Have you ever wished you had an extra hand that you could set a prop in and know that it wouldn't move? Fortunately photographers and videographers have dozens of clamps, clips, stands, and arms that allow them to place any piece of lighting gear, lighting modifier, or prop anywhere they would like to. You could have a model or member of your crew hold a utensil in place, but there is a high chance that they will experience fatigue and drop the food. Here is a solution that uses grip gear to ensure your food will stay in place for as long as you would like.
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When you hear the words cinnamon rolls, what comes to mind? Is it a roll hot out of the oven with a rich creamy icing oozing over the sides? Or do you picture a Saturday morning breakfast with a dish of rolls that have been covered in a rich thick cream cheese frosting? Neither vision of a cinnamon roll is right nor wrong. The key in turning these cinnamon roll visions into reality is the styling.
If you live in the Northern Hemisphere, Summer is officially here! This means plenty of picnics, outdoor barbecues, and many more occasions where you can take pictures of food outside! When outside, you won't have control of the weather conditions. To be able to have nice, soft, diffused light in any weather, there is one piece of equipment that I always bring with me. It is small, light-weight, and essential to creating mouthwatering pictures of food on a bright sunny day. Can you guess what it is?
When working on a multi-page editorial spread or a cookbook, it is important to showcase a variety of different food shots. If there is an author or chef involved in the shoot, including them in a few action shots will blend nicely with a variety of still shots. Here is a look at a recent shoot I did where I was assigned to shoot both action and still shots of the same dish.
When traveling to a restaurant, you never know what type of lighting environment you will find yourself in. There could be a large window with beautiful soft, natural light, or it could be dark like a cave with only overhead fluorescent lights. If you want to add restaurants to your portfolio, reading the light in a room is a great habit to get into. Not sure what I mean by reading the light? Let me show you what I found on a stop for some Texas barbecue.
In the fall of 2010, I decided to shoot my dream assignment. I knew that no one was going to pay me to go out and tackle this subject matter, and I had not seen any photographer do what I wanted to do, so I did it. At the time, I had no idea what the assignment would turn in to or how it would change me as a photographer and a person. Here is what I learned from photographing 35 College Football Tailgates.
Food styling can take place in the production kitchen and in front of the camera. How do you know when and where to style your food? The answer will depend on what food you are shooting. For food with long shelf lives, like cupcakes, the dish will generally be camera ready when it leaves the kitchen. If the dish involves a sauce and a variety of garnishes, the styling will occur both in the kitchen and in front of the camera. Here is a behind the scenes look at a dish that involves styling in both locations: The Meatball Sandwich.
A stone background provides a great look for many food shots. The only problem is the weight that comes with it. Spend a day hauling around large stone tiles and you will understand the price that comes with this great look. There is a solution though. Let me show you how you can still have the same great stone look that is easy on the back and the wallet.
When shooting an ingredient shot, shadows can make or break an image. Sometimes you want less noticeable shadows while other times dark shadows can add a lot to an image. In the case of this pomegranate, I shot it both ways. Let me show you how playing with the shadows will have a dramatic effect on your final image.
Every finished dish in a restaurant or final recipe shot is made up of different ingredients. These ingredients can be a wide range of things. Some ingredients, like fruits and vegetables, are equally delicious as a component in a dish or as a meal on their own. Other ingredients like flour, salt, and sugar, are best used as the building blocks for that final meal. When your are assigned to shoot a series of recipes or plated dishes at a restaurant, it is very common that your Art Director or client will want to include an overhead shot of just the common ingredient. Here are a few examples of when this shot is useful.
The film industry has the Oscars. The music industry has the Grammys. Broadway has the Tony Awards. The annual awards that celebrate the best and brightest of the culinary world are the James Beard Foundation Awards. NYC based photographer Landon Nordeman set up backstage at the 2013 awards with just an iPhone for a camera. The results are a captivating black and white series of shots that each capture the range of emotions of the night.
Saint Patrick's Day celebrations in the United Stated revolve around one thing: lots of green booze. In working with a recipe developer for a St. Patrick's Day beverage, we both wanted to steer clear of the common green beer and food coloring based cocktails. The result was a beautiful green sangria. Here is more on how I created this subtly St. Patrick's Day themed shot.
When you are on a food photography shoot, you will hear the term the "Hero _____ " throughout the day. DO NOT EAT THE HERO. The hero is the picture perfect version of the food that will be in the final shot. Here is a look at what goes into finding the hero for your shot.
I scream, you scream, we all scream for ice cream! Photographers may scream when they hear that ice cream is what the client wants. Ice cream is not easy to work with. Once it starts melting, it is done and you need to move on to the next dish. Unless you are shooting in a freezer, the working window for ice cream isn't very long. There are many different ways photographers and food stylists will approach ice cream. For this series of pint-sized sundaes, I let the ice cream's container be the guide for the styling.