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Thread: Restaurant/Lounge Photography!

  1. #1

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    Restaurant/Lounge Photography!

    Hi all...
    A friend of mine is a very accomplished website designer. He has to design a website for a famous 'Restaurant cum Lounge' in our city.
    So he & them want good photographs of the facilities. My friend has proposed me to take up this job. I am not very sure how to go about it. Zillions of questions I have on my mind.
    Are my equipments (read lenses) competent enough?
    What exactly would I need to click? Should I take the pictures when the facility is empty or when its totally crowded. I am so confused. I don't want to miss the opportunity & don't want to goof up their expectations at the same time.
    My friend knows very well that I haven't done this kind of assignment ever, but he likes other shots of mine & wants me to take this up (as a challenge.)
    HELP!
    List of the equipments I have is as under:-

  2. #2
    Moderator Donald's Avatar
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    Re: Restaurant/Lounge Photography!

    Sahil

    I think the one thing you haven't mentioned and is not on your list of equipment is - lighting.

    That's going to be the thing that makes or breaks the assignment. Others will be able to give you ideas about what sort of lighting set-up you might need for such a shoot.

  3. #3

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    Re: Restaurant/Lounge Photography!

    Hi Sahil,

    How professional a result are they expecting? Things like this can be quite deceptive -- as Donald alludes to, it's all about the lighting - and to CONTROL the light, one can literally end up needing 1/2 a truck of equipment - from several powerful studio heads to set the general lighting levels - Gels to adjust their temperature - a selection of speedlights to tweak the dark spots - to diffusers to soften and direct the light.

    If you're a member of www.kelbytraining.com (as we ALL should be!) then take a look at the Joe McNally video where he shoots Lighting for Environmental Portraits (the Irish Pub segment).

  4. #4

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    Re: Restaurant/Lounge Photography!

    Thanks Donald & Colin.

    Quote Originally Posted by Donald
    one thing you haven't mentioned and is not on your list of equipment is - lighting.
    None

    And Colin, I am not a member of Kelby's training programme
    BUT, I did have a look at Joe McNally's shots & yes, they have given me a good insight.

    I am hating myself for having to say no to both of these questions.

    But I am sure their expectation of professionalism won't be what you must be having in mind, but for my OWN sake I don't want them to be ordinary shots. I would want to show my creativity, my knowledge.
    Here is the link to their present website.
    Till now what I have thought of is,
    • visiting the place again & have a feel of it. (first time I went to the place I hated it. They didn't have Touberg & Bud )

    • To take most of the shots when the place is empty

    • Ask them to have a few young, good looking crowd who would not mind getting their pictures clicked for their promotion. (and would also co-operate in posing etc.)


    I hope I am not heaps of disappointment to you guys (as I don't have lighting equipment )

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    Re: Restaurant/Lounge Photography!

    You don't have to have all sorts of equipment, not everyone does - rent it. See who will pick up the cost as it won't be cheap. Go to a theatre lighting rental house and then a local good quality camera shop, and do what you need.

    Go for it.

  6. #6

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    Re: Restaurant/Lounge Photography!

    Thanks, Rob.
    I wish camera related equipment on rents were easy to find here
    But yea, I am definitely gonna give it a shot. A flash may be.
    PS:- I have no clue about how to use flash. It has some ISO settings
    Do they have to be matched with camera's ISO? (I am sure this is the silliest question ever asked on CiC )

  7. #7
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    Re: Restaurant/Lounge Photography!

    I will give a different spin on this one for you, Sahil. Reading your replies here, I'd say you're starting to get overwhelmed by this challenge. Personally I find this situation to be either a make or break for you. Sorry to sound negative but that's how I feel right now. I would probably recommend that you study the location and the way the restaurant works. Set up a system with the restaurant owner that you want to see the whole facility during the day and during the night. In that way, you can plan ahead and capitalize whether you really need to rent or you can do the job with what equipment you have. Usually, websites doesn't feature a lot of shots that are dark because it does not attract traffic so that's a good tip for you. You can shoot more shots during the day of which I think your camera and some of your lens can perform well. Without a definite plan of action, you can't project a sense of professionalism that any client looks for on a photographer. If you are shaky, the client can easily spot it and the trust and confidence in you is lost.

    On the practical side, let's say you already saw the resto's operation. Do your assignment - research on the web as to what and who are their competition and look if they have a website. See their marketing campaign shots. Next, pick and select which of these images appeal to you and make a record of these shots. Find out how many shots are needed and what shots are they. In that way, you can manage your time and resources as to what part of the resto should you take the shots and why. To go further, look at other businesses website (foreign and domestic to you) and collect images that works pretty well to showcase the business. It's not bad to copy their style. For me, those are just guides, YOU SHOULD PUT YOUR OWN SPIN ON YOUR IMAGES. Just use them as starting images then use your imagination as to how the shot should look like. On professional shoots, there is an art director to guide you. If on this assignment there is none, you're going to be both the art director and the photographer. So, now you see that a professional assignment is really a big task. That is why it is not bad for you to get paid if you can really deliver what they require. I hope your friend who recommended you knows the complexity of all of this and the time, effort, and dedication that you will put up on the job.

    It's not bad to grab opportunities when it comes, but be prepared to do your best when you're called for. So, remember: Study your plan of action, do a rundown of what you need based on your intended shots, PLAN YOUR SHOTS, and practice ahead before the deadline. Oh, before I forgot - If you don't believe in yourself that you can do this well, neither can your clients. Good luck, my friend. I wish you the best on this one.

  8. #8
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    Re: Restaurant/Lounge Photography!

    Hi Sahil,

    I'll leave the flash questions to those with experience.

    My suggestion, having looked at their current website, is to ask what they want to achieve - it may just be an update of the (many) photos there - maybe because they have decorated since the originals were taken.

    That said, if the website is being redesigned by your friend, he must know what they are aiming for with a 'refresh' or 'new look', it may need far less images than it has now, so start with him, since asking them might be seen as acceptance of the job.

    Might be worth finding out now if there is any forthcoming deadline (e.g. an anniversary of opening), you don't want to be finding out that too late

    Good luck,

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    Moderator Donald's Avatar
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    Re: Restaurant/Lounge Photography!

    Adding to what Willie has just said, I see from the the existing images on their website that there are areas of the restaurant that seem to have good natural light. Maybe think about concentrating the 'people dining' type shots in that area (remember that you could tell the owners that you want them or their staff to play the role of diners for you, rather than using real diners who are out top enjoy themselves and maybe don't want a photographer sticking a camera in their faces.

    I would totally agree with Willie. You really need to check out the place with a photographer's, rather than just as a visitor's eye. Have a good idea of what your shooting schedule is going to be before you start. Even write it down and present it to the client, using it to tell them what you need from them to help you. But get a good idea from them what impressions and thoughts they have in their head for the images they want to see. For example, is their image of a calm peaceful, romantic venue, or do they want to portray a loud, fast-action, lively place where only the coolest people get together.

    I still think it is very hard to see how you could do the shoot without one very good off-camera flash unit.
    Last edited by Donald; 29th August 2011 at 04:03 PM.

  10. #10

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    Re: Restaurant/Lounge Photography!

    Thanks a lot, Jiro.
    Thats what I needed. A reality check.
    I am getting overwhelmed. Yes!
    They hold parties on Wednesday, Saturdays & Sundays (nights). I had a word with their marketing manager & he has arranged a pass for Wednesday night for me.
    Since the time my friend has told me about this assignment I have been searching for various photographs on Flickr & 500px, with tags like lounge, bar, party, disco etc. & I have found some cool ideas. I have a li'l clear picture now.
    Yes, I will have to be the art director too.. But I so wanna take someone along. Don't know who. (my lady will get bored for sure)
    & as far as day & night time is concerned, I don't think there will be any difference. I don't 'think' there is any provision for natural light in there. But yea, now that you have mentioned, I will pay attention to it all the more.
    One thing I have thought of, no matter how much time I put in it, if the client doesn't look super excited with my work, I won't take any money, even if offered.
    Rest I am counting on D7000's high ISO performance & nifty-fifty's magic.

  11. #11

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    Re: Restaurant/Lounge Photography!

    Thanks, Dave & Donald.
    I was typing reply to Jiro's comment whilst yours were posted.
    Dave, yes I am yet to have a detailed discussion with my friend with what he wants. (The clients are definitely gonna welcome what he will offer them)
    And as far as deadlines are concerned I am planning the shoot this weekend.
    But things will be much much more clear once I, as Jiro & Donald have mentioned, see the place with photographer's eye on Wednesday.
    And yes Donald, I have strictly told the marketing guy that I would not want to take personalised pictures of guests. I would want their own people in the picture. Even I myself would never like cameras poking at me when I am out for a dinner or something. And he very nicely agreed to it. I have told him to arrange 'cool' looking youngsters, grown up family members for some shots.
    For the disc I plan to take mostly hazy pictures, with laser lights etc. setting up with mood.
    I will take their help to figure out a few people who would not mind their pics to be taken whilst dancing at the party.
    And off-camera flash unit!! I will hunt for one tomorrow.
    I don't wanna go in for a cheap $100-150 flash & can't really afford a more expensive one (thanks to the recent purchase of D7000)
    But will surely see if I can find one on rent.

    And again, You guys ROCK!

  12. #12
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    Re: Restaurant/Lounge Photography!

    I did not realize that there is a link to the client's business website. Personally I find the present website design to be too vague. I think even they does not know exactly what to emphasize about their business. I hope your friend would make it clean and simple and concentrate more on the emotional appeal of what people can expect from the restaurant experience. Trash the present shots, you can do better than that. I highly recommend 2 lenses that you definitely need: a 24-70mm f/2.8 and a macro 105mm for great product shots. The 24-70 can handle the venue shots then use your 50mm prime and the 105 to showcase details. You need a very good tripod for this assignment and a remote shutter release. Shoot at high ISO 1600 if needed. Your D7000 can handle that. Go for the ambience look with natural light by dragging your shutter. Add some blur on the disco shots by using 1/4 to 1/8 second shutter speed for dynamic shots.

    One thing I have thought of, no matter how much time I put in it, if the client doesn't look super excited with my work, I won't take any money, even if offered.
    As for this statement, you'd be on the losing end of the deal because even just now you are already putting your effort on the assignment. I wonder if your friend has anything to say about the budget for a photographers' fee since he is the one re-designing the website. That I would really want to know. A free photographer only kills his own opportunity to do business successfully.

    Dang it, I forgot that your D7000 is a DX body. I think your 18-55mm lens can handle the wide shots. It's just that the 24-70mm is tack sharp even at f/2.8 so you can take all the money shots with that but the problem is you can only go as wide as a 36mm on the lowest end.

    Sahil, you can get some nice website ideas and photos on these links:

    http://www.web3mantra.com/2011/08/16...-inspirations/

    http://webdesignledger.com/inspirati...to-inspire-you

    you can also google "best restaurants in nyc" and then click on each individual resto's website so you can pick and select the best images from each of them.
    Last edited by jiro; 29th August 2011 at 04:39 PM.

  13. #13

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    Re: Restaurant/Lounge Photography!

    Quote Originally Posted by Jiro
    Personally I find the present website design to be too vague.
    Yep! & yes my friend will definitely dazzle them.
    Jiro, I am not sure if I will be able to lay my hands on those exquisite lenses. I am still low on learning curve. Still fiddling with the basic lenses I have. Tomorrow I will explore market if camera accessories are available on rent. We don't really have that trend here (A business opportunity? )
    Yes, I have a tripod and a remote shutter release.

    A free photographer only kills his own opportunity to do business successfully.
    Point taken my lord!
    I quoted a fees to my friend. He said, it being my first assignment, its high. I said ok, we will re-do it. But if I will have some out of pocket expenses, like rented gears, I definitely will go for higher amount.

    Thanks for the insight again

  14. #14

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    Re: Restaurant/Lounge Photography!

    Quote Originally Posted by jiro View Post

    Dang it, I forgot that your D7000 is a DX body. I think your 18-55mm lens can handle the wide shots. It's just that the 24-70mm is tack sharp even at f/2.8 so you can take all the money shots with that but the problem is you can only go as wide as a 36mm on the lowest end.

    Sahil, you can get some nice website ideas and photos on these links:

    http://www.web3mantra.com/2011/08/16...-inspirations/

    http://webdesignledger.com/inspirati...to-inspire-you

    you can also google "best restaurants in nyc" and then click on each individual resto's website so you can pick and select the best images from each of them.
    Jiro, I don't know how I missed this text of yours. Did you put it later on?
    I am feeling embarrassed . Sorry.

    & yea I am counting on my 18-55 too. I know the results won't be as good as f/2.8 but I plan to take most of the shots with camera mounted on tripod.
    & thanks for the links too. They are helpful
    What worries me is taking shots of the food. I remember a video which was shared here on CiC & then I realised what all goes behind making those yummy food shots.

    Also, I don't really have a deadline. But I plan to take shots this weekend. IF things are not satisfactory I have next week too.

  15. #15
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    Re: Restaurant/Lounge Photography!

    Sahil,

    Like the others I've just had a quick peep at their website and the "gallery" therein. I'm sure you won't do any worse than the really bland and boring photographs they already have.

    I did a similar assignment for a friend about a year ago and had a really fun time doing it. I used a tripod set low on tables and managed to get some very nice shots of people enjoying themselves. Luckily all the diners had been prewarned as to my presence. I did a few of the interior in the early afternoon and luckily the light cooperated. Those shots, to me, were pretty lifeless but they were all used on the exterior of the menus.

    But where I had the most fun was in the kitchens, talking and taking portraits of the chefs and the other staff using my 50mm prime. Most of the keepers were used on the inside of the menus. I was and still am quite proud of 'em as it's quite a posh place.

    The only thing I would add is to try and keep an eye on your white balance. I know this can be sorted in ACR but I find it's better to look at a preview that's as close to the final image as possible.

    I hope you get a nice meal out of 'em as well as getting paid!
    Last edited by The Blue Boy; 30th August 2011 at 05:57 PM. Reason: 'cos I'm an idiot!

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    Re: Restaurant/Lounge Photography!

    Hope nobody read the above before I edited it! If anybody did, please reread as I've, erm, edited it.

  17. #17

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    Re: Restaurant/Lounge Photography!

    Quote Originally Posted by The Blue Boy View Post
    Hope nobody read the above before I edited it! If anybody did, please reread as I've, erm, edited it.
    I did, I did & I wept for 3-4 minutes... You are so ruthless

    Ha! Come on man.. It happens. If they start taking MY typos seriously, they would want to close down CiC.

    Thanks for those tips. I am sure they will be helpful. Possible for you to give me the link to the website of the restaurant you shot for?

  18. #18
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    Re: Restaurant/Lounge Photography!

    Sorry about that mate,

    I only did the menus as the pro they normally use was unavailable. They still use it.

    The restaurant was the Obsidian. They've got a few pics on flickr but they look as if they've been taken by the staff.

  19. #19

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    Re: Restaurant/Lounge Photography!

    They've got a few pics on flickr but they look as if they've been taken by the staff.
    Lol!
    But that site has proved helpful. I have found where things can go wrong. What all will be needed to be taken care of.
    The lounge I am gonna shoot at looks pretty much like this only.
    Thanks

  20. #20
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    Re: Restaurant/Lounge Photography!

    In the meantime, you can practice at home with different lighting levels, place settings, etc. Start out with candlelight and work your way up to incandescent or whatever is used in restaurants.

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