For this first experiment shooting individual slices of bread, I bought 11 white loaves from the supermarket and set about making a number of photographs to see where this could take me. I used a white and black pillow case for the backgrounds and shot handheld aligning the bottom of each slice along the grid line of my camera view finder. Originally I had intended to use a tripod but found positioning each of the slices correctly to achieve consistency difficult. This is something I will need to revisit however if I am to continue with this project as I want to maximise sharpness and detail in each of the shots.

11 loaves of white bread chosen from my local supermarket to photograph

1. White background:

Instantly I dislike being able to see the pattern of the stitching in the background of these and find the shadows distracting. There are also variations in the white balance which effects consistency. This assessment is based on a prejudged idea of wanting the slices of bread to stand out against the background and for this to be plain and lacking in distraction. The downside to this is that the images could appear clinical or sterile. The ‘mistakes’ that I detail above could be a way of negating this and perhaps something that I should not dismiss without consideration. The finished effect will depend entirely on how I choose to present the images.

2. White background – cropped:

Again I feel conflict about whether these are more successful than the images above. My initial though was that they are instantly more impactful, but the more I consider them, the more I start to consider the possibility that allowing the images space to ‘breathe’ could be important. There is also the consideration about how I show variation in sizes of each of the slices which is not evident in these images due to shooting hand held and is further skewed through cropping.

3. Black background:

Presenting the images on a black background is how I imagined they would look before shooting, however, I wanted to experiment with a white background as well to see how the slices of bread looked. These images on a black background here fulfilled my expectations – the tone and texture of the bread is emphasised by the contrasting background which allows the viewer to concentrate on the details of each slice from crust to crumb. The problems of shadows and inconsistent white balance are also negated here.

4. Black background – cropped:

Strangely I find cropping the images here less impactful than the white background – perhaps the lack of distraction with the black background allows the image to ‘breathe’ more as mentioned above.

Initial thoughts on further development:

  • Need to consider how I will be able to shoot using a tripod and ensure consistent composition between each slice for further attempts.
  • Lighting is something I need to think about more. For this initial attempt I used a cheap ring light intended for blogging combined with natural light. If I pursue this project, I envisage photographing many slices of bread which will be impossible to achieve in one shoot as I have here – having a consistent lighting set up will be crucial to achieving consistent results.
  • The eventual presentation of the images is also something to consider – will they be individual or on a grid? Life size or bigger, or even smaller? Again, consistency is the main thing I need to think about.