Photo Project – The Grocery Store…Expanding Your Creativity

by Paul Cook | April 2, 2013

Food photography can be absolutely aesthetically appealing and makes its hard for anyone to resist their temptation to grab a bite. The colors, shapes and patterns attract photographers to explore their creative instinct whether it is shooting fresh produce at a market stall or an appetizing feast prepared by an expert chef. Good food photography naturally draws the viewer in because it is after all irresistible.

If you love experimenting with digital photography then one amazing idea is to head off to the grocery store for some awesome food snapshots. At your grocery store, not only will you get a chance to capture the diversity in food items but also shopper expressions when they are making purchase decisions.

First things first. Be sure to ask permission from the store manager. Let them know you are doing a personal art photo project. That way you can take photos without the fear that someone will come up and tap you on the shoulder waving a finger in your face.

array of food at the grocery store, supermarket photography Photo by Keith Fulton via Flickr

 

Repeating Patterns And Arrays Of Food

Apart from catering to the everyday needs of people, grocery stores present the perfect opportunity for photographers to experiment with the capturing the diversity in food. Aisles after aisles of food items neatly arranged and stacked in different categories is amazing to look at. Why not capture the essence of it all in a snapshot?

Each aisle has a particular product category with all the different brands arranged in repeating patterns, which could stand as a subject for your photograph. Take a snapshot of the entire aisle by standing at the end of the aisle or focus on one product category stocked on the shelves.

Burst Of Color

The range of products and brands at play in a grocery store punch in a plethora of colors in view. As you scan the store, you will observe the packaging, the fonts and the play of colors on each brand. These make for a powerful photograph with all the solid colors and patterns. Apart from canned ideas and packaged foods, fresh produce gives striking bold colors that ca be captured using different angles, focus and backgrounds.

Depending on what you want to capture, make sure you observe the composition and focus on the main subject. The positioning of colorful food in your frame along with the background elements says a lot about the photograph.

oranges at a grocery store, supermarket photography Photo Credit: Troy Wise via flickr

 

Unique Textures Of The Produce Section

When you are off for some shooting at the grocery store, make sure you look for the best looking food in the produce section. Food that looks plump, healthy and vibrant will make you photograph very enticing to look at. You may even come across some exotic fruits in the fresh produce section such as citrus fruits with a leaf or two still attached or zucchini complete with their flowers.

The trick for capturing the refreshing produce is to concentrate on lighting. Usually grocery stores have low lighting conditions that are not idea for photographs. You can place light at a lower angle to the food to capture a great deal of texture right through the surface of the food. Such a technique causes the glazes or moisturizers on the food to develop many highlights or accents. Avoid lighting any foods from straight in front because this would cause shadowed areas to become visible.

Close ups of produce that is tightly packed together can make for some interesting photos as well.

Using Shallow And Wide Depth Of Fields

Depth of field refers to range of distance that gives a sharp image. It basically describes what is inside the focused area of your image and what is left outside the focused area. Since the food is the focal point of the picture, you should keep a depth of focus that considers this.

Larger apertures (smaller F-stop number) and closer focusing distances produce a shallower depth of field. With a shallow depth of field, a small portion of the picture is in focus. Small apertures produce a wider depth of focus in which a big portion of the picture is in focus.

For macro food shots in the grocery store, a shallow depth of field should be used. For shooting entire aisles or shots from the second floor of the first floor, use a small aperturefor a wider depth of field.

array of cans at grocery store, supermarket photography Photo credit: Shantel Mitchell via flickr

When photographing at the grocery store, you have to be quick and flexible since items sell fast and spaces appear on shelves. Perhaps the best time is to go early when the shop opens and everything appears clean and restocked. So grab your camera and head off to the grocery store to experiment with different textures, composition and lighting.

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