We thought we'd put together a quick and easy to follow tutorial on photographing fruit and veg slices with a light source behind them which you can do indoors when it's raining outside.
Why do this? Well the bright light combined with a single or even a few slices of fruit or vegetable can produce an interesting 'arty' style photograph.
As well as a camera and a macro lens with a short focal length you'll need a light box. If you don't own one, you can create one with a clear surface, a light source that can sit under it and something to diffuse the light such as muslin or tracing paper.
You'll also need a tripod, ideally one that has a centre column that can be twisted upside down or horizontally. By using a tripod that can do this you'll be able to work with the centre column rotated so your camera faces down onto the lightbox. This means your hands are kept free for chopping and adjusting fruit / veg slices, plus you can get closer to your subject.
Don't forget your fruit and veg! Obvious choices are kiwi as the seeds produce interesting patterns but half circles of onion, oranges, cucumbers and limes work well too. Have a think about how a particular fruit or vegetable may look when sliced up and placed on a lightbox. You shouldn't need to spend much money, plus you can eat any left-over specimens at the end!
Get your chopping board out and cut thin slices from your fruit/vegetable. Make sure you cut even slices so when the light passes through, you won't have one part that's darker than the other. Use a clean, sharp knife to slice your fruit / vegetable then place the slice on the lightbox.
Where possible, work away from windows, turn off your house lights and you may want to close the curtains / blinds to limit the amount of light coming in if it's bright outside.
If you're using multiple slices or various fruits / vegetables think about your composition. Repetition and patterns always work well and for some reason, working with odd items gives you a shot that's more pleasing to the eye. This doesn't mean you can't work with even numbers as they can work but the rule of odds is something you should just keep in mind.
Setting Up The Shot
As with most close-up work, it's best to switch from auto focus to manual to stop your lens 'searching'.
Take a test shot and check the exposure as the bright light may fool your camera into underexposing. If this happens, switching to a + exposure compensation should fix the problem or you can work in manual if you prefer.
You want the background to be bright but not so bright that you can't see the shapes and patterns in the segment of fruit or vegetable you're working with.
Good depth of field is needed and if you find problems with shake, switch your self-timer on so you have time to move away from the camera before the exposure's captured.
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