Photographing Fruits and Vegetables

Are you at a loss for a subject to shoot? Why not pick some very common subject matter and see if you can present it in interesting ways? Challenge yourself with little exercises in composition, lighting, and creativity. What better way to do this than to start by photographing common vegetables and fruits. They make such great potential subjects because they come in so many varieties, from long purple eggplants to broccoli sprouts that look like miniature trees; from small bright berries to giant watermelons. They are also very accessible. You can get them in the market, if you don’t already have them in your refrigerator. Among other things, you can mash, slice, dice, puree, cook, chop, carve, squeeze, or shred them.

Fruits and vegetables are usually full of fascinating textures, shapes and colors. By using strategic composition and lighting, you can show them off successfully.

Close up or macro shots, for instance, will direct the viewer’s eyes to the intricate details. These details may not be obvious or even interesting if seen at a regular distance. But by showing how the fruit or vegetable looks like up close, then the viewer gets to notice and appreciate what he or she would normally miss. The skins or surfaces are usually textured and peeling or slicing them off will show further details and textures.

These objects also make fantastic still life subjects. You might have noticed a lot of still life compositions of fruits and vegetables in other art forms, especially in painting and drawing. They allow the artist to practice capturing how they catch the light, how their varied shapes and forms flow in the frame, and how their colors complement each other. Aside from all these, they are universally recognizable. There is no need to explain what they are, so the artist is free to simply depict the beauty of their existence.

Fruits and vegetables can be photographed in the studio or indoors where lighting conditions are controlled and where they have been rinsed to remove specks of dirt. But shooting them outdoors, still clinging to the stem or root and a part of nature, is another effective way of portraying them. Taking advantage of it being in its natural habitat and soaking up the sunlight can make for some wonderful shots.

There are many ways to use lighting to show off the best features of fruits and vegetables. Window light is a great light source especially for still life shots since indirect sunlight, plus sidelighting, can introduce mood and drama. Intense light might make fine details disappear but can also make strong patterns more prominent. Backlighting can turn them into silhouettes or can illuminate them better especially if they are transparent or not very opaque.



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