grapefruit-before-and-after

In Part 1 of this article, we got a behind-the-scenes look at the equipment, lighting and shooting setup used by Ryan Matthew Smith to achieve the stunning food photos in Modernist Cuisine.  Now, we’ll take a look at the second step in the process: cleaning up your pictures in Photoshop to really make them come to life.

Ryan is amazingly talented with Photoshop and he has shared some of his favorite tricks and techniques with me.  There is a lot more to be learned than what’s covered in this article, but this is a great start for any food photographer looking to squeeze a little more succulence out of your shots. 

The steps below are my attempt at cleaning up the grapefruit picture shown here.  Although my process achieves a similar result to Ryan’s work on the same photo, chances are, an experienced Photoshop guru like Ryan can correct this image faster, cleaner and more accurately.  However, as I was quite pleased with the finished product, so I thought I’d share my steps with you. 

At the end of the article, I’ve listed a handful of other useful Photoshop tips that Ryan was kind enough to share. 

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Reading time: 7 min

tomato-560

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