Create a Perfectly White Background and Wet Effects

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Introduction: Create a Perfectly White Background and Wet Effects

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I haven't ever had as much luck growing tomatoes as I have this year, and I'm pretty sure it's the result of double digging, adding amendments, watering regularly, and getting the dang plants in the ground at the right time.  You can see more of my garden here.  Now I have my first ripe tomato of the season and need to share!

Produce looks better against a white background than a black background in my opinion.  White looks fresh and clean, and fortunately, most produce shows up well against white.  It also doesn't hurt to shine it up a bit.

To create the white background:
I did pretty much the exact opposite as what I did in my Instructable for creating a perfectly black background.  I placed a piece of white poster board in full, harsh sunlight so that it was uniformly bright which meant angling it towards the sun against a step ladder.  Then I held (or had my significant-other/upside-down-beer-glass hold) the tomato in the shade.  The shade is nice and soft but still pretty bright.  However, the poster board absolutely glows in comparison.  The goal is to get the background uniformly brighter than the subject.  You can easily get more creative with lighting and produce some better shots, but this is INCREDIBLY easy to do and requires only one light source - the sun.

To create the wet effect/shine:
I used olive oil.  I've tried photographing shine/wet using water, and it really doesn't work well.  Water evaporates very quickly, and it doesn't have the same "hold" as oil does.  I first washed the tomato (picked fresh from the vine today!) and rubbed it down with olive oil, and a few of the shots are just with that shine alone.  However, I wanted it to look wet, so I pipetted some extra oil around the top and let it drip as it pleased.

To add context:
I played with a variety of hand positions.  When I held the tomato in the palm of my hand, the tomato looked bigger.  When my significant other held it in the palm of his hand, it looked smaller - he was nice enough to muddy up his hands for a "fresh out of the garden, Farmer Brown" look.  I also played with how my fingers were arranged, and I also propped it on an upside-down beer glass just in case the absence of hands made it a little more appealing.  Minor details start to REALLY matter when the shot is minimal.  Finally, when I had the shots I liked, I took a bite to see if the "fresh bite" look helped, but it didn't.  All I could after that point was continue eating.

End Note:
This process is not limited to photographing produce.  It can be used for a variety of other subjects.

Bon appetit and happy photographing!

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    38 Comments

    Thank you for your 'ible. I definitely plan to use your technique. I added it to my new collection.

    I suggest to add "behind the scenes" picture showing you and the whole setup as you are about to snap the photo. A picture's worth 1k words.

    Very nicely done

    Very nice. I really like the pics and the technique too. Thanks for taking the time to post this.

    Tasty! Nice ideas!

    Nice picture :)

    There are a few pro photography tricks for making water droplets.
    The most common method I know is to use glycerin, sometimes they mix it with water. Glycerin based fake sweat hurts when you glob it in your eye though (so does smoke machine fluid) so be careful. Another one is to coat the object with something that repels water so water beads up nicely, maybe something like a thin layer of vaseline or some scotchguard spray would work. Not that you'd want to eat scotchguard later. Food photography is dirty business sometimes.

    A quick googling brought up these
    http://photography-on-the.net/forum/showthread.php?t=277808
    http://www.diyphotography.net/macro-photography-tip-spraying-flowers The usual method is to use glycerin or a mix of that and water

    I basically did the same thing with a sheet a few months ago.. It was bright, but overcast, so there were no pictures. Also, I never even thought of using olive oil. Thanks for the idea.

    SaxPhoto.jpg

    Congratulations on a very deserving WIN!!!

    Great stuff as usual, you really have a talent...curious about the tomatos, though. Really? This early? I started in Feb. this year and still have a few weeks to go. Maybe you are onto something really big. Your temps haven't been that hot have they? Maybe it's a specific location...thanks for sharing your photo tips!