Shooting not-so-still lifes
The value of action isn’t limited to street shooting and reportage. Even in static, controlled settings, such as still life, there’s a need for signs of life at times. Food photos, particularly involving liquids and preparation, call for live action, typically in the forms of pouring, stirring, dropping and sprinkling. Food video adverts are almost always full of things going on, since it’s a necessary part of making things seem appetising. Equally with still food shots, having things move overcomes one of still life’s drawbacks, at least in the commercial world: it can be too contemplative at times. If a call-to-action is needed, like asking the viewer to reach out and grab, animation can work. In showing summer refreshments, a fizzy drink needs to fizz. This means pouring it an instant before shooting, from a height, and fast to ensure a visible spray, with several spillage failures.
Capturing visible spray meant vigorous last-second pouring, plus a carefully positioned setting, so that the sunlit droplets would stand out against the dark background.
If having lots of bubbles is an integral part of a still life image, you can cheat and make them available on continuous supply, as in this production shot.