Blueberry Still Life


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Hi and welcome back.

I had a busy day yesterday and wanted to shoot food again.  So I kept it simple and shot the rest of the blueberries in a white bowl for a simple still life.

I’m getting into not only shooting but also styling the food.  This is one of the most difficult aspects of food photography.  Styling the image for so it is visually appealing and also getting the food set properly and looking great.

I have been shooting clean.  By that I mean I have not been doing any styling tricks like adding WD-40, or glycerine, or any other product to modify the food to make it look great.  There are a million styling techniques out there, but I want to keep it natural until I get the hang of the light, composition, and getting shots that are commercially viable.

Let’s take a moment to look at the background and the lighting.

For my background, I grabbed a small trap door from my neighbor.  He was remodeling is kitchen and the door ended up in the dumpster.  I saw it and grabbed it. It is old and nasty and just perfect for food work.  Unlike one of my previous posts where I painted a board, this was ready-made for me and all I needed to do was dumpster dive.

Fro my lighting, right now I’m keeping it simple.  One light, maybe two, and reflectors.  I want to mimic natural window light so my light source is large, a Chimera 36×48 white interior softbox.  My reflectors are 8×10 or 5×7 cards that were meant for frames.  I cover one side of the card with tin foil for a small white/silver reflector.

I’m also keeping my light in one location.  If I want sidelight, I simple move to one side of my table or in this case an old dresser we had in the garage.  By keeping my light in one spot, I simply move around to change my look.

Here is a finished shot:


Here is the setup.  I know it may be getting old to look at, but it is just such as simple setup that I can’t believe the results I get from one light and a few reflectors.  Plus you can see the door I got from the trash.  A perfect background for food work.

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And here are some extra shots I finished. _DSC2968 _DSC2973 _DSC3020 _DSC3047

I love this light.  It is simple and gives me great detail and shadow on the blueberries, and the tin foil reflectors add just the right amount and touch of fill to open the shadows on the dark side of the bowl.

That’s it for now.  Till next time, stay hungry!

French Toast with Blueberries


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Hi and welcome back.

Continuing with my food posts, I’ve been trying to shoot as much as I can.

Yesterday I shot my favorite breakfast: French toast.

I just whipped up 3 slices of my recipe:

2 eggs

Splash of half-and-half

Pinch of Nutmeg

1/4 teaspoon of Cinnamon

I preset my still life and then cooked.  The great thing about breakfast foods is that you can whip them up quickly.

Here is a finished shot on my painted background.  I took the yellow background from the post from the other day and painted it blue.  I just went over the yellow with the blue and when it dried I rubbed it down with sandpaper to give it an aged look.

I also pumped out some syrup to give it a bit of action.


And here’s how I lit it.

I kept my key light in the same posting but added a 20º grid to light the top and open the deep shadows from the backlight.

Key: Phottix Indra 500, 36×48 Chimera softbox

Fill: tin-foil-covered white cards

Fill light: SB800, Godox S-Mount bracket, Phottix S-Mount 7″ reflector with 20º grid and one piece of wax paper gaffer-taped on to soften the gridded light

In hindsight, I think I would have used a 10º grid or a snoot to really tighten the spread of light and keep the second shadow off of the background.

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Here are a few more images:

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I’m really ring to develop a style and shoot as much as I can in order to build a portfolio and get food work.

That’s it for now.  Till next time, stay hungry!

40’s Hollywood Glamour Workshop at Berger Brothers Camera


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Hi and welcome back.

I’m sending this out today as the date is getting close!

On Saturday, February 20, I’ll be at Berger Brothers in Huntington, LI teaching the 40’s Hollywood Glamour look with speed lights.

Here is the registration link: Berger Brothers, Huntington

I’ll teach how to shoot this look with one, two, and three speed lights and Rogue Flashbenders.  This is my signature look with the Flashbender system, and it is awesome!


Location: Berger Brothers Teaching Studio, 22 Clinton Ave, Huntington, LI

Time: 12-3

Look: 40’s Hollywood Glamour

Cost: $125.00, register with the above link directly with Berger Brothers


Small Rogue Flashbender

Large Rogue Flashbender

Rogue Grid

Come join in the fun as I teach this classic look using only speed lights and simple, portable gear.

I’ll cover posing, outfit, lighting for one, two, and three lights, and finishing the image to get “The Look.”

Here are samples of images I’ve shot in the past, all with speed lights and Flashbenders:

Don’t miss out on this fun and creative lighting event!

Till then, stay glamorous!


Creating a Simple Background for Any Shot


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Hi and welcome back.

For today, I’m going to show you how to create a quick and cheap background for food photography, but you can apply this to any kind of background.

For my food work, I’m going simple.  I’ve been searching for a quick, cheap, and easy way to create simple backgrounds.

I went to my local Lowe’s and purchased a 32″ x 48″ piece of masonite beadboard for $10.00.  If you have the ability, cut the sheet in half; if not, have them do it at the home center for you.

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Lowe’s has Valspar paint sample for about $3.00.  I picked up two, one a dark yellow and one a mint green.  Above the left panel is the yellow color:

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Grab a brush and put a coat of color on the board.  I don’t prime for a reason that I’ll get to next.

I want a slightly aged look to the backgrounds, so after the paint dries I use sandpaper to scuff the surface and bring out some of that white underneath.

I had a round 150 grit piece of sandpaper kicking around my garage, but you can use anything you have or just get a sheet.

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Once the paint is dry and sanded, I put it on my dresser/table in the garage and got my colors together and took the shot.

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The sheet is 24 x 32 and has a slight antique look.  It is also the perfect size for food still life.  Here are a few other proofs.

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Simple, fun, and easy to do, making your own backgrounds can be cheap and fun and only take a few hours.  Don’t like the color, simply paint over it and then re-scuff it with the sandpaper for a different look altogether.

So for about $14.00 with tax, I have two backgrounds I can paint and change up as needed for any color scheme.

That’s it for now.  Till next time, happy eating!



Today’s Workshop and Macaroni, Cheese, and Broccoli


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Hi and welcome back.

Today’s workshop at Roger Salls Studio is a go.

Roger Salls Studio, 80 Ferry Blvd, Stratford, CT, $100.00, 3 hour headshot workshop, walk-ins welcome!  Park in rear, call or text if you can’t find us: 203-540-8821. 

Food for today:

In an effort to continue my food photography portfolio, I’m going to try and shoot one piece of food per day.

For today, I made mac and cheese and threw some broccoli florets in for color.

One of the things I’ve noticed while researching food images is that a great deal of contrasting and complimentary colors are being used.

In this image, I chose yellow mac and cheese and green broccoli.  To really isolate the yellow color of the mac and cheese, I pushed green tones: green background, green plate, linen that has yellow and green in it.  This makes a lot of green tone help the yellow really stand out


Here is how I shot it:

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I think I’m going in the right direction but need help in styling the entire scene.  This is perfect for a magazine cover as there is enough room on top and bottom for verbiage and a header.

Here are a few other proofs from the shoot:

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With a little more practice the shots will really shine.

I’m am also trying to do the work clean so that I can eat my work!  Most food stylists have a bag of tricks to keep things looking fresh like WD-40, Glycerin, and PAM, but I’d like to make my food look as real as possible.  We’ll see over time how it works out.

Thanks and till next time, happy eating!



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Hi and welcome back.
Don’t let this nuisance storm keep you home!

It’s gonna end this afternoon and be sunny and 40º tomorrow.

Register for tomorrow’s headshot workshop and get prepared to learn the headshot, how to light it, the difference between corporate, actor, model, and beauty, and use on only a few speed lights.

Still on the fence?  Walk-ins are welcome.

Where: Roger Salls Studio, 80 Ferry Blvd, Stratford, CT, park in rear.  There is a door in the back, can’t find it, text or call me: 203-540-821

Time: 11-2, late enough to sleep-in yet early enough to enjoy the afternoon and prep for Super Bowl Sunday.

Cost: $100, really can’t beat it: work in a pro studio, with a great model who’s worked for me before, and learn simple OCF to bring your photography to another level.

Use the Paypal link above or pay on site if you are a walk-in.

Don’t let the weather keep you home, get out of the house, bring your camera and lenses, and let’s shoot!

Hope to see you there.

The Headshot Workshop this Saturday and a Change to the NYC Workshop


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Hi and welcome back.

For Saturday’s workshop on the Headhsot at Roger Salls Studio, we are a go.  I have just enough attendees to make it work.  If you are interested in learning Off Camera Flash and how to shoot the headshot for multiple looks, don’t hesitate, join in the fun.  At $100.00 for a model, studio, and shoot time, it is a steal!!
Plus you get to work at Roger’s studio, which he also rents.  So join in to learn the headshot and see a great studio that you can rent.

Location: 80 Ferry Blvd, Stratford, CT. Park in rear.

Time: 11-2

Date: February 6, 2016

Look: The Headshot with sped lights, corporate, actor, model, beauty, creative lighting

Cost: $100.00 register with Paypal with the link on the top of the page
Our model is Nicole Hopke:

A quick update on the Headshot, NYC on Feb 27.

If you are joining or planning on joining this workshop, I had a location change.  Space 4 Shoots has two locations and I had the wrong one.

Space4Shoots new address: 25 W 31st St, 2nd floor.

Details: same as the one above

Cost: $225.00 use Paypal link on top of the page, covers rental studio, model, styling, and a 4 hour headshot event

Attendance: the NYC workshop is only open to 10 attendees and I already have registrants.  If you want to attend, register soon before it is booked up1

Don’t stay home Saturday, join us for the Headshot workshop and learn how to shoot this lucrative style of photography.

See you soon!


Fettucini Bolognese


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Hi and welcome back.

I’ve decided to upgrade my food portfolio.  I have been searching for a simple solution to light my food as I’ve not shot it in a long time and am rusty.

Since I left my studio, I’ve been working out of my garage, jumbling bikes, toys, stuff, and photo gear all in a tight space.  As you can see on the left of the frame, I’ve set up my food station in the middle of the space to give me walk-around room.  I’ve also decided to use one light and reflectors only so I can develop my style all over again.


My goal as always is simplicity.  One light, two or three reflectors, a second light only if I need detail, and simple backgrounds.

Let’s go over the setup:

Key: Phottix Indra 500 Monolight, Chimera 36×48 softbox

If you can use a strobe light for a great deal of power.  As you move in close to your food for detail, shooting at f/8 is not uncommon to get the foreground detail you need.  While you can do it with speed lights, the larger light is more powerful.  Also use a large softbox.  Round or rectangular doesn’t matter but make it as large as possible for soft diffused light.

Here’s the setup working.  The key is set to 1/125 @ f/5.6, ISO 100, WB Daylight.  You can see the reflectors here too.  I used 8×10 cards that used to be in photo frames.  I covered one side with tin foil for white/silver.  I set my key light as though it were diffused window light.  With having you light in one location, you can move the food or you can move to change shadow direction.

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For my background, I went simple.  I snagged some old boards from my father’s shop and just placed them on the dresser that was in the garage.

With Spring upon us, go garbage picking or go to a construction site and ask if you can salvage some scraps for cool and cheap backgrounds.  Or head to the home center and get some paint and off you go.

One tip: use flat paint, bare wood, or old wood.  Avoid anything with a shiny finish.  The sheen will just reflect the light and go too bright and get overexposed.

Here are some proofs right out of my camera.  I think I did ok.  I need some help in the food styling department, but for a first shot after a long time I think the setup works great: simple, cheap, effective:

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This is a really easy setup that you can do anytime and get yourself a station to shoot food or any macro product; a great thing on a snowy or rainy day!

That’s it for now.

If you are a portrait shooter, scroll down the last two posts for my two upcoming workshops on the Headshot in CT and in NYC.

Hope to see you there!

The CT Headshot Workshop, Saturday, February 6


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Hi  Everyone,

As per request at the last BH Event Space presentation, I’ll be running a Headshot Workshop in CT this weekend.

I’m opening this workshop up to 15 attendees so book early!

Come and join me as I teach how to accomplish multiple looks with just small flashes and simple gear.

We’ll work for 3 hours at Roger Salls Studio, 80 Ferry Blvd, Stratford, CT

I’ll cover: corporate, actor, model, beauty, creative lighting, inside and outside weather dependent.


Date:Saturday, February 6, 2016

Location: Roger Salls Studio

Time: 11-2

Attendees: 15

Price: $100.00, please use Paypal link above to register and pay


Up to 3 small flashes

Bowens Softbox

Phottix Luna Beauty Dish


Rogue Flashbenders

Godox S-Mount Bracket

Learn how to set up, pose, and shoot these headshot looks with simple gear.

Model TBD.

The NYC Headshot Workshop


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Hi  Everyone,

As per request at the last BH Event Space presentation, I’ll be running a Headshot Workshop in NYC.

I’m only opening this workshop up to 10 attendees so book early!

Come and join me as I teach how to accomplish multiple looks with just small flashes and simple gear.

We’ll work for four hours at Space4Shoots, 25 W 31st St, 2nd Floor

I’ll cover: corporate, actor, model, beauty, creative lighting, inside and outside weather dependent.


Date:February 27

Location: Space4Shoots, 37W 26th St, Manhattan

Time: 12-4

Attendees: 10

Price: $225.00, please use Paypal link above to register and pay


Up to 3 small flashes

Bowens Softbox

Phottix Luna Beauty Dish


Rogue Flashbenders

Godox S-Mount Bracket

Learn how to set up, pose, and shoot these headshot looks with simple gear.

Our model is Tina Scariano:

Above Photos by Mark Bradley Miller.


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