I completely love the look of marble (and in this case, onyx) when working with food, but I have to face an important fact regarding vinyl backgrounds versus real marble surfaces: vinyl is not marble and it simply cannot replace the real thing. If I want the look of real marble when shooting up close, I must use real marble.
A quick bit of research (and consultation with my hubby) tells me that a slab of marble approximately one inch thick, with the same dimensions as one of my backgrounds, would weigh 25 pounds. So can you see where I’m going here? I obviously can’t be hauling around 25 pounds every time I set up for a shoot, and yet .. sometimes I want the look of marble. So I’ve compiled a list of tips and tricks on how to achieve the look of real marble when working with vinyl.
8 Top Tips when using Pink Onyx
- shoot top-down only
- place the background on a piece of white foam core to keep it smooth (tape it down if you like)
- use a tripod and position the camera at least 3 feet above the scene (I usually have my camera positioned 5 feet above)
- elevate the “hero” or main subject at least 1 1/2 to 2 inches off the background: in the images above, I used 3 flat cardboard spools of ribbon stacked on top of each other and placed them under the large wooden bowl of truffles .. you could also use a cake tray to elevate the main subject (use your imagination!)
- place a large plate (or several layers of plates) under the main subject to create a layered effect
- scatter sprinkles over the background .. in the image on the right I dusted the background with cocoa powder
- when shooting, focus on the “hero” or main subject to bring it into sharp focus leaving the background and smaller objects to blur away slightly
- use your image editing program to selectively sharpen the main subject (not the whole image)
In case you’re interested, here are the settings I used, followed by a little something I’ve discovered in Lightroom:
- Camera: Nikon D750
- Lens: 50 mm f/1.4
- ISO 800
- no flash
- 1/60 sec at f/3.2
Now for my Lightroom tip: I’ve started playing around with the Presets that are included with Lightroom Classic 10.0. These Presets can be found in the Develop Module on the left side of the screen. Included are the following: Color, Creative, B&W, Default, Curve, Grain, Optics, Sharpening, Vignetting. Use the drop-down arrow for each Preset and start playing and experimenting! I’ve found them to be very helpful. For the images above I applied the Preset “Warm Contrast” and the “Light” Vignette. Two clicks and I was done, and done (and very pleased!)
I hope you found this blog post helpful. If you have any comments or questions, please leave them in the comments and I’ll do my best to help. Oh, and would anyone like the recipe for these most decadent homemade truffles? cause I could share that too : )
Please Note: Pink Onyx has been discontinued.