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Pigging out on the Props

PHOTO BLOG

Join Cape Town Product Photographer and Author of the Getaway Magazine Photography Masterclass on her photographic adventures in and out of the studio. 

Pigging out on the Props

Robyn Daly

I must confess, I’m a sucker for eating props. So when I was commissioned to shoot a stop-motion video on High Tea for RCS Cards, my excitement was twofold. One, there was the prospect of bringing cheesecake, macaroons and scones to life, making them dance on the plate. Two, once said macaroons and co. had performed for the camera, they could dance their way into my mouth. I have a sweet tooth, so sue me!

THE SECRET TO TASTY PRODUCT PHOTOGRAPHY

The primary focus of the shoot was to showcase products — tea sets and pretty cake stands and so on that RCS cardholders could buy using their store or credit card. The secret to making product photography delectable is in ensuring the product is accompanied by the most delicious props you can buy. Shelly was styling for this shoot and she smashed the budget shopping — the cheesecake alone was more than R500. Most people don’t realise that when food is included in a shoot, even if it’s just as a prop, it needs to be premium! Checkers-issue cupcakes weren’t going to cut it. And that suited my premium-taste buds even better.

Shelly works to arrange a cornucopia of delicious props threatening to overtake the studio.

Shelly works to arrange a cornucopia of delicious props threatening to overtake the studio.

CONTROLLING LIGHT FLICKER IN STOP MOTION

The other secret to this shoot is a photographic one: when animating you need to be aware of how your animator is going to affect light. Even if he or she is not in the picture, their mere presence near the set changes how light is reflected or absorbed. So for the pouring of the tea in this stop motion, Shelly needed to stand right up close to the set. Much to her horror, I insisted she wear a Toga!

Shelly models the Toga — essential wear for stop motion photoshoots.

Shelly models the Toga — essential wear for stop motion photoshoots.

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SWEET SUCCESS

It all worked out so sweetly in the end. The macaroons danced like ballerinas onto the plates and into our mouths, so too did the slices of fluffy cheesecake. Usually creatives don’t like doing the same thing more than once, but I’ll animate teatime treats anytime. This is one shoot that left me hungry for more.

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Here’s the finished stop motion animation. Tea is served…


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