Photography Styling Challenge #2: Table Setting

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  1. Reblogged this on Amanda's Words / starfire8me and commented:
    This looks nice!

  2. I really enjoy the texture of these photos-the wood of the table contrasting the shine of the ceramic dishes and shine of the flatware. There is something about the from-above shots that isn’t doing it for me in terms of the food being showcased. I feel as though the food may as well not exist here. I don’t know much of photography and am myself grappling to understand how to make my photos better shot.

    The photo that is more at level with the biscuit makes me feel more invited to explore what is on the plate, despite the food taking the background of the shot. I like this photo most because it is inviting me to pick that fork right up. The cherries really stand out in the last shot well, perhaps it is the dish color backing the cherries-white, whereas I feel that butter isn’t well complimented in a white dish. I also really appreciate the texture of the jam on the biscuit in the last photo and feel that this should somehow be more central. Again….I know zero-nada regarding photography, let alone the photography of place settings and food. I hope my feedback was helpful!

  3. Also! Hear hear, the meal described here, informal, is the most ideal. I couldn’t agree more.

  4. Lovely setting, M! Do I spy your homemade jam in the pics?

  5. it looks great! // i love the look of unfinished wood w/ crisp white dishes.

  6. Yes, most certainly! Haha 🙂

  7. Thank you! I like the contrast, too. ~M.

  8. Wow, Nicole! THANK YOU so much for your critique! This is exactly the type of comments I’d hoped to read.

    Firstly, you have paid me a great deal of compliment by saying “the food may as well not exist here.” You were absolutely right! The challenge’s focus was Table Settings, not food. We did food in the first challenge, so my aim was to make the food lost in the background. I looked for plates that had an interesting pattern or design to them, but could not find any within my time constraints, so settled for these red plates with an interesting shape, and layered a few pieces of scones and crumbs just to break up the solid red color. The jam was added to the scones, again, to bring back the color of the plates, giving it more dimension.

    I felt the birdseye shot was necessary in order to capture the informality and randomness of the table setting. An eye level shot would not have picked up the same feeling (and I have plenty of rejected shots to prove it!).

    As for the last shot with the butter… well, the butter was supposed to fade away into the dish. I didn’t want it to stand out and deter from the stronger colors of the jam and the plate. Yet, that top corner needed something to balance out the image, so that’s why the butter in a white dish stands there.

    Do my comments make you see the images in a different light? I’m learning about photography as much as you… why don’t you join us on this challenge so you have a reason to make it more of a priority? ~M.

  9. sedrate

     /  August 5, 2013

    Pictures 1 and 3 did it for me, casual but warm.

  10. It sounds like you absolutely met the needs of the challenge! All I could focus on were the dishes, their position in correlation to each other and the background. Ha! Awesome. I’m so glad I could be of help. I am going to look into this challenge deal and see if it is for me. What kind of camera are you shooting with?

  11. H’oooookay. You talked me into it. I am in. I will put these into my calender, which is so busy, shall I stick my shoots in between “library books due” or “fertilize house plants”? Hmmmm.

  12. The Wild Rose Studio

     /  August 5, 2013

    I love them all! #2 is my favorite!

  13. I love your casual informal setting. Picture 1 sets the perfect ambience. Great idea M.

  14. Thanks, Namrata! When do we get to see yours? ~M.

  15. Thank you! ~M.

  16. Seriously?! That’s AWESOME!! Welcome aboard! When do you start? This month or next month for “Wall Vignette”?

  17. Oh, and I shoot with a Canon EOS Rebel T2i. Sometimes with a point and shoot as I can’t seem to work my white balance on the Rebel, but the P&S is easier to manipulate in that department.

  18. Thank you! Those two are probably my favorites, too. But #2 seems to be getting a lot of love by other readers! Haha

  19. Great tutorial and help, I am such a novice. Thanks so much for linking to Inspire Me. Hugs, Marty

  20. I’m getting some cold feet, the theme is very challenging and all the entries are proving to be big deterrents…:) but soon, I will have courage to put my bit up.

  21. I am a big fan of photos like #2 where the entire picture isn’t in focus. I really like all of the pictures thought because it made me want to know the story behind the meal and just who might be sitting down to eat it

  22. Haha! This is why we post all on the same day! That way we’re not swayed by others’ points of views. If you think you want to opp out of this challenge or just want to do it occasionally, that’s totally fine. But I really think you should stick with it! You’re getting a lot better with your photos! ~M.

  23. Thank you for your input! I feel happy hearing that you want to know the story behind the meal. I hope it’s because I did a good job at creating a lively atmosphere with this meal that tells a good story of the people and the conversation that could potentially take place. I, too, like unfocused photos like #2. 🙂 ~M.

  24. I will pick up next month’s “Wall Vignette”. I did manage to find a place on my calendar. Thank goodness.

  25. I love it!!! Look forward to seeing your shoot for September. Let me know if you have any questions between now and then, but I think this challenge is pretty straightforward. Just let your imagination run wild with the styling and then photograph it! “Wall Vignette” will post on Sept 2, rain or shine. 🙂 ~M.

  26. I love the idea of this, M. I, too, struggle with shooting in sunlight… Way to stick with it, though! You definitely captured the casual feel. 🙂 Thanks for sharing at Give Me the Goods!

    Rachel @ Maison de Pax

  27. Thank you!

  28. Good work! 🙂 I like the different colors you used and the idea. One thing I would suggest is in the 2nd photo. I like the shallow depth of field and the simplicity, but I think if the food were in focus not the tip of the fork, that would really improve the photo, because for me the food is more important than the fork in this instance. I think my favorite photos are the first and the second one. The third one could benefit from less utensils or having the utensils arranged at similar angles. With so many angles of shiny utensils, it can make the photos a bit distracting since light reflects really well off of shiny things which leads to makes it hard for you eye to know where to go.

    But none the less, your table setting looks tasty!

  29. Thank you! I’m a novice, too – hence this challenge! Haha ~M.

  30. Yayyy!! I’m so glad to have your input, Inge!

    I disagree with you on the second photo because I intentionally focused the image on the fork. I was very conscious that this challenge was about the table setting, not the food. I only even put food in these images because I felt my plates were so boring! I had to give this setting some life somehow! I do wish that there was something I could have done to make the plate AND the fork stand out a bit more, but the food was meant to be in the backdrop and have lesser importance. Had I left out the food entirely, the image would have been a major snooze and likely not have made it to this post.

    However, I completely agree with you on #3. I hate that my utensils are so shiny. I’ve seen lots of beautifully styled tables using aged silver or pewter and I really wanted to find some, but could not within my time constraints, so had to made do with the shiny stuff. Was there something I could have done to make the utensils less shiny? I also struggled with the shine off the plate and sometimes I want to move the red plate over a bit to center within the white charger, but then have to force myself to think that it just looks more casual and relaxed that way. In looking at the photo again, I think that if I removed the fork and knife from the plates, the image would still stand fine on its own. Maybe place a napkin to peak out from under the white plate instead?

    #1 is my favorite as I said… #2 and #3 were just thrown in, but it’s so good to have insight on how those could have been done differently! Thanks so much for the feedback, sweetie! ~M.

  31. I’m still learning how to take photos outdoors as well, I would say that your pictures look great! Thanks for linking up at the Inspiration Gallery!


  32. Hi M, I put my pictures up yesterday, the link is:
    Please do check it out and please suggest/observe where styling n photography is concerned.

  33. I think it has a very relaxed outdoor feel with the great texture of the table! What a fun challenge. I need to get back to photography for enjoyment! Thanks for sharing at TTF this week.


  34. Hi Namrata! I saw your challenge posted, but haven’t had a chance to respond yet. Will definitely get to it! 🙂 ~M.

  35. Thanks so much for your feedback! You should think about joining on this challenge with us! It’s quite fun! ~M.

  36. Aww… thanks so much for the feedback!

  37. Here’s another idea for the shoot. with the 2nd photo. I think it is perfectly fine to focus on the fork, but when you do it real feature the fork. Take all other distractions away, and zoom in on the fork, so that your eye can really appreciate the fork. For example take the red plate out of the background because where ever there is red, your eye naturally wants to go. So perhaps a more monotone color as your back ground would really enhance the fork.

    As far as the utensils in the 3rd picture, yes you could eliminate the utensils or don’t spread them out so much or have them all at the same angle, all of these could be solutions. or position the utensils in a way that reflect less, put them more in shadow so that the daily light won’t reflect off of them too much.


  38. Thanks for the tips! Lots to learn! I tried all sorts of techniques and photographing at different angles that I could think of, but still could not reduce the reflection. It’s so exciting to be gleaning more tips and ideas with each month of this challenge,

  39. I love the first photo, it explains exactly what it is supposed to. I also love the idea behind a casual backyard meal, it sounds like fun 🙂 Thank you so much for joining us and sharing at Best of the Weekend! Pinning to our party board. Have a wonderful week and please join us next Friday.

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