Thoughts, rambling ideas and adventures of myself, family and friends

Thursday, 15 February 2018

photographing indoors

On my courses I get many questions about taking photographing food indoors using ambient light in the evening.  I teach how the best way to take pictures of food, controlling the light either in the studio or in your home. This week at home my wife said to me  " I am making marmalade do you want to take some pictures?" It was in the evening, and I had just settled down on the sofa. I reluctantly followed her into the kitchen and recognised the problem that many people have when photographing their food at home, in the kitchen at night. Lots of bright and harsh kitchen lights. I reduced  the lighting so only a single oven hood light illuminated the kitchen work top. The scene was dramatic and created lots of good deep shadows. Next I set my smart phone camera to a high ISO setting to try and avoid camera shake, and took some photos
Photo 1

 Photo 1, The marmalade was boiling merrily away in the preserving pan, but my problem was that steam was fogging my lens.  I experimented with  taking the picture quickly and changing my angle until I got my favourite shot.

Photo 2
Photo 2,  my wife stirred the mixture which inspired me to photograph  the orange peel on the the ladle, again different angles created a different light. I did not like too much mixture on the spoon so made sure my final picture had a the right amount.

Photo 3

Photo 3, the kitchen surface was  full of empty glass jars ready for filling and initially I wanted to get a shot of pouring the marmalade into the jars and tried different angles and variations. In the end I decided that the light direction and the angle of the ladle just wasn't working, on a shoot I would try a different position and set up to achieve the shot I wanted, but being an informal evening picture taking session it was  not appropriate so I re thought my idea and decided that a simple still life with the jars filled worked the best.

Photo 4

Photo 4, The next morning over breakfast I realised that sunlight was illuminating the amber coloured marmalade in the jar, I quickly got my phone out and positioned the jars so the that light was behind the stack bringing out the colour of the marmalade. It was a simple stack of jars and after experimenting with camera angles I decided that a simple tilted picture worked best.
So things to work out when photographing in kitchens at night.
1. Keep the lighting simple and position yourself to avoid and flare or ugly highlights
2. Experiment with camera angles and composition to create simple but strong photos
3. keep an open mind and  be ready when the sun is out.

Have fun with your photography

Friday, 20 January 2017

Online exhibition: Need and Status

After eighteen months study it feels a bit surreal that it has finished. An exhibition to complete the course. A series of still life photographs with food, raw ingredients and the odd live animal thrown in.
Link here
Called "Need and Status" the stuff we eat  to keep us alive or for pleasure.
Video of the exhibition and some picture examples of the show. 

Baked Beans



Thursday, 16 July 2015

Food Photography Training has gone international!

      An invitation to teach food photography in the beautiful city of Avignion, in the region of Provence, France. The team at Risotto & Co produce the best ready meal risotto's in recycled  and returnable glass jars.

The recipes are wonderful,  full of the flavours and taste you would expect from a talented French Chef using the best ingredients of Provence.
The seafood risotto was yummy!

I do not speak French so my wife and daughter were a bit concerned as they dropped me off at Gatwick.

Arrived late to a hot, summer  French airport. After a dramatic taxi ride into the city of Marseille my fast train took me to Avignon where Kate from Risotto & Co met me.

Being from New Zealand my host looked after me as I spent the day teaching her how to photograph the wonderful food developed and cooked by her husband Chef.

kate getting into the creative groove

The last time I was in Avignon , my wife(then girlfriend!) and I were asked by  Food and Travel magazine to photograph a food feature on the city. Armed with a list of restaurants and a copy of the magazine we raced around in three days covering around ten venues. We had some fun experiences the people of the city were al ways incredibly helpful and friendly. We met the Michelin starred who, without any pre arrangement was more than helpful and not only allowed me to photograph him but also cooked me a meal ! I wonder if our UK Michelin Chefs would be as welcoming to photographers turning up out of the blue for a foreign magazine?  Many fun adventures throughout our stay including a jaw opening moment one evening when my vegetarian wife was given for her "vegetarian" starter, mushrooms stuffed with meat! I was given my starter after saying I  eat anything, a vegetarian deep fried Courgette flowers! We swapped and thoroughly enjoyed.   A great city to wander  and lose yourself in the ancient walls and courtyards. Love it plan to return with family. Thanks to all the team at Risotto & Co wishing them every success with their very scrumptious food venture.

A very characterful customer! Had to photograph this  wonderful French lady

Exactly as I remember when my wife and I went to meet Christian Etienne nearly fifteen years ago!
Relaxing atmosphere washed down with the best Rose !
French Corsican with style

An evening of wandering the streets of the city. checking out a good and friendly restaurant to eat in. I chose
Opposite the Pope's Palace. I pointed at the set menu only recognising about two items in French. Wasn't disappointed, all washed down with some amazing Proven├žal Rose wine, marvellous!

Thursday, 22 January 2015

Why I Love Overhead Shots

For those who have been on one of my courses on food photography you know that I explain three basic camera angels to work with; side on, three quarters and overhead. I don't have a preference but the recent cookbook I worked allowed me to try the same recipes in two angles. the result? surprisingly I am liking the overhead shots more....! 


I think its because the overhead angle seems more "real" less contrived, The food seems to look modern and of the moment. Overhead the composition is more graphic, strong shapes in the arrangement.

So does the camera angle control how the food looks or does recipe control the best camera angle? To show how some shots work because of the camera angle have included two more from one angle only that works for me.

 This squid and fennel  recipe  is a  good example, three quarters looks lovely, the arrangement is has height and lots of texture...

 Shot again overhead it looks modern and eye catching, same props, same lighting but the result looks relaxed and less "worked" Any comments from past students ?

Tuesday, 20 January 2015

Beans NOT on toast

             I was brought up on beans on toast, (sometimes with some grated cheddar melted on top!) So to work on a cook book with great legume recipes by Vicky Jones was very exciting.

 Another beautiful cook book by the publishers RPS. A pleasure to work on. Wonderful food styling by Rosie Reynolds and gorgeous design by Barbara Zuniga

Fantastic  prop styling by Linda Berlin! A gorgeous colour palette keeping the images fresh and modern. Some bigger pics are now on my website

Wednesday, 7 January 2015

"And now the shipping news"

Being on board the P&O cruise liner Aurora was the ultimate treat to end 2014 on.

The Blackjack Table is now Open!

I didn't actually make to the casino card table but photographing in the ship's restaurants was, for me, as exciting!

A great team at P&O to work with in capturing a selection of the delicious food served to those lucky enough to enjoy the luxuries on board one of the worlds top Cruise ships.

Food stylist Jessica Mills  worked with the chefs at each of the three restaurants making sure the recipes were perfect for the camera.

The food was super stylish and the look was to be smart and

Sadly had to leave the ship at the end of the day, My dream of sitting at the captain's table will have to wait for another day...

Tuesday, 25 November 2014

Teaching day reflections

A great day of teaching on another workshop at on Saturday. As ever, a friendly and enthusiastic group of students hungry to learn how to photograph food. We looked at using studio lighting, creating different effects using simple techniques to get the best out of the food, raw and cooked. A fun day that went all too quickly, thanks to those taking part. New courses planned for the New Year.