Heirloom Tomatoes – The Story Behind the Images

Currently, it’s tomato season in Southern California and there’s nothing better than fresh, ripe tomatoes. Not the bland ones that have been picked before ripening and then traveled for miles but the sweet, juicy ones with tons of flavor from the farmers’ market. The Vista Farmers’ Market is fantastic – lots of organic produce from local farms as well as prepared food and arts and crafts. Everything there is fresh and reasonably priced.

tomato food photography
Cherry tomatoes at the market

Every Saturday, local vendors set up their booths at the market and display whatever is in season. One of the best things about San Diego is the fact that there are farmers’ markets across town every day of the week and throughout the year. No matter where you live there is a weekly farmers’ market nearby. That makes it easy to buy fresh, organic produce and, as an added benefit of shopping at any one of these markets, your dollars support the local economy in a very direct way.

The produce from the Vista Farmers’ Market is excellent quality and makes not just delicious meals but great photography subjects. Everything I bought I chose with both purposes in mind. Keep reading to see the other photos…

And here are the results! Both images were lit with window light and small reflector cards. The “table” surfaces are just wood planks; one of which came from an architectural salvage shop. Planks are easier to store than solid surfaces and easier to move around, too. Overall, a really simple setup for a shot that showcases the beauty of the food. I am not a food stylist and in doing my own styling I have acquired a great deal of respect for them. This is why I keep my arrangements simple.

food photography
Cherry tomatoes
Heirloom Tomatoes food photography
Heirloom Tomatoes

An instructor once told me that food photography is about creating a sense of place. That comment is always on my mind when creating an image. These tomatoes could be in a rustic, farmhouse kitchen; freshly picked from the garden. You can imagine a warm summer morning and going out to the garden to pick what you will eat for the day. An image like this would be a great addition to the decor of a kitchen – especially if printed on a wood block or framed with a rustic wood frame. Check out more of my food photography here.

After the photography was done, the tomatoes became part of a Caprese salad. One of the many perks of tomato season.