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Thread: Help with Food Photography

  1. #1
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    Evelyn Mason

    Help with Food Photography

    I have an opportunity to photograph a restaurant, chefs and food during a fast paced service. Need help with lens choice, I have a canon 7d considering buying a EF 100mm F 2.8 USM or should I use my EF 50mm F1.8? Also need a speedlite and are wondering if the Orbis light ring could be beneficial. Not able to use tripod or addt'l lightening as the restaurant will be busy and crazy. The kitchen fairly well lit but the restaurant is trendy Italian inspired, it's dark with candles, light fixtures with flames, brick pizza ovens, lots of exotic wood paneling, rustic decor, and a slate floor. Any help would be most appreciated, Thanks Ev~

    Also have the EF 70-200mm F2.8 L

  2. #2

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    Allan Short

    Re: Help with Food Photography

    Evelyn: you state that it will be busy, and I will assume tight for space in the kitchen. I would suggest that you rent the 16-35mm f/2.8L II and play with it for a couple of days. I would shoot at ISO 3200 and f/16 this will give you good depth of field as it will be tight and crazy in the kitchen however it all depends on the light. A mounted flash with a small diffuser such as a LumiQuest Soft box to soften the light for about $35.00 as you want of just add some fill light or the on camera flash with something on it to diffuse and soften the light. Remember a f/1.8 has only a very razor thin are of focus that is why I suggest that you up the ISO and the lens gets wider you can hand hold at slower speeds, because you camera is a C-crop remember that a 24mm reading is really approx. 38mm on a full frame camera. I would suggest shooting at 17MM which would be about 28mm on a FF camera which should help with keeping everything in focus.
    Strongly suggest that you practice with both the lens and flash before you go and do this as you are a new member and I am not sure of your experience at this point of time.
    Good luck

    Cheers:

    Allan

    I am sure other will be able to provide better information

  3. #3
    rpcrowe's Avatar
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    Re: Help with Food Photography

    As an aside, I strongly recommend shooting in RAW... RAW has many benefits that impact, exposure, color balance, vibrance, and other facets of an image. These, especially color balance, can very important in food photography.

    However, another facet of CAMERA RAW is the lens corrections group. That group will allow you to easily correct a lot of distortions that can appear when not shooting with tilt-shift lenses. These distortions may often impact a food image...

  4. #4
    Administrator Manfred M's Avatar
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    Re: Help with Food Photography

    I have an Orbis ring flash and like using it as a fill light for some portraiture work when I use small flash. It give a very nice, soft light; but it requires two hands to operate. You need to hold the camera in one hand and the ring flash in the other, with the camera lens poking through the hole in the Orbis. Like any other light modifier; the softness of the light is dependent on the distance from your subject, so closer is better.

    It give you nice soft light and doesn't delivery the harsh shadows that direct on camera or even off camera flash give you. It's not a look everyone likes, but might be worth considering. It would be a lot easier that trying to work with a softbox under those shooting conditions. The only downside is that the flash and Orbis are held together by a friction fit, so the setup comes apart fairly easily.

  5. #5
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    Re: Help with Food Photography

    Quote Originally Posted by Polar01 View Post
    Evelyn: you state that it will be busy, and I will assume tight for space in the kitchen. I would suggest that you rent the 16-35mm f/2.8L II and play with it for a couple of days. I would shoot at ISO 3200 and f/16 this will give you good depth of field as it will be tight and crazy in the kitchen however it all depends on the light. A mounted flash with a small diffuser such as a LumiQuest Soft box to soften the light for about $35.00 as you want of just add some fill light or the on camera flash with something on it to diffuse and soften the light. Remember a f/1.8 has only a very razor thin are of focus that is why I suggest that you up the ISO and the lens gets wider you can hand hold at slower speeds, because you camera is a C-crop remember that a 24mm reading is really approx. 38mm on a full frame camera. I would suggest shooting at 17MM which would be about 28mm on a FF camera which should help with keeping everything in focus.
    Strongly suggest that you practice with both the lens and flash before you go and do this as you are a new member and I am not sure of your experience at this point of time.
    Good luck

    Cheers:

    Allan

    I am sure other will be able to provide better information
    Thanks Allan! I have no experience with food photography so I appreciate the suggestions. Luckily, my son is the Chef, he is encouraging me to do this because he understands my passion for photography. I'd like to make him proud, but he does understand I'm just learning. With your great advice and the help of others I think I can do this.

  6. #6
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    Re: Help with Food Photography

    Thank you! I will

  7. #7
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    Re: Help with Food Photography

    I glad you responded, I think I'll hold off on the Orbis for now. When I was researching the Orbis, someone mentioned they used a rubber band to secure the Orbis arm to their camera, perhaps that trick will work for you.

  8. #8
    Administrator Manfred M's Avatar
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    Re: Help with Food Photography

    Quote Originally Posted by Evelyn Bird Photographer View Post
    I glad you responded, I think I'll hold off on the Orbis for now. When I was researching the Orbis, someone mentioned they used a rubber band to secure the Orbis arm to their camera, perhaps that trick will work for you.
    Frankly, that is something I would not do. I do have the mount bracket, but find it awkward to use. Anything that applied enough force to keep the Orbis / flash in place would be large enough to damage something.

  9. #9
    PRSearls's Avatar
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    Re: Help with Food Photography

    I'm not a food photographer but have studied the lighting used in many food advertisements. Nearly all used side-lighting or back-lighting to show an appetizing texture and form. Fill light was used to lighten the shadows. These ads were likely all studio shots so what you can get "on-the-fly" (no pun intended) may limit your lighting setup. But this is something to consider if possible. Many also use a shallow depth of field to focus your attention on the product (or part of it) and still keep it in context with background elements that suggests the mood or message the advertising director wants. Good luck.

    Paul S

  10. #10
    rpcrowe's Avatar
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    Re: Help with Food Photography

    Actually much professional food photography is done in a studio/kitchen/dining room setup. To be able to bring the food hot off the stove or out of the oven.

    Also, much professional food photography is faked a bit such as using brown liquid shoe polish to simulate the sears from broiling a steak, using a solid shortening like Crisco to simulate ice cream (it doesn't melt at room temperature), using plastic ice cubes and using flat cola instead of coffee. Apparently the cola looks better than coffee when photographed. I have never tried it; nor will I spoil a steak by painting sear marks with shoe polish. But, I am not making money shooting food...

    Some purists who shutter at editing or retouching a photo must be gyrating in anger regarding the faking of food....

    Do a Google search on food photography for links to many sites with information and tips. However, I prefer to eat my food rather than photograph it; as my ample belly indicates!

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