Darkside of the Million Dollar Avocado

Darkside of the Million Dollar Avocado

A quick and dirty look behind the scenes…

Portrait of the darkside of the avocado

The Avocado was so unhappy in the kitchen and since it days are numbered, I took it with me to get its portrait and make it happy for its remaining time. It was lit by two flashes. The one on camera left through a small umbrella, close to the subject. The flash camera right bounced from a white painted wodden panel. This created a soft side light.



The Avocado was so unhappy in the kitchen and since it days are numbered anyway, I took it with me to get its portrait and make it happy for its remaining time. Also, since I heard of that image of a potato, that was sold for a million dollars (there are rumors saying this was a PR gag, though) I just had to create more “million dollar food” images. Not for copying the artists style, but to get my photography going with a specific target. Hence the Million Dollar Avocado. And here is how I made it.


The avocado was blu tacked to my black glas table. So it could not move to any direction and thus was held in an upright position. The camera was setup almost on the same level as the avocado. I placed a black card behind the subject as far as possible, to avoid stray light from the flashes. With the camera beeing so low, I had to hide the blu tack (which is not blue in my case, 😉 behind the avocado. You can do this in Photoshop as well, but I prefer to do as much as possible in camera. I do this, because I want to focus on things that I can’t do in camera when working in in Lightroom or Photoshop.

This is also a contributing factor for consistency throughout a series of pictures of the same subject. If you want to publish a series of images of the same subject and you have to correct that very detail in every picture, chances are, that you will miss something and you might have to correct it later in your workflow again. Better to correct as much as you can while shooting, so you can focus on important matters in post.


 The avocado was lit by two flashes. My goal when setting up the lights was to show the skin structure of the avocado which I really like. So, in order to enhance the skin, it was necessary to provide a fair amount of sidelight, to get some shadows and thus creating depth. The speedlight on camera left fired through a small umbrella, close to the subject and pointing down on it. The flash camera right bounced from a white painted wodden panel and created a very soft sidelight. Depending on the distance between flash, wood panel and the subject, you can create a big soft light source, that is easy to use.


I shot the image with my trusty old Canon EOS 450D, which I am thinking to replace soon. The Lens is a Sigma 17-70 2,8-4,0mm at (i think) 70mm. I chose this lens over the 70-200 2,8L because of the minimum focus distance in order to get more avocado in my frame ;). Which is an absolute must have, especially when shooting with and on glas tables is glas cleaning cloth and a blower. When working in an urban enviroment, there is so much dust around that you need (or at least I have to) clean the surface around your subject regularly to reduce work in post. This is especially needed in this case because of the low camera angle and the low sidelight, that makes every dust corn sparkle like its christmas


When working in Lightroom and on dark backgrounds the black slider is your best friend to clean your image up. Either when using it as part of the radial filter, or brush or whatever. Blackening out the background so much easier with that black slider than to blur or using noise reduction which may harm other features of your image.

Quicktip: Did you know, that when keeping Alt pressed while sliding the black slider forwards and backwards can help you to spot all that dust and stuff on your black background? Same goes for the white slider and white backgrounds!

Beside using the black slider I enhanced the vibrance a bit, gave it a bit more clarity for skin structure and used the healing brush for a highlight, that added more distraction than I thought while shooting the avocado.


So, that’s it again. I hope you will come back soon. If you have questions, hit me on Twitter (apoell), Instagram (mypixelsAT) or leave a comment.

Next time’



Leave me a comment