Hello there, thanks for tuning in.
Let’s make a cup of tea, sit back, put Gojira on your home stereo system and read a little bit about food photography.
See, ‘food photography’ kinda misleading. It’s over-simplifying the task because the food is only part of the frame, what you’re shooting is a scene, a memory that people want to have and an experience they want to share with their nearest and dearest. This is why pictures of plates by themselves don’t do anything to make people interested or do anything to make a kitchen any busier.
On my last shoot I heard the best thing I could ever hear from a client: “That picture sells food” the Operations Director said as he pointed to a picture of mine on a flat screen TV behind the counter where people order. It was a pretty innocuous picture of a sandwich looking fresh and inviting, bread all golden toasted and soft, next to a nicely blurred cup of coffee all steaming warmly, and way in the background a newspaper with the crossword page facing camera. All arranged quite succinctly on a wooden tabletop.
What does that image say? It doesn’t say “this will cost you $10” (or whatever it costs, I just made that up), it says “this is a nice relaxing thing to do before you start your day” and that, dear friends, is what a successful image needs (in this instance) – it has to speak.
That probably sounds pretentious, and it might be, but it’s also right. If you’re shooting food, sell a scene. Plates by themselves look like menu shots in food courts. Set the table how it should be, get a glass of wine, a pepper grinder, a salt shaker, set up another place for someone else while you’re at it since not many people dine alone.
And now here’s some food.
All shot at 70mm, lit from somewhere close to behind with a silver reflector occasionally used camera right to kick some light back in. Nothing fancy.
When it comes to styling food, I like to fill the frame but obviously make the thing on the plate the hero/focus and like all my shoots it involved working backwards.
If you don’t know what you’re aiming at you’ll never get it. If you can visualise the image in your head before you even pick up the camera or move a light you’re 90% there, the rest is just making it happen.
And, since that restaurant was putting on a festival all about seafood we shot some stuff for use in EDMs, backgrounds for copy, print ads, social content the usual thing… I’ve probably rambled before about how commercial photography now is different to what it was 10 years ago. Taking pictures is still taking pictures but the outlets for the images is hugely diverse now. I give my clients image libraries, shots of everything like the venue, kitche, food, service. I want to enable my clients to tell their story through a curated selection of images and give them imagery they can use to reinforce or build a brand across all their networks like print, social, EDMs, web banners… the usage of the pics is limited only by the imagination of the marketing department.
And that’s about it, rather than throw 600 images at you to stroke my ego I try to bring meaningful information here and hey, maybe this’ll help.