Sprinkles, Pours and drizzles in food photography
Top Tweleve Tips for Crisp, Clear Pour Shots
Capturing motion in food photography can be tricky! There are quite a few elements to consider when creating mouthwatering shots of sprinkles, pours and drizzles. While this list isn't exhaustive, it will give you a good framework to build upon when shooting motion shots! Let's get started:
1. Fast shutter speed is king. Shutter speed is the single most important element in capturing crisp, clear motion shots! All other camera settings will revolve around a fast-enough shutter speed.
2. Using a tripod is a must. You need those hands free so you can pour, sprinkle and drizzle away. Even if you have an assistant to pour, sprinkle and drizzle for you - a tripod ensures the clearest photo possible.
3. Beyond the tripod, you'll want to set up your camera timer, utilize a remote or shoot tethered. You'll also want to select continuous shooting so you can capture as much of the action as possible!
4. Use a low-mid range depth of field to let the most light in and highlight your pour. This tip is partially dependent on the amout of light you have to work with - if you've got plenty, you can utilize a mid-high range depth of field more easily.
5. Bump up ISO. If your sprinkle is blurry: increase your ISO! If you're someone who never wants to increase it above 100, it's time to break that rule. I've gone as high as 8000 in a natural light restaurant shoot in order to capture a clear motion shot. As #1 says, shutter speed is king.
6. Set your focal point on where the liquid is landing or where the liquid is pouring from, i.e. the spout of a pitcher.
7. Make sure your pour is picking up specular highlights via side lighting or backlighting. If you've never heard of specular highlights let me be the first one to introduct you to your new bff in food photography! Specular highlights are everything. They are defined as a highlight with shine and sparkle. Or as Joanie Simon defines them: "Specular highlights are the result of direct reflection. They're formed when the light bouncing off the subject is bright and not diffused. The key is to make sure that the light hits your food so the direct reflections are bounced back." These highlights help to give the viewer a sense of the shape of your subject.
8. Don't saturate your subject on the first pour or sprinkle! Slow and deliberate is the name of the game. Unless, you have other subjects to swap in, you’ve essentially given yourself one shot, maybe two, at getting the shot exactly right.
9. Tying in to #8: Only shoot a few frames at a time. This way you can check and see how your photos are coming out and make adjustments!
10. Know exactly where you’re planning to pour! Know what pours look best on which subjects.
11. Know where your hand is in the frame - if at all. Take a few test shots with the empty cup/container before you pour so you know exactly where to put your hand/the container once you start pouring and shooting.
12. Typically pour with the side or the front of the cup showing.
I hope that helps give you a good jumping off point! Or if you're more experienced, you were able to think about your motion shots in a new way. If you loved these thips and want a more in depth look into how to capture motion in food photography, you can grab my free eBook - just click the button below!