In practice

Strobist & Christmas french cookies

After two camera shootings (a Polaroid 1000 and a Lomo LCA), today, a more seasonal subject: Christmas french cookies aka “sablés” !

First steps of this photo; the preparation of the dough and the cooking! But that’s not the subject of this article, you will find plenty of cookbooks to prepare your Christmas cookies.

So first step, the framing.

Framing

I chose a rustic support in warm colors to recall the trunk of the Christmas tree and the end of year celebrations in a country house. The bird’s-eye view allows the subject to be highlighted in a composition without any real background. To create a background I use a small depth of field thanks to a large aperture (f/2.8) and a long focal length (100mm).

A photo to control the frame, in ambient light.

Gear

Besides the 100mm I work with two light sources: flashes in manual mode (Neewer NW-561) triggered by Pocketwizard Plus II and I apply the methods of Strobist movement. To put my modelers on my cobra flashes I use an S-R1 adapter and an accessory set the AK-R1 from Godox.

If you want to learn more about the Strobist movement, download the excellent Strobist 101 manual.

So in summary, a camera, two flashes with light modifiers, something to trigger them and accessories:

Setup

To create the light I proceeded in two steps.

Fill light

The main light is achieved through a classic white diffuser, directed towards the ceiling. Part of the light more specifically shines on the right of the stage.

Lumière secondaire

To fill the left part of the frame, I use a dense pink filter to bring a little fairy to the image.

Enlarge

Secondary light © Nicolas Beaumont - 2020
Secondary light

© Nicolas Beaumont – 2020

Enlarge

Secondary light © Nicolas Beaumont - 2020
Secondary light

© Nicolas Beaumont – 2020

Shooting

When taking the picture, I sprinkle icing sugar to create a light veil and evoke winter snowfall. No need to overdo it, it’s in the subtlety that lies the key.

Result

Here is the image output from the sensor:

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Raw picture © Nicolas Beaumont - 2020
Raw picture

© Nicolas Beaumont – 2020

It lacks a bit of contrast. After a few tweaks on Lightroom, here’s what we get:

Enlarge

Christmas french cookies © Nicolas Beaumont - 2020
Christmas french cookies

© Nicolas Beaumont – 2020

And to finish the lighting setup:

Enlarge

Lighting setup © Nicolas Beaumont - 2020
Lighting setup

© Nicolas Beaumont – 2020

To go further

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About

Nicolas Beaumont is a photojournalist, director and writer specializing in social and humanitarian photography. Among our clients are the French Red Cross, Emmaüs, Handicap International, Secours Mag, Dimatex, Actusoins. We make films, photographs and articles around the world on current topics: migration, war, displaced, natural disaster, flood etc...

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