When I photograph in restaurants I sometimes shoot on a white background as it is often not practical to bring props like wooden backgrounds. Instead I photograph on white backgrounds and when I get back to the office, fix the backgrounds.
Most group shots are awful – the people may as well be fence posts riveted to the ground, wooden expressions, no energy. As a photographer I find my role is less and less about lighting and more and more about energising people, after all, with today’s cameras, anyone can light – right? Well, no, but you get what I mean.
This image was a three light set up – two off camera. I positioned the tall bearded chef in the background to block the exit as it was a deadspace and banned the chefs from looking at me, suggesting they look at the twirling romali instead.
In case you think the chefs are natural actors, here is the first photo from the day!
The Sydney Morning Herald wants food shots for an article. The writer names the dishes. But you don’t have the images. What to do? Pull out an iPhone and risk the SMH abandoning the article when it receives the less than ideal images?
Here are three shots of meals requested by the Herald – shot at award-winning nilgiri’s restaurant today.
A Punjab restaurant, the night before it opens, chaos, hopeful diners knocking on the door, staff unpacking boxes and I’m photographing meals for the website and mail outs.
I wander in the kitchen and see gorgeous shiny clean copper bowls, water jugs and pans; they become the backdrop to my images.
We move unsightly computer from stable and voila, the restaurant is ready to be photographed.
Realfood connection located in Camperdown is great cafe but how to convey this in photos?
The images below feature food whilst promoting the ambience and as always, include people to give it energy and reinforce the venue as popular.
Too many restauranteurs don’t give their diners a reason to return monthly.
Nilgiri’s restaurant does – with a different theme for its Sunday buffet every month.
Below are three posters I’ve designed for nilgiri’s. They are displayed on the website and also in frames located in the restaurant (internal advertising is free and effective).
Restauranteurs often want staff in photos but the staff aren’t being paid to be photographed. They are being paid to be rushed off their feet, the meat between the chef and the customers, and don’t always want to smile at a photographer who is blinding them with a flash.
So if you want staff to be in photos, make sure they are into smiling, no matter how busy they are.
This photo works well because the waitress is smiling, the food is visible, the ambient lighting is warm and inviting and there are happy diners in the background.
I was asked today by a prospective client if they should buy props for a restaurant shoot.
My answer was no, the restaurant will have enough props within it.
The images below were taken at Wooden Spoon Bar & Restaurant, Cremorne To only photograph food was to ignore the restaurant’s terrific ambience which was created in par by filling up wine glasses, placing candles and placing another meal w in the background (the previous food shot).
Too often restaurants have nothing but white china which may be economical but does it complement the dishes?
Restaurants want images of people enjoying themselves in their restaurant but they can’t afford models.
what should they do? I think they should abandon even thinking of wanting models unless they want their clients to be anorexic which is unlikely to help their bottom line.
Instead, restaurants should use real clients in real time thereby guaranteeing authenticity.