A food blog dedicated to the Kansas City commercial photography studio - Alistair Tutton Photography


Delicious Retouching

Seriously, I want a cinnamon roll every time I see this image. With the help of Dolce Bakery, we put this shoot on for a class from the Art Institutes of Kansas City. Several steps went into getting all of the aspects ready for the retouching side of this shoot. We had the heart shaped cinnamon roll suspended from fish hooks in front of a material background. A softbox was above the cinnamon roll, and a black flag was underneath. The third fishing hook you see on the bottom of the cinnamon roll was used to keep the roll parallel to the camera. Then we had to photograph the arrow in three different sections. That’s right. The arrow never went through the cinnamon roll all at once. Alistair took a grinder and chopped the arrow into three parts and they were photographed at different times. Then, the crumbs were photographed falling in mid-air.

Alright, now for the heavy lifting in Photoshop. Everybody stretch. I don’t want you pulling a hamstring.

The first thing I had to do was to separate the cinnamon roll from the background so that I could manipulate the shape without affecting anything else. Then, once I had that done, I could clone out what was left from the fishing line on the bottom of the roll. The delicious looking goo in the middle of the roll had to go, so I masked that off since I had the cinnamon roll on it’s own layer. Then, I got to use a tool that I rarely get to use. I knew of it, but haven’t had much use of it until now. I think I even had to look up a tutorial online to remember how to use it. That tool was….the puppet warp tool! The puppet warp tool has awesome capabilities if you’ve never used it. It was especially useful in this situation. The cinnamon roll had a good general shape of a heart, but I needed to shape it even more. I remembered that there is a heart-shape in the custom shapes tool, so I made a heart shape over the cinnamon roll and reduced the opacity so that I could see how I was shaping the roll. I put my points down and shaped the heart until I was happy with how it looked. Then, I had to put in the arrow pieces. It was a bit tricky due to shading and depth, but I think it turned out quite nice and believable. For the icing being flung out of the “exit wound”, I had to create that from scratch in Photoshop. Using the pen tool and layer styles I tried to imagine how icing would behave if it really were being flung out of a roll. I think it works. Oh, the icing on the arrow was already there. I didn’t create that. Ok, that’s it. I need a cinnamon roll now. I’ve typed it too many times not to have one.

- Adam

I loved working on this shot with Adam and Erin, from Dolce. We chatted with the students from the Arts Institutes about what they wanted to see and the feedback was a studio shoot, with food and plenty of retouching…so we came up with this. The idea is based on a really popular Valentine’s item for Dolce - their double-rolled cinnamon rolls. We brought in a couple dozen rolls to find a hero and went to work. 

The final result was definitely a complete collaboration between me, on the camera, and Adam, on the computer. We actually left the set up for twenty-four hours to be sure we had exactly what Adam would need and lucky we did! We ended up coming back for one additional shot utilizing the arrow to get the best shadow detail possible as the arrow entered the roll (the original was just too clean).

- Alistair


Photographer: Alistair Tutton

Assistant: Adam Caselman

Retoucher: Adam Caselman

Food Stylist: Erin Brown

Client: Dolce Bakery