Mmmmmm. I shot this hand held, the chopsticks in my left hand and the camera in my right. That it is sharp is a miracle. (I flipped the image to make the chopsticks right handed). Will probably tweak the background food a wee bit in photoshop to knock it back a little more.
You see, I was shooting it. And food photography is time consuming and fiddly. And making food look delicious often means strategically placing dollops of oil or other colourful stuff - in this case quite seriously hot (but very red) chili goo.
I was shooting at my client's place in Wimbledon. The area I had to work in was far from what I'd call ideal and I had to do some weird lighting set-ups to compensate for the conditions - daylight from the right, and diffused, filtered daylight coming through a fibreglass roof panel. I used my tungsten 250 watt lights, one through a white brolly and the other reflecting off a silver brolly. A nightmare white balance scenario. But it all somehow worked (thanks to Adobe Lightroom ;-).
Probably the finest spring roll I have ever had. I bit the end off to expose the ingredients. Danny the Chef uses his own combination of spices giving them a unique, delicious flavour.
I often fantasise about having a nice, big studio with a full kitchen set-up so I can properly do food photography - I like doing it, but never quite get the ideal conditions. I have shot in busy kitchens during lunchtime service - had the head chef and his line cooks all about ready to kill me - horrible lighting conditions too - far from ideal. I've shot dishes that were prepared for a tasting session - very irritating because as as soon as I'd arranged everything the bloody waiters descended on the dish. Three times.
So yes, a studio would be nice. But: I work with small businesses. They don't so much ask for me to take photographs as I suggest it. Their budgets are tiny so they'd never be able to afford a medium format studio shoot with stylists etc. But that doesn't stop me from wanting to give them original photography. I make my clients afford it by striking a deal with them that I can sell the images I shoot as stock photos, and charge the client a very affordable fee to cover some of the cost and for licencing to use the images. (Note to self: one day I will get round to making my proper, transactional stock library.)
I could of course, search one of the many microstock libraries and buy quite competently shot (sometimes) images but I never find precisely the image I need and apart from anything else, I like taking photographs. I also feel that the designs that have images I've specifically shot are more 'crafted' rather than 'assembled'. I feel better engaged with the work and more satisfied (should that be less unsatisfied?) with the end result.
As usual, I got a major buzz out of shooting yesterday. I love it. I love the way that even though I don't quite trust myself to deliver the results I want, I generally always do. But I am also beginning to feel massively hamstrung by my ancient gear. I get good results with it, yes, but could do so much more with the potential offered by the latest equipment. Its time for a major re-equipping exercise:
Canon L series F2.8 70-200mm IS
Canon L series 24 - 105mm IS
Canon L series 50mm F1.2 prime
Canon L series F1.2 85mm prime (scary bucks!!!!)
Canon 580 EX II flashgun
New portable lighting kit...undecided as to what brand lights combo at the moment.
Lots of other nifty things