Day 239 – Tea and Croissant

Something different today, I am on a home based day and was wondering what I could photograph for today’s blog when one of my teens came back from walking the dog with a croissant to enjoy and brighten up my day … I did not really need the calories, but why not – but to make it extra special I thought I would use it to inspire me to take some still life photos with natural light from the window.

I thought I would experiment with the position of the camera and how it impacted to the photo. I carefully set up a cup of peppermint tea and the croissant on a matching plate, and then took a variety of photos. The only lighting was diffused window light to the left, and I used my 50mm lens through out – hand held, I also choose a wider aperture – so that I can see how the focal point impacted the image.

ISO400, F5, 1/250sec
ISO400, F5, 1/250sec

My first composition. The wooden surface was fairly neutral but had lines which I angled in one direction, whereas I choose to angle the cup handle, croissant and cutlery in the other direction from it.  I left the teabag in the tea with the twinings label on purpose but the tea bag does not add anything to the shot when I photograph it from this angle. The depth of field is such in this photo that nothing is truly sharp and in focus… but this was just my scene setting photo, t show the space around the objects.

ISO400, F5, 1/200sec
ISO400, F5, 1/200sec

I got lower, focused on the cup of tea, with a hint of the croissant in the foreground. Unfortunately the grain of wood changes in the background – but this could be sorted out in Photoshop by feeling in the area with the other wood.

ISO400, F5, 1/250sec
ISO400, F5, 1/250sec

Lower again, and you see less tea – more of the background – but I like the light on this image, the focus point on the tea label “enjoy me” – your eye is drawn to the writing in a photo … and here… well I have to see when I did enjoy my almond croissant it was lovely!

ISO400, F5, 1/250sec
ISO400, F5, 1/250sec

I changed the focus point to the croissant – it is the same angle as above but it is the croissant that is the subject. The black writing on the tea label is now the darkest point on the image and is distracting, especially as you can not make out what it says.  I think together these images encourage me to think about what I want the photo to say … if I am selling the croissant – the second photo showcases the product, but if I was selling the concept of breakfast or a relaxing cup of tea the first shot would be the stronger image. It really depends on what “story” you want to tell to the audience.

ISO400, F5, 1/160sec
ISO400, F5, 1/160sec

Shot from above – the teabag in the cup is now a messy distraction and does not work. The side lighting had burnt out the detail on the croissant and the shadows look much harsher – it needing a reflector to the right to balance out the lighting. The knife also makes the croissant look small, and cuts the photo almost in half. The photo also looks very flat, the tea cup and croissant loose its depth … it is kind of flat, don’t you think? For me this photo does not work – but I think it is really important to still share it…

ISO400, F5, 1/320sec
ISO400, F5, 1/320sec

I have talked lots about the importance of moving your feet and changing angle, and that is exactly what I did here, I am now shooting towards the window – there are so many reflections on the cup, the shadows are looking much darker and the angle of the objects photographed are not as strong.  I have not moved any of the objects or the lighting just me – and this really highlights to me how important it is to position the photographer in the right place to create the image you hope to achieve,  note the label is partly hidden, the handle and spoon are on competing angles, where as the knife and spoon form a triangle that point you out of the image – this for me does not work.

ISO400, F5, 1/250sec
ISO400, F5, 1/250sec

Moving closer – above and just focusing on the cup .. I changed angle and you can see some reflection from the window – but I think you are missing part of the story … where’s the croissant….  I think the crop is much too tight.

ISO400, F5, 1/250sec
ISO400, F5, 1/250sec

The opposite of cropping tight is to shoot wider, so I moved further away as I was using a fixed length prime lens.  I dont’t think it is such a strong shot as one where only part of the croissant is shown.

ISO400, F5, 1/250sec
ISO400, F5, 1/250sec

In this photo, I have moved again and this time the light is behind me. The background objects, which I have not noticed in any of the other images are now in shot and are a distraction, but the colour on the cup is lovely… you get just a glimpse of the spoon and the nice, you are told to enjoy me, and I just want to reach out and taste that croissant – I should reshoot without the clutter – but I have eaten it!

Instead though I removed the background in Photoshop, as it always good to practice your skills..

Edited in Photoshop - background edit, sharpened, burned and dodged.
Edited in Photoshop – background edit, sharpened, burned and dodged.
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