Egg yolk used in rhubarb pie project. Fotogrqaf Mats Andersson, Stenhamra Färingsö Ekerö

The rhubarb pie project

Mats Food photography, Learning, Pre-production Leave a Comment

Let me tell you about a great food photography project i did recently. I got a message from my friend Fredrik. He asked if he could come over and shoot food with me in my studio some day to learn a thing or two. I thought it sounded like a great idea and quickly said yes.

The theme is rhubarb pie

We needed a theme for this project to keep things focused. I came to think of this pie cookbook that i bought last year, but haven’t used yet. It’s “The art of the pie” by Kate McDermott. Actually i bought it because it has photos by one of my favourite food photographers, Andrew Scrivani. What better theme this time of the year than a rhubarb pie. Even make that a strawberry rhubarb pie. I started planning and reading recipes.

Making a shot list

I find it very useful in the early stages of a photo project to made a list of the shots you want to produce. That way, you can start thinking of light setups and angles and props and all that stuff. You can also come up with a sequence of shots that lets you make well organized project. We had a long and ambitious shot list. Some of its points were:

  • Closeups of ingredients, such as rhubarb, strawberries, egg
  • Whisk with custard
  • Rolling dough
  • Cutting ingredients
  • Pouring ingredients
  • A story about eating pie

Lessons learned

I think my friend Fredrik learned a lot and got inspired on this day, which was the main purpose. But i learned a lot too. I enjoy the process of shooting tethered and fine-tuning the composition and light so much.

One thing i rediscovered is how much i like natural light. We were working on this shot with a lemon that we had squeezed the juice out of. The flash shot version of this one came out pretty flat and uninteresting. When we took down the flash and shot it in natural light, i liked it much better.

And of course, we learned how to make a pie, Kate McDermott style. If you’re interested in pie making and great food photography, get the book. (I have no affiliation with Kate McDermott or Amazon)

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