Less specular highlights but no cigar :-(

redbourn

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Am trying to take on board all that I've learned here but am still getting specular highlights.

And I added a layer of tracing paper over my softbox diffuser.

They are very close to one another.

They could most likely be removed easily in post.

But is is possible to shoot food without getting any at all ?

And additionally, this is the second time that I've had a problem with rice.

I passed a fork through the grains and they
basque chicken-1-2.jpg
were all separated but they don't look that way in the photo.

Following what I think was a good tutorial, I had the softbox about 12" above and 12" away from the plate, but I still got specular highlights ! :-(

Anyway the recipe although it's a little bit of work creates a really wonderful sauce.

Please try it and enjoy it!

The plate was gray.

Thank you for any responses.

There are three Basque regions and each one has a different cuisine.
All are excellent and it's restaurants have a multitude of Michelin stars!
The same as the whole of France!

I couldn't decide if it was sweet or sour so it must have been just right! This sauce is great!

Basque Chicken In A Sweet n Sour Sauce

Serves 4

Prep time 15 min
Cook time 45 min
Total time 1 hour

2 1/2 lb, 1 kg skinless chicken thighs or legs.
14.5 oz, 400g coarsely chopped canned plum tomatoes or fresh ones peeled and seeded.
1 thinly sliced red bell pepper and 1 thinly sliced yellow bell pepper - or use whatever colors you have ;-)
2 small or one big onion, thinly sliced
3-4 medium garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar and maybe a sprinkling of tarragon to add a more earthy taste
1/2 tsp hot pepper flakes, or 1/4 tsp cayenne or piri piri to taste
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Olive oil, as much as is needed to lightly cover the bottom of the pot

Season the chicken with salt and pepper and fry over med-high eat until chicken is golden brown on both sides, about 12 minutes.
Make sure that chicken is almost totally cooked and turn down heat if necessary.
Set the chicken aside, and in the same pan fry the onions and the bell peppers over medium high heat, stirring occasionally.
After 5 minutes lower the heat to medium, add the garlic and continue frying for about 3 minutes more.
Make sure there is always enough oil to lightly cover the bottom of the pan.
Add the tomatoes and cook until softened and all of their liquid has evaporated, about 7-10 minutes.
Purée the vegetables in a blender or food mill but keep the sauce a little chunky.
Add the hot spice, and less is more because you can always add more heat, but you can't take it out.
Taste and season with salt and pepper and heat.
Pour the vegetable mixture back into the pan, add the sugar and vinegar, stir to mix well for a minute or two over medium heat.
Cover and simmer the chicken until it's cooked through, about 12 minutes.
Check the taste of the sauce again and season if necessary.
Transfer the chicken to a platter and pour the sauce over it or place it in a gravy boat on the table.
Maybe serve with Basmati rice or couscous.
 
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tirediron

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You don't necessarily want to remove all specular highlights. For the most part, that meal looks pretty good lighting-wise. As far as the rice goes, make the rice, spread it on parchment, let it dry and cool, then plate it.
 

Ysarex

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You should get specular highlights. You'd have to dry out the food and spray it down with dulling spray to remove them. Then it would look like painted plastic food. The specular highlights are good here; they're part of why the food looks edible. The chicken is wet hot and greasy -- wet hot grease is reflective.

Look at this stock image of a burger: http://media.gettyimages.com/photos/juicy-mini-hamburger-picture-id150483663 Those onions are fried in burger fat and they look tasty -- yummy. The speculars are a positive component of the photo.

You just want to keep the speculars in a shot like this under control. The larger speculars should maybe have a hint of color or show a bleed into some color on the edges. You have that here.

Your processing is flat and that background looks like a floor mat -- not helping this shot. Otherwise the lighting is good and the food looks good.

One issue with what you're doing in these photos is that you're photographing real food as opposed to food that's been prepared to be photographed. Unfortunately there's a difference. A lot of real food doesn't look very good in a photo. That's what a food stylists is for. I used to hang around a studio that did some food work. I remember the potato chip shot. The food stylist wasn't happy with the real potato chips as they were too greasy and translucent. Ordered like 5 cases of chips and had the studio lackeys hand pick out unbroken chips from the bags all afternoon. Then made them spay paint the backs of the chips with white paint and after they dried arranged them one at a time in the basket for the shot. In commercial food photography food has to look better than food.

I made a tone-response adjustment below to address the flat murky appearance and did a quick background replacement.

Joe

chicken_rice.jpg
 
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redbourn

redbourn

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You don't necessarily want to remove all specular highlights. For the most part, that meal looks pretty good lighting-wise. As far as the rice goes, make the rice, spread it on parchment, let it dry and cool, then plate it.

I'll try the rice again today. It's not the first time that I've had similar problem with it.

Thanks.
 
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redbourn

redbourn

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You should get specular highlights. You'd have to dry out the food and spray it down with dulling spray to remove them. Then it would look like painted plastic food. The specular highlights are good here; they're part of why the food looks edible. The chicken is wet hot and greasy -- wet hot grease is reflective.

Look at this stock image of a burger: http://media.gettyimages.com/photos/juicy-mini-hamburger-picture-id150483663 Those onions are fried in burger fat and they look tasty -- yummy. The speculars are a positive component of the photo.

You just want to keep the speculars in a shot like this under control. The larger speculars should maybe have a hint of color or show a bleed into some color on the edges. You have that here.

Your processing is flat and that background looks like a floor mat -- not helping this shot. Otherwise the lighting is good and the food looks good.

One issue with what you're doing in these photos is that you're photographing real food as opposed to food that's been prepared to be photographed. Unfortunately there's a difference. A lot of real food doesn't look very good in a photo. That's what a food stylists is for. I used to hang around a studio that did some food work. I remember the potato chip shot. The food stylist wasn't happy with the real potato chips as they were too greasy and translucent. Ordered like 5 cases of chips and had the studio lackeys hand pick out unbroken chips from the bags all afternoon. Then made them spay paint the backs of the chips with white paint and after they dried arranged them one at a time in the basket for the shot. In commercial food photography food has to look better than food.

I made a tone-response adjustment below to address the flat murky appearance and did a quick background replacement.

Joe

View attachment 115541

Thanks very much. I feel encouraged that the specular highlights now look good.

I was advised here to add a second diffuser to my softbox and I just clipped on a sheet of tracing with clothes pegs.

I like what you did with the photo.

I have no choice but to use real food and to go without a stylist. I think the photos will eventually be good enough for my book and the page sizes will probably be about 7x7"
 
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redbourn

redbourn

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Rice is looking better but I seem to have a dof problem although maybe it works for this photo ?

Shot at f 14

I only had two small pieces of chicken from yesterday and hardly any sauce, so I used a very small plate.

Am slowly learning thanks to the help that I get here.

I dried the rice on parchment in the oven for on low for 10 minutes.

Chose a blemish free piece of parsley this time ;-)

Photographing food is a greet trainer for detail!

I don't know why the parsely seems to be floating in the air? I didn't add it via PS

basque sweet and sour chicken-1.jpg
 

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