my equipment. My setup consisted of three light units (out of which I ended up only using two) on tripods, two cameras on tripods and all the cords and extensions. It quickly became apparent that all the softboxes, umbrellas and wire are limiting everyone’s movements and create a tripping hazard. But time was of the essence because all the products had to be prepared for opening (since most products are sold the day they are bakes). I had to think quickly on my feet and come up with some kind of a compromise. There was no time to disassemble all my equipment and switch to smaller speedlites, so I made as much space for walking as possible and firmly taped every single thing to minimize the chances of anyone tripping or knocking stuff down.
I would like to mention Charlie, chef and owner of the place, who was super nice and very supportive. He was kind enough to help me with any difficulties and even suggested several interesting scenes for the shoot, all this, while baking and decorating wonderful cakes and pastries. Also, huge thanks to Joey from eyefuelmedia.com for all of his help.
My main task was to capture preparation and cooking process, as well as have plenty of product shots and close-ups, with some shots having enough copy space for text placement. The most difficult challenge was dealing with time allocation. I had to photograph each product as it was getting ready and sent to the storefront. No artificial glazing or any other photo trick was used, everything was fresh and eatable. We weren’t going for perfection; we were going for realistic product shots which you can easily purchase at this bakery. Basically, what you will see in an ad, you can get at Lulu’s Bakery. And I am the first to admit, this stuff is delicious, but you can probably tell by looking at the images. They also make custom cases for all types of occasions so if you are in NYC area give them a call or visit their website at lulusbakeryshop.com
Creating an interesting setup is always a challenging task. I usually have numerous props with me which help create a scene. If you find yourself stuck and unable to create an interesting scene for a product, try moving things around in your frame. If that doesn’t work, try changing angles and camera position. Finally, look around you. If you are working on location, on a shoot such as this one, there is bound to be something interesting that you can use in your scene. Sometimes it can even be a small mirror that creates that spark in your image, which is actually one of the props I used here. Never despair, always try new things.
Overall, I like the way these images turned out even though it was a hassle to come up with various scenes and setups while the production line was going at full speed.
I was using Canon 5D Mark II as my main body and switching between Canon 24-70mm f/2.8L and Canon 100mm f/2.8 (non-L). I was staying within f/5 – f/9 on Canon 24-70mm shots and around f/8 – f/11 on Canon 100mm close-ups. ISO was consistent at 100.
Lighting, as I have mention in the beginning, was setup with studio units, which were Calumet Travelites 750s. For majority of the product shots I used one softbox and one umbrella, however, I was occasionally adding second umbrella to the mix. There was no strobe lighting on product shots, all lights were set to full continuous light and the camera was on Aperture priority mode with remote, ranging from 1/5 to 6 seconds. On action shots I kept the shutter speed consistently at 1/160s and used strobe lighting coming from two main units, one of which was bouncing off a wall and a ceiling.