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  • Sandy Weatherall

Hovering Doughnut

Who doesn't need the practical skill of making food levitate?


Or maybe just have some fun which is why I started with something bold and actually fairly simple from the photography point of things.


One light. One reflector. Boom. Done.


The challenge was actually getting the doughnut to float.


Step 1.

I placed a stand-in doughnut at about the level I wanted it. My instinct was to place it on a clear plexiglass stand. The vision however, was to have the dripping icing which could not happen unless the stand was smaller than the doughnut.


First, and this could very well have been just in my mind but if it wasn't suspended somehow, I felt like I couldn't suspend the belief that it was floating.


Second, there would have been a lot more Photoshop challenges.


Third, if it was totally static, I wouldn't have been able to create the cool cinemagraph where it looks like the icing is moving but the doughnut is still. The slight swinging action made this possible.


Ask me how to do the cinemagraph, if you like. I'll do some in a future post.


Step 2.

Get the light right. I wanted a very graphic feel and to do so I felt a harder light was in order. I had a single strobe, no softening modifier on it, placed directly to the left of my doughnut. First shot. Oops, a little hot! Second contrasty and still over exposed. Third, got the exposure correct and balanced with a piece of white foam core as a reflector. Shot at f-9, synced to my lights. Using a Nikon D810 with an 85mm tilt-shift lens.


Step 3.

Suspend belief by suspending the food. I really had no idea if it was going to work or not. I had purchased clear picture hanging wire. When I cut the first piece, it was super curly which I knew would be a challenge. I straightened it by hovering gently over my gas stovetop. Yes, I have melted and charred props many times before. In fact, I think that's another idea for a post! How I create many props. I pierced the doughnut with the strength of the wire. I considered fishing line but it might have cut right through and it would need an anchor to keep it from slipping. This wire, self anchored with a knot.


Step 4.

Hang it. Using a background stand, I tried to tie or clamp the line. The wire is kind of stiff and challenging to manipulate so I ended up using the commercial photographer's favourite tool. Duct tape, of course. Note: the pink backdrop is craft foam I purchased at Michael's. I like it for small backdrops because it has a mat finish and is quite washable. I taped it to a prop box.


Step 5.

Icing. This was a trick. Anything drippy or splashy (sounds like one of the 7 Dwarves) is always a chance taking procedure but I dove in. I used ready made cookie icing with food colouring. A homemade piping bag and went for it. Gravity did the rest.


Step 6.

Hope for the best and shoot!


Step 7.

Edit as you would. A few small Photoshop edits and done.


Hovering Doughnut!











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