So recently I worked with one of my commercial clients Victoria Gate Casino, on their new spring food menu. Thankfully it’s gone live in the last few days so I’m now able to share with you some of their new creations!
It’s always a pleasure photographing the food here as their food and beverage crew are super creative and also really easy to work with on set.
I’ve mentioned before in previous posts about my food photograph setups so will be brief and explain that while most of the time, a beautiful large window can give gorgeous directional light, the casino restaurant has a much more atmospheric lighting to it, which means getting creative!
I opted for several of my Elinchrom D-lite 4’s – super versatile, built in triggers and an on camera control trigger meaning I’ve got full flexibility without having to move a muscle. I set one up with a large 80″ soft box, the other with a relatively small beauty dish. Doing this allows me to control the general ambient light levels and to highlight the key features and separate the dish from the background. Occasionally I’ll add in white/black boards to control spill and drop off.
I say to all my food clients, preparation is absolutely key. When a dish is served, you have realistically just a few minutes in order to ascertain the best composition, arrange the dish in situ with the appropriate condiments and accompaniments and then shoot it well enough to have a good variety of different shots to provide to the client. Then repeat as many times as there are dishes! Without deft planning and organisation and a cracking team to work with, large menu shoots can very easily run into timing frustrations, so it’s absolutely imperative to not only be ready to shoot the dish coming out but also be prepared for the next five that are due. It’s also important to know which meats suit red or white wine and to keep up to date with the latest trends so that you’re able to plan which accompaniments will be perfect to make your client’s food jump off the page to their customers.
As with any of my food shoots, props are so, so important. I’ve got spray bottles of iced water (for condensation on cold beverages) a dish of olive oil and a soft brush (to keep a glaze shining), cocktail sticks to move and prop items up without using my fingers, blue roll to wipe things down and keep things perfectly clean, ice water to keep herbs fresh, and the list goes on!
Hopefully, all of this organisation will mean that when the food is ready to be photographed, you’re ready to receive it. Oh, and don’t forget, once it’s passed the photography test, it has to pass the taste test! Since I tend to do behind the scenes shooting for social media, it’s pretty much guaranteed that some of my followers will be asking how the food tastes and which dishes were my favourite, especially as everyone that knows me knows how much I enjoy good food. Therefore the unwritten rule was born that meals photographed are meals tasted by the team. It also allows for me to chat directly with the chefs and management staff about their menu choices and what food is likely to be big in the coming seasons so I can prepare for my next assignments.
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