Goal: Create a moody shot of French Onion soup Showcasing the Soup and the Home-Baked Bread.
Step 1: Set up lighting (natural light from single window, side-lit), diffuser, photo background, props, and camera perspective
Happy with the side-lighting. I picked a 3/4 camera angle where you look down at your food as if you were sitting down to eat it. Yes to this background, camera angle, and props (bread). But, top-left corner too empty.
Step 2: Add Thyme Sprig
Great! But, too bright for a moody shot.
Step 3: Add shadows using black fill card
Right. See how the right-hand side is much darker now compared to the previous shot? Time to add the soup.
Step 4: Add the soup
Brilliant! Now on to the bread and the cheese. See those post-it notes? They’re so I know where to put the bowl when I return from the broiler. (Would have been an ace plan had the notes not been so old that they peeled off and blew away.)
Step 5: Add bread and cheese
Off to the broiler we go.
Step 6: Take the shot!
Okay, we’re back. Loving the broiled cheese. This will make the cut.
Step 7: Crop (minor) and edit photo in Lightroom
Brilliant! One photo down. Now for an action shot.
Step 8: Have husband hold spoonful of cheesy soup
Crikey! Super-blurry. Husband cannot hold still. Fire him. Backtrack.
Step 9: Back to bread and cheese
Phew! Rescued the soup. Now, how about a spot of colour?
Step 10: Sprinkle a few thyme leaves over cheese
Too bright again. Now, where did I put that fill card? (Chase cat off black fill card.) Also, notice I’ve lost the thyme sprig in the back? I decided it was too blurred in the background anyway, so I moved the bread a bit to the left to use up some of that negative space.
Step 11: Add back shadows with black fill card
Lovely! Almost ready for the broiler again.
Step 12: Take the shot.
Love it! I’m keeping this. But try one with deep depth of field, just in case.
Step 13: Deep Depth of Field
Nah. Prefer the shallow depth of field (step 12 photo).
Step 14: Broil Cheese, Take Shot, Edit photo
Now this is a shot! Try a different angle now — overhead, perhaps. Added some warmth and contrast in Adobe Lightroom 6.
Step 15: Overhead Shot. Cropped and edited
And that’s a wrap! Gobble up the soup.
(Editing involved adding a warmth and contrast, as well as darkening the shadows.)