For the Day of the Dead a few years ago they released a chocolate version of the ornate skulls that are associated with the holiday. And because I’m me – and this was three years ago when I was more ready to do such things – I had to put it into a photo shoot before I ate it. You’ll have seen an image of this before – I also took some photos with my iPhone, one of which ended up in my big Shot on iPhone post.
I set up in my kitchen. Knowing my kitchen countertop was not the most interesting of surfaces, I set up a baking tray to put it on, hoping for a slightly more metallic look. It was perhaps just a little too small, so in some shots – including this opening one – you can see its edge. I set up a flash in a soft box just to camera right.
As you can see I’m also trying my hand as set decoration of sorts, using the Chococo-branded ribbon that comes with most of their sets to add a splash of a complimentary colour, make the setting a little more interesting, and to cover up the fact it’s being photographed on a baking tray.
Here you can see the set up. The dark part at the top right of the frame is the side of my soft box. It clearly doesn’t look particularly glamorous.
It wasn’t long however before I broke out my macro lens for a closer look.
I usually use my macro lens with a wide open aperture, which results in a pretty shallow depth of field, which most of the time is an effect I adore. However for closeups of items like this a shallow depth of field just results in loss of some of the subject, and focussing on a particular point brings little benefit. As such, I’m not shooting at a wide open f/2.8 but a slightly more closed f/4.5.
I also went for a few artistic closeups of the ribbon, which in its resplendent orange contrasted nicely with the dark background.
Given I was using a macro lens, I also got a few closeups of the details of the intricate artwork.
After this I went back to getting more ‘traditional’ product shots, in an attempt to prove the concept of the setup I was using to shoot, and switched back to my normal zoom lens and tried out a variety of angles.
And just for good measure, a shot from the back, which was every bit as nicely decorated as the front.
At this point I started getting all Hamlet and photographing the skull in my hand.
After this I brought the ribbon back into play for an artistically draped shot.
Finally, a straight-on shot just for good measure.
And then I ate it.