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This week I had the extreme privilege to get a lesson in food photography from Ryan Matthew Smith, the principal photographer for Modernist Cuisine.  We recreated a few shots from the book and Ryan explained some of the techniques he used to create those jaw-dropping photos.  In this article, I’ll give you some of Ryan’s best tips and tricks for shooting food in this style.  We’ll cover the lighting setup for each shot, talk about the equipment that Ryan uses, and even look at some at-home alternatives.  Finally, as a reward for reading all the way through, you can watch gelatin bounce in extreme slow motion :-)  In Part 2 (coming soon), we’ll walk through a set of steps in Photoshop to pull out the hyper-real detail and lighting that make Modernist Cuisine’s food seem to jump off the page.

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Reading time: 7 min