Pop Art Food Photography

18 August 2021

Recently, I felt like I was lacking inspiration to shoot personal projects. But then, I remembered a technique I learned a few years ago to ignite creativity: falling back on childhood memories. I’m what people like to call a foody person. I love food, I love to cook, I love to taste new dishes. Simply put, food is life! When I was a child I could eat chocolate, cookies, and other treats all day long – aside from candies, I hated and still don’t like sweets.

With that said, I went to the supermarket I picked three foods I loved when I was a kid: salted caramel popcorn, chocolate cookies, and chocolate teacakes. I decided these would be the subject of my shoots, simple food for many, memories for me. But then, the question that arose was how to photograph these treats and make them look interesting?

As I was reflecting on the concept, I had a YouTube video in the background. The video was from Matt D’Avella and about minimalism. It’s what made it click. I had seen a lot of these minimalist photography setups and kind of pop art food photography around, but I had never really tried it before. While my work is heavily inspired by graphic design and concepts, I have never really pushed it this far. As it was a personal project, I thought it was an excellent occasion to give it a try.

The lighting setup was quite simple with only two lights. One hard light using the Elinchrom HP (same could be done with a Maxi Spot) to mimic the sunlight and then another light with a large white Deep Umbrella (same could be done with a large softbox) to control the contrast so the shadows wouldn’t be full black. Then what took the most time was to place the elements on the set and create an interesting lay flat. It may sound and look simple, but this kind of image is actually harder than it seems to create. The composition is paramount for pop art food photography and the slightest detail can make or break the image.