You cannot miss the fact that a strong background plays the same importance (if not more) as the main hero in food photography. You can probably have a glorious dish but it will end looking blah if it is not placed on or against a background with an interesting texture and color that will enhance its character and story. Mind you, a killer surface should NEVER compete with the main subject or composition, but compliment whatever might be missing.
I am just scratching the surface (pun was VERY intended) of discovering how important that is, so I started collecting all sorts of surfaces that others might regard as junk – old doors, crates, pallets, sheet metal, cookie trays, boards.
But sometimes you want a certain texture, color and feel. Here’s how easily you can turn a couple boards from an old beat up pallet.
There are endless ways to distress wood in case if you cannot find something that’s already naturally distressed, which is preferable. The wood I used here was from an old beat up pallet I found by the LOWE’s dumpster. I took one that was already somewhat weathered, but had the boards somewhat intact. The hardest part of all was taking off the top boards. This guy has a great demo on how to do that:
Once that was done, I simply used a hammer and cutter to dent and scratch the surface at random. Next, I sanded their surface and applied (in this case) a dark wood stain. Once that was done, I sanded them lightly to reveal that distressed look. Finally I coated them with linseed oil for a nice finish. I was surprised to see now rustic they looked!
The setup I used for the picture of the bread above included a Photoflex Medium LiteDome softbox with a Nikon SB-28dx speedlight set at 1/8″ power. Had the aperture on the lens quite high to be able to capture some of the background texture detail.
Please let me know what’s your “background” and surface story and how are you using it in your photography. I am always curious to learn new tricks of the trade. Cheers!