7 Tea Time

There is no escape from the volume of medication needed to get through the day


This image is intended to reinforce the message of the dominant role that medication plays in the everyday life of some people.

It is very different from the sort of image that I had planned for this part of the day. I had originally seen the following photo on the front cover of a library book.

Taking the medicine

I tried to copy this image but decided for two reasons not to use it in this assignment;

1. My version was not as good as the original

2. I didn’t want to just produce a simple copy of someone else’s photo.

So I decided that I would try something a bit more related to the title of tea time, but stressing the importance of medication. I wanted a food image that would be different from the breakfast and lunch images.

I saw the cupcakes in our local bakery and that they had been baked in strongly coloured paper cases. Originally they had Christmas decorations on them, so I replaced these with some coloured pills. I thought back to a previous comment made by my tutor about making the image as much about colour, or light or design as the subject itself, so I decided to try to make this an image where the colours were as much of a talking point as the objects within it. I chose the most colourful pills I could find and arranged them in the icing on top of the cake.

I started out with the intention of using a type of lighting I had used in the previous assignment on colour when I had rolled up a sheet of cardboard into a cylinder with a very narrow hole at the end. This formed a snoot that I attached to my studio flash head to give a very concentrated beam of light, acting as a very small spotlight. I had used it to light a clementine in a previous assignment (photograph 12 in the colour assignment) and thought it could work well here on the cupcake.

m_12 Oh my darling Clementine_291

This time, instead of using cardboard I used black cinefoil to make the cylinder. However I hadn’t used a long enough piece of foil to form the cylinder properly and the hole at the end was too wide and was irregular rather than a perfect circle. This didn’t give the spotlight effect that I was looking for. I was going to try again with a longer piece of foil or card when I noticed that the ‘failed’ snoot I had just made was in fact giving some interesting rippled lighting effects on the background. I decided to take advantage of this and produce a more unusual background. It wasn’t the image I had first intended but it did give an interesting image that I was pleased with.

Again I used side lighting to emphasise the texture of the case and the topping of the cake. I wanted to make the most of the colour in this shot so I tried different backgrounds. I ended up using orange card so as to complement the blue of the cake case.

My intention with this photo was to suggest;

· Medication being a constant part of everyday life.


Technical alternatives

I used my 85mm macro lens for this image to concentrate on the pills at the front of the topping. I could have used a wider angle lens and this may have given greater depth of field.

Perhaps I could have tried lighting the cake from both sides, as I had done with an image in the previous assignment on light, but I’m not sure that it would have been an improvement. It might have been worth trying though.

Technical information

Lens: VR 85mm F/3.5G

Focal Length: 85mm

Aperture: F/9

Shutter Speed: 1/125s

Exposure Mode: Manual

No adjustments have been made to the image.


How could this image be improved?

I think I should have used a reflector to the front and right of the cupcake to shine more light on the paper case which is rather dark on the right hand side.


What have I learned from taking this photograph?

I learnt that just because you set out to light an image in a particular way, you don’t have to stick to it if something different crops up by accident! I also learned how to use colour to more effect in this photo.

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