A taste for travel…

PHOTOGRAPHING FOOD ON LOCATION

On many of my travel & location lifestyle commissions I get to shoot some wonderful chef creations. Understanding how to work the natural light, and styling on the spot is a great asset. My background as previously an Art Editor has served me very well when sent off on a commission alone, never knowing what I will find at a location and then make the most of it. Here I recall some of the images I have captured…

JW Marriott Hotel, Venice

This beautifully presented Panna cotta above I photographed when on assignment for Conde Nast at the JW Marriott Resort in Venice earlier this year that appeared in their July issue of Traveller. With a quick glance around I placing and turning the dessert in a lovely softly diffused light area of the restaurant. Then I tweaked how I wanted the papery leaves to fall for nice shapes and so that the light shone through them. The final touches were adding the spoon on an angle and placing the potted herb just into the top of the shot with a very soft aperture to create some interest and sense of being on a real table setting and not in a studio. These seemingly little details I love to play with.

Pescheria San Pietro, Florence, Italy

Above is a wonderfully fresh seafood platter I shot in Italy. I decided it worked best from an aerial perspective. I like the main circular shape clipped off on the left side. I placed in the natural muslim fabric napkin to soften the shapes. Then I positioned other circular shapes of the glasses, in top left each partly filled, which along with the fork was a conscious decision to capture a feeling that I had just casually grabbed my image as someone was enjoying this lunch. Two empty glasses would have looked wrong. Plus, always enjoyable to sip some of the wine to achieve exactly the right amount I want visually in the image : )

JW Marriott Hotel, Venice

Great restaurants always present such attractive food, but when photographing reportage style, I like to add my own touches such as above a little bit of the food spilling onto a fork, and twisting around the clam shells to capture different shapes and textures – a glimpse of the shells’ exterior colors and pattern, and at same time the soft edible centre. Once happy with the fine tuning I then explore different angles to frame the shot, and how close to come in on the dish.

SOME TRICKY LOCATION LIGHTING – Interior locations can offer tricky light for shooting food & drink, such as hard light pouring through windows into a darker interior or too many different artificial light sources. But I try to play to what I visualize working with the quality of the object I am shooting and what available light I can find at the time.

The image below I shot in a wonderful cocktail bar interior lit by day with only a very low light spilling in from just one small exterior window, but it worked well as a very directional backlight to shine through the cocktails, which ‘lifted’ them against the dark upholstery and created sparkle.

JK Place & Cocktail Lounge, Florence, italy

Below, Natural light spilling in through frosted window out of shot, on the righthand side. The rich textures of the furniture, and placing a black area in the background helped ‘lift’ the brightly coloured cocktails in the foreground.

Dublin

I really enjoyed my shoot to The Pump Street Bakery in Orford, Suffolk for Country Living Magazine – spotting the quality of the harder sunny light shining through the cafe window and their wonderful clear glass teapots, combined with extra luminosity it gave the gilded vintage cup and saucer with delicately tinted herbal tea I pushed them further into the pool of light to capture this image, which I hope does emulate a true sense of what it was like to sit there sipping lightly fragrant tea with sunlight on your face.

The Pump Street Bakery

Below: The bakery sold their own delicious cakes but the counter area was lit by vintage light bulbs. As food is best shot in daylight the solution was to move them, still on their glass stands to a window on the other side of the room with a much softer natural light than the image above, so as to remove any moody shadows. If you can not find such an ideal softer light then you can always use a diffuser to place in front of a window to create this light as it passes through its fabric.

The Pump Street BakeryThe Pump Street Bakery

TIME LAPSE – Some times after I have photographed first the complete dish I like to deconstruct the food, slowly breaking into it with a fork or spoon until there is just a smear of sauce and that one final mouthwatering piece left to savor…

Lydia Evans wedding pudding

Lydia Evans wedding pudding 2

Lydia Evans wedding pudding 3

Lydia Evans wedding pudding 4

FOOD MARKET CLOSE-UPS – There are so many great graphic shapes and textures to photographing food in street markets around the world, from Istanbul to right here in London Borough market…

Pomegranates, Istanbul

Street Food on Istiklal Caddesi, Taksim, Istanbul

Simitci bread roll, Istanbul

Insight City Guides, London

Insight City Guides, London

Insight City Guides, London

ON A FINAL NOTE… just take one cupcake… This is one of the simplest but favorite shots of mine taken in a cafe in Stoke Newington Church Street, London to represent in just one shot: the feel for the interior, its vintage mismatching crockery and yummy cakes.

The Tea Room, Stoke Newington Church Street

The Tea Room, Stoke Newington Church Street

 

 

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A road trip to Suffolk and beyond…

It was great to be invited by Country Living magazine to photograph one of their first ‘Dream Business’ features. I could not have asked for a better visually beautiful business to shoot than ‘The Pump Street Bakery’ in Orford, Suffolk, (Issue February 2013). They are the winners of BBC Food Awards – Best Food Producer 2012. I was blessed to have a bright Autumn day for my shoot and thought I would share some of the images I like to wet your appetite…

The Pump Street Bakery  The Pump Street Bakery The Pump Street Bakery

The Pump Street Bakery CL_PumpStreetBakery_LR-1090 The Pump Street Bakery The Pump Street Bakery

The Pump Street Bakery

The Pump Street Bakery

The Pump Street Bakery

The Pump Street Bakery The Pump Street Bakery-758

The Pump Street Bakery The Pump Street Bakery The Pump Street Bakery The Pump Street Bakery

I arrived at 6am after a VERY early start driving out of North West London. These guys though had been there from about 2.30am! They held back some of the product for my arrival but very rapid photographing was required as rising dough needed to be put in and out ovens with specific timings. I dashed between floors in the bakery photographing pastries on the ground level and breads on the first floor. I grabbed sips of a freshly made coffee and did not say no to a freshly cooked doughnut straight out of the machine whilst at the same time re-setting up my tripod in different spots around the busy workers. There was just so much that caught my eye to shoot.

Once Cedric Citroen, (the mobile bread shop) was loaded up, we took a short trip down a country lane into Orford itself to the shop and cafe. The staff were so friendly and very patient as I had to pick my way around customers and cake stands fully of wonderful crafted eccles and a variety of pastries to get my shots.

THANK YOU! to all there that day. For my wonderful homemade soup, the interesting conversation exchanged with locals and accommodating my efforts to do a good job. Cheers!

Country Living Feature Feb 2013

http://pumpstreetbakery.com

@pumpstreetbakery

Chelsea Flower Show 2012… here I come!

Yippee! Another year I have the great honor to be going to the RHS Chelsea Flower show. Hopefully lots of good pictures to be taken for placing with my picture library client, GAP Photos. Last year was great weather, for a change. So let’s hope it will be a dry day this coming Monday.

Here are a few images I took last year

Image  Image

Image   Image

The Times Destination Show

A big thank you to all of those that came to the Travel photography talks this past weekend. I am sure you were entertained by Paul Goldstein of Exodus travel, and that some of the pointers I gave will be of use. I hope the selection of images will also inspire. It was all the more fun for me to swop travel adventure stories with Doug McKinlay, about the highs and lows of a travel photographer, and the trickier moments we have found ourselves in whilst pursuing that next best image. We laugh at those near mishaps now, as we live to tell the tale. Thanks to Rough Guides, Time out, Conde Nast Traveller, Insight Berlitz and Thames and Hudson for sending me to some wonderful places. I always am looking forward to the next adventure.

Check out my small slide show posted here, 20/01/2012