Saturday, October 25, 2008

I fancied a Chinese

Ha so! Yesterday I gorged on Chinese food. Probably some of the best I've ever tasted, despite the fact that it was cold and I'd done my best to bugger it up by adding various oils, ointments and salves.

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.

Mini spring rolls. Delish!

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 5dMk2
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

I wish.

1 comment:

  1. Okay, that's got me hungry now. Dim sum for lunch?