Published January 1st 2016

by Markus Pettersson 

During the christmas holidays I had some spare time to take on a little project of my own I’ve been thinking about for a while, namely fruit photography with a creative touch. I’ve seen similar images in commercials, stock photos etc and wanted to create my own versions. Tasty and colorful were the watchwords for how I visualized these images before the shoot. I also happened to document the whole thing from light setup to shooting to retouch. 🙂
Apple and orange slicesSliced lemonSliced pineapple photo compositingSliced banana compositingPear lightbulbRed and green peppersSliced orangeWater melon photo compositingSliced cucumber

Download layered PSD for free!

Can I use these images anyway I want?
-For personal use only.

Can I put them in my own portfolio?

Can I publish the zip-file with the PSD for download from my own website?
-No, please link to this page instead.

Can I use the images in this article on my blog/website/e-zine for writing about it and linking to it?

Can I use them in my commercial project, like an ad where I put a company logo and slogan together with the images?
-No, for personal use only, not commercial.

Can I edit them?
-If you want to, yes!

Can I use them as a part of my compositing in Photoshop?

Are all the fruits extracted with transparent background?
-They sure are!

Best regards, Markus


File info
File format: Photoshop PSD
Color space: AdobeRGB
Pixel dimensions: 7 304 x 7 304 pixels (53 Megapixels)
Shot with: Hasselblad H5D-40
Retouched with: Adobe Photoshop CC2014

Behind the scenes

I used four flashes on tripods, and in some images also a handheld Canon Speedlite as fill. I use mostly Elinchrom flashes which I think work pretty good. Not as fancy as ProFoto or Broncolor but I recently invested in a Hasselblad H5D-40 with a couple of lenses, so one step at the time… 🙂

Creative fruit photography by Markus Pettersson, light setup

The flash with the rectangular softbox acts as main light. The two flashes on the sides create the highlights. These need to be a bit stronger than the light from the softbox since I want these lights a bit overexposed. 

Creative fruit photography by Markus Pettersson, light scheme

Schematic view of the light setup. The background sheet is tracing paper which I shot a Speedlite through from behind.

To get a deep DOF I set the highlights on maximum power and the main light about one stop lower. I wanted to shoot on as small aperture as possible and measured the light to between f22 and f27 through the photo shoot. Since I shot with a Hasselblad H5D-40, a medium format camera with larger sensor than regular dSLR’s, I got a more shallow DOF than usual. For example, f8 is usually a pretty good DOF, but that’s too short on a Hasselblad. Therefore, a lot of light is needed.


Creative fruit photography by Markus Pettersson, props

I went to the local grocery store to shop for my props. Walking around in the fruit section is actually very inspiring, haha…

Creative fruit photography by Markus Pettersson, pepperoni

The idea was to slice some of the fruits and shoot them while they still had sort of their original shape. I guess there are several ways to do this but I used sewing thread and fishline depending on how heavy the fruits were. To keep the pineapple in place I needed fishline. On some fruits I also used a barbecue skewer to keep the slices in place.


The retouch of these images are pretty extensive, time wise. On average I spent about three hours per image on these nine images. The techniques are no secret though, very basic retouching techniques actually. 90% of the retouching consists of:

  • Extraction (pen tool)
  • Cleaning up (healing brush and clone stamp)
  • New background (gradient adjustment layer)
  • Dodge & Burn (painting in curve layers)

NOTE: In Photoshop CC2015 the healing brush has been updated – for the worse! I noticed that it didn’t behave like it normally does, and the result was pretty ”smudgy”. I googled this issue and obviously I’m not alone. For me it resulted in going back to CC2014 where the healing brush works much better.

On some of the images, where the fruit is standing and not ”flying”, I also added a fake shadow. The goal with these images are not to make the fruits look realistic, rather the other way around. The commercial style and look (that has no official name, I think?) with high local contrast is created by dodging and burning. There are some different variations of this technique. I prefer to use a light curve adjustment layer for the highlights and a dark curve adjustment layer for the shadows. So it’s not REALLY dodge & burn since I’m not using those tools, but the idea is still the same. I won’t get in deep on D&B here, but if you want to know more Google is your friend. Search for ”dodge and burn tutorial” or something similar and I bet you’ll find a lot of good video tutorials and how-to’s.

Dodge and burn layer mask

Examples of what my D&B layers look like.

Dodge and burn layer mask

Can you tell what fruits they are? 🙂

The result

I put together an extremely shortened version of my workflow from start to finish. There’s no way to include exactly every step in real time, that would take too long. But I hope this compressed version gives a small insight on how I created these images. Enjoy! 🙂