Getting technique in one’s tool box is always important, so I’m taking a two-session food photography class through the Nevada Museum of Art. Regular readers won’t be surprised when I mention who is teaching it. None other than Jeff Ross (my lighting instructor at University of Nevada, and commercial photographer extraordinaire).
Last week we had a chef come in and we photographed four different dishes. It’s challenging. It’s not easy to make food look good. To have it pop, yet avoid weird reflections, muddy colors, etc. Tonight we are supposed to bring our images from last week’s session in for critique, and Jeff also gave us an optional homework assignment: to photograph either ice cream (making sure to get the cracks and ridges) or to photograph beer with the perfect amount of foam. With weather being in the mid-90’s lately, I wasn’t about to try ice cream, even if I did manage to get it in the freezer immediately after scooping. Not only that, I’d be too tempted to eat it instead of shooting it. So I opted for the beer challenge. The thing is, I’m not a beer drinker, so I don’t even have a beer mug! Instead I opted for an over-sized wine glass which I thought might make an interesting photograph.
I literally spent hours setting this shot up – using a stand-in wine glass. When I was finally ready to shoot the real thing, I grabbed the wine glass I had chilling in the freezer and went to town. I had to shoot fast! There’s even room for some ad copy in the upper right quarter of the photo.
Here are my shots from last week’s studio shoot.
To my delight, the chef is vegan, and he prepared two vegan options in addition to the meat entrees.
This one was tough. Trying to show the texture and shine without it looking slimy was a challenge. Diffuse the light too much and the veggies will look dull and lifeless.
Probably my favorite meal of all time. Pasta and marinara. Num!
I shot at this angle because the meatball was such a prominent feature of the dish. You still see the sauce and pasta, but to me, this meal was all about the meatball.
This one is probably my least favorite shot. I just couldn’t make this burger look special. The chef said the aioli dressing was a key feature of the dish, so we did our best to try to make it stand out. We tried it first on black plating, but the shine and reflections didn’t work. We then switched to this green plate and well, I just struggled with this one. Just as I was finishing up shooting this entree, we got the chef to toast the top bun and I’m hoping my partner got a better look than I was able to provide.
Tonight we will be photographing baked goods. And afterwards we get to eat some!