Doyles Restaurant Watsons Bay

Doyles Restaurant at Watsons Bay wanted photography for its website. not just shots of food but of merchandise, its wine and its rooms. These are vastly different items to photograph. To photograph the merchandise, I took the items off-site and photographed them in my studio. For the food, I photographed it at the restaurant, working with the chef in the quieter time, from 2pm to 4pm. I photographed a new dish every ten minutes and styled the shots myself.  I had wanted the photograph the meals outside on the beach but this wasn’t possible as a 20 knot westerly was blasting the beach so I worked upstairs shooting at an angle to include the water as a background. fig salad scallops Then, the wine collection – Doyles has six own label wines – I took advantage of their weight and the afternoon sun so I shot them outside and positioned them so the sun shone through them. I also used two flashes to light the labels. The background is deliberate, an amazing location by the sea. wine bottles in sun Then to the rooms – I had spoken to the maitre d’ about when the afternoon lighting was best and he said 4.30pm so I set up my light and waited.

Finally, I photographed Doyles’ fish processing facility at Sydney Fish Markets – a wet environment, how to convey the freshness of the produce. I relied on the colour and geometry by shooting birds eye view of produce against a sea of ice.

How to photograph chefs in a restaurant

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.

how to photograph chefs in restaurant


In case you think the chefs are natural actors, here is the first photo from the day!

indian chefs posing in restaurant kitchen

Nilgiri’s Restaurant, St Leonards needed images in a hurry

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?

Call me!

Here are three shots of meals requested by the Herald – shot at award-winning nilgiri’s restaurant today.

Fenugreek-crusted lamb cutlets

Fenugreek-crusted lamb cutlets

Aloo gobhi

Aloo gobhi

chicken korma

chicken korma

The Red Clove Indian Restaurant, Seaforth

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.







How to encourage diners to return monthly, not every six months

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).

restaurant theme restaurant theme 81ChristieStreet

The Grounds, Alexandria – smiling staff

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.

The grounds, Alexandria

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.

Wooden Spoon Bar & Restaurant or why restauranteurs don’t need to buy props

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).

restaurant shot003restaurant shot002sydney restaurant photography