50mm Lens, Canon 50D, Design, Photo Challenges, Photo Editing, Photography

Travel Theme: Fragrant

This week’s travel theme, fragrant, is one of those themes that I knew right away what I was going to write about but it took me awhile to figure out how I was going to present it.  Kimchee is one of my favorite foods.  It wasn’t always. I have lived in South Korea where it is a staple side dish, and so I had plenty of opportunity to keep sampling it.  Because I am taking a Photoshop class I decided to incorporate some of the skills I am working on learning to present kimchee to you:

ISO 250 50mm 0ev f/5.6 1/6

ISO 250 50mm 0ev f/5.6 1/6

The photo is of cabbage kimchee, and just like there are many ways to spell kimchee there are also a lot of different ways to prepare it.  It has a very distinct and strong smell.  In our household we also joke about it being a miracle food.  But joking aside, when someone in the house has a cold, I break out the kimchee.  It clears out the sinuses and has a lot of vitamin C.  If you have never tried it before, I would recommend trying it along with some steamed rice.

For this particular photo you will see that I have a slow shutter speed and fairly low ISO.  I used my tripod, because I wanted to get as much detail as possible.  I wasn’t too concerned about the background tablecloth, because I knew that would not be in the final image. Here is the original photo:

ISO 250 50mm 0ev f/5.6 1/6

ISO 250 50mm 0ev f/5.6 1/6

This was a tough post for me to write because I usually right pretty specific details about how I made the final image.  In this case I am combining several things, so I am trying to convey all the various parts without boring you to death.  If there is something below that you would like more detail or clarification on please leave a comment.  I’m happy to talk to you about it.

First in a new document I created a layer that is a gradient.  I custom selected the colors from the image and then used a linear gradient from the upper right corner to the lower left.  When I say that I custom selected the colors I mean that I had my original photo open in a separate window.  I used the eyedropper tool to change the foreground and background colors.  With those chosen I went back to the new document and created the gradient.  You will see that I selected two variations on the orange color that is in the kimchee.  I started with the lighter color as my foreground color and the darker as my background.

Second I used the elliptical marquee tool to make a selection of the kimchee from the original photo then I copied and pasted it on top of my gradient layer in the new document.

Then I used the ellipse tool and made a shape similar to the outline of the kimchee in the new document.  On that edge I used my type tool to type “kimchee”  used several layer styles on the type itself.  The most complex of the layer styles was the pattern overlay.  I had pre-made a pattern using the kimchee photo and then selected it when I got to that point. I would have to say that getting the type the way I wanted it was the hardest part of this project.  The type that I have above isn’t perfect.  I wouldn’t be finished with this image if it was actually something I was turning in for a grade or a commercial assignment.

I used several resources to figure out how to create this image.

Here is the font, I used from dafont.com  If you are looking for creative type it is a good website to use.

I got the idea of using the font and some other creative thoughts on how to approach this project by looking through this tutorial on textuts.com where they are creating kiwi-inspired text.

For some basic pointers on how to get the text to work, I watched this tutorial on YouTube.

What do you think of my finished project? Questions? Thoughts? feel free to leave them below.  If in your travels you have never tried kimchee, you really should.



20 thoughts on “Travel Theme: Fragrant

    • Yes, I tweeted about that tutorial before I wrote this post and that is how it got picked up for that magazine. I decided to include it here in the post too because although I didn’t use it exactly, it was part of the journey. As for twitter, I follow a number of design based twitter accounts and sometimes the tutorials catch my eye and I find them useful for photography. Do you follow that sort of thing of twitter?


    • Actually, I am sorry to say that I do not. I buy this at the store. These days, I have seen it at both Dierbergs and Scnucks. It is in the refrigerated section of the fresh fruit and vegs section. Also, there is an Asian market in UCity that carries it. If you buy some and store it in your fridge, I would recommend putting the whole jar in a ziplock bag because the smell can actually seep into other things.


  1. A friend of mine grew up in South Korea, and her mother made us kimchi. It was delicious. So, I bought it at the store, and I was disappointed. Maybe I should keep trying until I find one I like.

    I really like how you changed the background by using the colors from the kimchee, and then using a gradient effect. When I take a picture of food, my little Sony point and shoot has a food setting 🙂


      • I am not sure exactly what to look for, but when I looked at the properties of two identical photos I took; one with the food setting and one with macro, the compressed bits/pixels and size were different. Food Setting: Compressed bits/pixels 2, and size 677 KB. Macro: Compressed bits/pixels 1, and size 370 KB. All of the other properties were exactly the same. I hope that answered your question.


      • That is interesting, I was guessing that they might be pretty similar. I would suggest to you that if you are ever taking macro shots and not loving the result, to switch to the food setting and see what you get. Also, because you are getting a larger files with the food setting, that would give you more to work with if you were going to be doing any post editing. Thanks for checking on that for me, I was curious.


  2. Thanks for the photo lesson. I never would have thought to check what the difference was between the macro and food settings. I should start taking notes, that I can carry around when I am taking pictures 🙂


  3. Emily says:

    I really like the original picture of the kimchee- the red in the tablecloth really plays well the highlights of red in the dish. I think the original photo was close to ten times better than your edited version, where you simply tried to do too much to a gorgeous photo. It really looks amateurish-the font, the oddly placed circle- I’m not quite sure what it is. Anyway, nice original shot-my recommendation is to keep it simple.


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