Restaurant promo shots - tips wanted

Discussion in '35mm Cameras' started by Lionel, May 26, 2004.

  1. Lionel

    RSD99 Guest

    Interesting ... but what's that red-and-white "stuff" in the background?
    RSD99, May 31, 2004
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  2. Lionel

    RSD99 Guest

    Forgot to mention ... you need more depth of field ... use a smaller aperture.
    RSD99, May 31, 2004
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  3. Lionel

    Lionel Guest

    The stuff is just random junk on their food-prep bench. Because it was
    just a test shot, I didn't want to get in the way by moving things
    around & getting in their way. For the real thing, I'll probably sit the
    dishes on a folded up piece of linen, propped up at the back.
    Lionel, May 31, 2004
  4. Lionel

    Lionel Guest

    You think? I shot it very shallow because that seems to be the fashion
    around here for 'arty' food photography. I don't mind that look myself,
    but I'm open to discussion on it. ;)
    Lionel, May 31, 2004
  5. Lionel

    parv Guest

    There is really nothing much to see if you keep the shallow DoF.

    - parv
    parv, May 31, 2004
  6. Lionel

    Lionel Guest

    Fair comment. I'll do a another test shot at about f/5.6 & see which one
    the client prefers.

    I'm not kidding about shallow DoF being in fashion at the moment, no
    kidding, 3/4s of the food shots I see here look like they were shot at
    f/1.4 - f/2.
    Lionel, May 31, 2004
  7. Lionel

    Gordon Moat Guest

    Sounds very fair for both of you.
    Good call! The harsh reality is that editing makes a photographer appear to be
    good, not volume of images, equipment, nor even years doing photography.
    I have several more similar sites, in case you want more ideas. Noel Barnhurst
    is about the top of the heap, but there are others nearly as good, and as in
    demand. He tends to be my personal favourite for food photographers currently.
    Okay, the red is a tiny bit flat, though it might be my monitor at the moment.
    This is one to check with a press proof, chromalin, or similar prior to going
    to final print. Anyway, there are some things that you might be able to clean
    up in post, just be careful on increasing saturation in post, since it can give
    posterizing at edges, or show artefacts.

    You really need to cheat with lettuce. Never use those yellow bits that are
    actually served. Get the real green bits by hand selecting. Another thing you
    can do is use spinach leaves instead, since they have a better green to them.

    Other the needing better lettuce, the darker green on the peppers is starting
    to go black. You can try adding a softbox over the food, or adding some
    exposure, though that might wash out the tomatoes even more. The cucumbers
    could use a little help as well, though I suspect they may not have been cold
    enough. When they are really cold, the white comes out better. Ideally you want
    the cucumber white closer to the plate, but if that is out of reach, then get
    away from using a white plate (maybe try a black plate, or non-food colour).

    Anyway, considering that some aspects could be better, I am not going to bash
    the digital rendition here. If you have more adjustments, you should try them
    to get the colours different. If you have a Polaroid available, take a few
    shots with that, since the colours on 669 and 690 peel apart films are close to
    what the final printed pieces could look like.

    I would use a tiny bit more DOF, maybe one more stop, just to get a little more
    of the food in focus. It would be nice to have the edge of the plate in focus,
    to get a harder edge to visually anchor the image. Also, that little bit of
    green food (onion?chive?) at the right plate edge should not be there . . .
    attention to detail is really important.
    Okay, nicer image. I get the impression this is a quick test under actual
    conditions. It would be visually stimulating to see more flame under the pan,
    even if they don't actually cook it that way. If you are getting the idea that
    the food you photograph could be ruined, or that you might not want to eat it,
    then unfortunately that is the created reality of food photography . . . you
    are creating an ideal vision, but not exactly reality. All food items should be
    real food, but knowing how to alter those items can improve the images.

    Much better exposure, but the cucumbers (?) are still getting near black. Foods
    that look more black tend to get the viewer to think they have gone bad, with
    only a few exceptions. Since you want to use direct digital, you might want to
    try altering the white balance much more, even if it does not seem to be on the
    numbers. If the cucumbers and bell peppers still go towards black (too dark
    green), consider switching to film or using yellow bell peppers and squash,
    with a conversion to green in post processing.

    The red of the tomatoes looks better, but still too close to pale orange. You
    can hand select the tomatoes being photographed, or try substituting Roma
    tomatoes. Small cherry tomatoes are another option, but likely a better choice
    on salad than cooked food.

    Anything to go over a flame should be real cold first, to get you more time.
    You will only be able to get a few shots off prior to the food going bad, or
    burning. You can try quickly freezing everything for a short time after all is
    cut, selected, and arranged in a pan. Turn the flame up higher, then put the
    (too cold for normal cooking) pan with food on the flame.

    The utensil in the upper left is not really necessary. If you want to include
    that, get back slightly more to show more of it, and more of the pan. It might
    be nice to add a little light under the pan, other than the flame, just to
    create an edge, though that might not be practical, depending upon stove
    construction (or safety).

    Okay, general items to try. Oil is really tricky, and can give bad highlights,
    or dull colours. Use very little, or substitute vinegar or water. You can try
    applying oil with an eye dropper, and use spray bottles for the water and
    vinegar. Make sure all of these are very cold.

    Despite what some others have commented, I think the backgrounds are not
    distracting. You have them out of focus, and fairly smooth. Just make sure no
    shapes, nor bold colours, are distracting from the main food image.
    Probably try some bracketing of DOF, as well as exposures. I think you should
    be able to come up with some outstanding results.
    Oh, almost forgot, you can use a small flashlight (like a Maglight) to add a
    little lighting at precise spots on the food. While it might seem that tungsten
    balance (or film) might be better for that, in reality the idea is to just add
    a spot of warmth. Of course, not every shot would need that worked in, but it
    is another idea I forgot to mention earlier.

    Hope I was not too harsh on the comments. I probably am forgetting some things
    as well, so feel free to ask more questions, or e-mail me off group.
    Gordon Moat, Jun 2, 2004
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