A VIS­UAL FEAST

New Zealand D-Photo - - GEARDUCATED | LEON ROSE -

Leon Rose has worked on dream food as­sign­ments for the likes of My Food Bag. He talks us through how to shoot a gourmet dish — best if you don’t read this on an empty stom­ach

The cur­rent trend in food pho­tog­ra­phy, for quite some time now, has been to use nat­u­ral light as a back­light or side­light and fill in the shad­ows. Your nice big north-fac­ing win­dow at home cou­pled with some diffusion and some white card can give you a very sat­is­fac­tory re­sult. This light­ing works re­ally well in most sit­u­a­tions, and could also be eas­ily staged us­ing LED SoftPanels. In fact, th­ese pan­els (if pur­chased as a pre­mium pack) come with a very ver­sa­tile soft box that would work a treat as the back­light.

How­ever, here, I de­cided to go for a more gourmet look, us­ing the F&V Ul­traColor Z800S and Z400S BiColor LED panel lights and the hon­ey­comb grid at­tach­ments that clip eas­ily onto the pan­els, for more of a hard-spot ef­fect. I wanted to give the feel­ing of a dish that was in front of you if you were din­ing at a dimly lit high-end restau­rant. I also cheated a lit­tle bit by pulling out a Lume Cube (see last is­sue’s Gear­d­u­cated ar­ti­cle) and pop­ping in some ex­tra high­lights. Food pho­tog­ra­phy, like al­most ev­ery other genre of com­mer­cial pho­tog­ra­phy, is a team ef­fort. And, un­less you are a trained chef or a very tal­ented cook, you will need to use a food stylist. In this case, I asked a friend of mine, the very tal­ented Ary Har­land (who I have had the plea­sure of work­ing with dur­ing my con­tract for My Food Bag), to come up with a cou­ple of dishes for us to shoot. We met on a Sun­day at my house and kicked my fam­ily out so we could get stuck in. I also needed to find some cut­lery and crock­ery to suit, so I spoke to an­other good friend and col­league, Me­gan Har­ri­son Turner, and she kindly let me raid her prop store.

Ary came up with two beau­ti­ful dishes — the first, a pesto pasta, and, the sec­ond, a lamb shank — both hearty win­ter warm­ers. I had briefed Ary that we would be shoot­ing dark and moody and to be sure to add a pop of colour into his styling. I kept the prop styling min­i­mal and mono­tone to al­low for the colours to dom­i­nate the im­ages. It is im­por­tant to high­light the dish and not over-prop, which can take the fo­cus away from the dish. Us­ing dif­fer­ent tex­tures is a good way to add sub­tle in­ter­est. I did this with tiled place­mats, fab­ric nap­kins, and by us­ing my lights to high­light the plate edges. To give the restau­rant feel, I added a glass of wine to both of the wide im­ages, and a lit­tle kava bowl of rock salt, and I kept the cut­lery dark to blend into the im­age. The most im­pres­sive part of F&V’s Z-Se­ries of LED lights is that you have com­plete con­trol of the colour tem­per­a­ture, from day­light through to full tung­sten, us­ing the Kelvin scale. This al­lowed me to give the high tung­sten feel to my im­ages in-cam­era with­out the need to dial it in in post. In other sit­u­a­tions, you can match your key light to the rest of your frame with ease. There are two di­als at the back of the

panel that con­trol power out­put and colour tem­per­a­ture. You can run them off the mains us­ing the V-mount AC adapter and cable that come with the unit, or you can pur­chase the V-mount Li-ion bat­ter­ies sep­a­rately. On to the im­age cap­ture — macro lenses can be very help­ful in food pho­tog­ra­phy, al­low­ing you to get in and re­ally fo­cus on the tex­tures of the dish. The Sigma 105mm f/2.8 DG Macro OS was a great com­pan­ion; it’s a sharp lens, and, in com­par­i­son to other lenses in my kit, cap­tures the shadow de­tail much bet­ter. It’s also nicely weighted (not as heavy as the Art-se­ries lenses), mak­ing it very easy to shoot with hand­held. It has three switches on the lens: fo­cus lim­iter, Op­ti­cal Sta­bi­liza­tion (OS) –mode se­lec­tor, and aut­o­fo­cus–man­ual fo­cus (AF-MF) switcher, with the fo­cus lim­iter be­ing a three-way switch that en­ables AF range limit. You can select be­tween full AF range, 0.45m to in­fin­ity, or 0.312 to 0.45m, de­pend­ing on what you’re shoot­ing. The process of cap­tur­ing each dish started with a wide shot, show­ing the dish in its en­vi­ron­ment, fol­lowed by tighter im­ages fo­cus­ing on tex­ture and colour. I found that when I went in tight, hand-hold­ing the lens, it was very re­spon­sive. It fo­cused quickly and ef­fi­ciently and didn’t hunt at all. In­ter­est­ingly, this lens comes with two lens hoods — one for a cropped-sen­sor cam­era, and one for a full-sen­sor. Lens hoods are a very im­por­tant ac­ces­sory for a lens, and it sur­prises me how of­ten I see peo­ple shoot­ing with­out them. Light flares can come from all di­rec­tions and light sources, and the lens hood is your first bar­rier in com­bat­ting them. All in all, it’s a good op­tion if you are think­ing about get­ting a fast macro lens at a mid-range price. Get stuck in to shoot­ing food; it can be a lot of fun and will give you plenty of chal­lenges — but the best part is that you’ll get to eat it at the end.

1

2

IM­AGE 1 CANON EOS 5D MARK III, SIGMA 105MM F/2.8 EX DG MACRO LENS, 105MM, 1/60S, F/5.6, ISO 800 IM­AGE 2 CANON EOS 5D MARK III, SIGMA 105MM F/2.8 EX DG MACRO LENS, 105MM, 1/60S, F/5.6, ISO 800 IM­AGE 3 CANON EOS 5D MARK III, SIGMA 105MM F/2.8 EX DG MACRO LENS, 105MM, 1/40S, F/8, ISO 800

3

4

6

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from New Zealand

© PressReader. All rights reserved.