Today, I was honored to speak the New Jersey Blogger Network Spring Conference. I was asked to spill my secrets about photography styling and composition. I thought for a while how I would present this. I didn’t want to be boring and just talk at the attendees. And then it hit me! I would do a live photo shoot for them.

I came up with a setup in mind (something that could easily be transported in my hour commute) and decided to style an Iced Tea setup. It’s almost summer time and I knew it would be a nice and refreshing photo.

Food Photography Pull-Back Lemon Iced Tea

So what did I bring?

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Wood Pallet Top – I got mine at AC Moore but you could use a real pallet.
Pitcher – This one is acrylic and from Target. You can find a similar one on Amazon.
Glasses – Again, these are acrylic and from Target. Here are similar ones on Amazon.
Wood Cutting Board
And, of course, iced tea!

In full disclosure, I retook these photos when I came home so they are not from the actual conference. But the setup is the same.

Now that we have that in the way, let’s take a look at the finished product first. This is the setup that we worked with at the conference.

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Let’s break down the shot.

This is an overhead shot of the iced tea in a pitcher, with sliced lemons to give color. I needed something to break up the brown. You could do the same thing with lemonade by adding berries. I filled two glasses about half-way with the iced tea and added a lemon wedge garnish. I then sliced some additional lemons for accents. I kept them on cutting board and included the knife as well. I wanted this shoot to look like I took it as I was preparing some iced tea for friends on a summer day.

Now, let’s take a look at the pull back.

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Let’s break this down. My light source is to the left coming from my sliding glass door. This is were I take about 85% of my photographs for the blog. I placed a whitewashed board to the right to help bounce some light and fill in the shadows. Underneath the pallet top, I put an aqua placemat so that a little pop of color would come through. I stood directly overtop the setup to get the final shot.

Of course I couldn’t just stop at this one shot. I took a bunch more.

iced tea set up

I took these standing directly in front of the setup. I was standing in between my light source (the window was behind me) and the table. I then took them at different angles depending on the picture.

Here is a pull-back from another angle.

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There you have it! Your food photography setups don’t have to be overly complicated. In fact, it’s best to keep it simple!

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