Food Photography - Chocolate Ganache Cake

May 01, 2014  •  Leave a Comment

A couple of years ago I had the incredible opportunity to work with professional food photography studio Welsh Studios out of Boise Idaho. The client was Idahoan Foods and we were filming a series of behind the scenes videos of the 4 day photo shoot in Teton Springs. I had never shot food before and it was fascinating watching the food stylist prepare, prod, sculpt, scrape, trim, shave, and sprits the various dishes into photogenic masterpieces. Food styling is an art and a science and it was clear we were working with a seasoned professional. 

Here is one of the behind the scenes videos we produced: 

Idahoan Foods from Mark Richardson on Vimeo.


This experience gave me a new appreciation for food photography and the work that goes into making food look appetizing for advertising. Ever since, I've been wanting to try my hand at the craft.

Last weekend I decided to give it a go and I settled on trying something easy for my first crack at food photography. I searched the pantry and found a devil foods cake mix. I had seen a great image of thick chocolate being drizzled over chocolate cake so I thought I'd try and emulate that look.

After a little research online, I found a popular (and simple) recipe for chocolate ganache cake. So basically after you bake the cake, you let it cool while you mix up the chocolate & cream. Just heat the heavy whipping cream in a pot until it's almost boiling and then pour it over a cup of chocolate chips. I added a chunk of butter and then stirred it up. 

The viscosity quickly changes as the mixture cools, so it's a good idea to have the cake and lights setup before hand. I put the cake on one of our nicer plates and placed that on a table in my studio. I placed a stained board behind the cake to act as background. I decided the most interesting composition was to shoot in portrait. From there it was just a matter of positing a strobe to give the most flattering light. I used my largest softbox and positioned it to the side of the cake. This light source is large enough and close enough to the subject to produce a very nice soft light while really helping the textures on the cake pop. 

I opted to keep the background dark to help separate the chocolate cake.

Food Photography softbox setup


Once I was happy with the lighting and composition, I had my wife start slowly poring the chocolate mixture onto the cake while I shot a series of frames. I'm quite pleased with the result and excited to try something a little more complicated. Here are the final images:

Chocolate Ganache Cake Chocolate Ganache Cake Chocolate Ganache Cake

Exclusive Luxury Yacht - Art of Kinetik

April 11, 2014  •  Leave a Comment

I stumbled upon some brilliant photography of luxury yachts by photographer Ivan Masic from Belgrade, Serbia. He's done an excellent job of showing off the premium texture, shape, and design of these amazing boats. I was somewhat surprised to discover (by looking at the EXIF data) that they were shot on a 5D Mark II. They have a certain look that made me think they were shot on a medium or large format system. 

Saleena’s senior photo session.

March 16, 2014  •  Leave a Comment

Saleena’s senior photo session.

I think RedHeads have the most fun.  My wife was helping me do...

March 05, 2014  •  Leave a Comment

I think RedHeads have the most fun. 

My wife was helping me do some lighting tests in our Idaho Falls photo studio last night. She’s a good sport. 

I’ve had a great time capturing timelapses for a few years...

March 04, 2014  •  Leave a Comment

I’ve had a great time capturing timelapses for a few years now. I even got into the motion controlled motorized slider scene and added a pan tilt head after seeing Tom Lowe’s “Timescapes.” 

But recently I’ve discovered the are of “Hyperlapse.” It’s just like timelapse only you’re moving the camera much more drastically than a motion controlled timelapse. 

I’ve found that it works best when you center your focus point on the same spot between each move. It’s a little bit of trial and error as some motions paths don’t seem to work as well as others. 

Most of the time I’ll shoot on a tripod and then move the tripod about 3 steps between each shot, trying to keep a rhythm so that clouds, people, etc move fluidly when the hyperlapse is compiled. 

So far I’ve only used this method on buildings, but I plan to try it in a landscape setting somewhere near Idaho Falls soon.

My boss is currently in Vienna Austria and shot these hyperlapses on his iphone handheld! I just ran the image sequences threw After Effects and used the Warp Stabilizer tool to stabilize the footage.