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Thread: Large Format Product & Food Photography Tips/Advice?

  1. #11

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    Re: Large Format Product & Food Photography Tips/Advice?

    Keep in mind, many food shots are not what they look like and many are inedible. Many foods would melt under the lights and the time required for the shoot. Ice cubes are acrylic. Ice cream is frequently mashed potatoes.

  2. #12

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    Re: Large Format Product & Food Photography Tips/Advice?

    Quote Originally Posted by Bob Salomon View Post
    Keep in mind, many food shots are not what they look like and many are inedible. Many foods would melt under the lights and the time required for the shoot. Ice cubes are acrylic. Ice cream is frequently mashed potatoes.
    True, but if the food is the clients product, there is some law that requires that it is the real food that is being represented in the ad...

    Many liberties are taken with the prep, like burning grill marks into items using red hot skewers, creating steam effects, darkening liquids etc...

    I spent 15 years assisting an "ethical" food photographer who went through great pains to make natural food look good, but oh, he had to be sooo anal retentive, like spending a half hour just arranging macaroni on a plate one by one... At least I had to set up the set and camera, or I would die a horrible death by boredom!!! ;-)

    Steve K

  3. #13

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    Re: Large Format Product & Food Photography Tips/Advice?

    Quote Originally Posted by LabRat View Post
    True, but if the food is the clients product, there is some law that requires that it is the real food that is being represented in the ad...

    Many liberties are taken with the prep, like burning grill marks into items using red hot skewers, creating steam effects, darkening liquids etc...

    I spent 15 years assisting an "ethical" food photographer who went through great pains to make natural food look good, but oh, he had to be sooo anal retentive, like spending a half hour just arranging macaroni on a plate one by one... At least I had to set up the set and camera, or I would die a horrible death by boredom!!! ;-)

    Steve K
    “Real food represented” does not mean that real food is actually used!

  4. #14

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    Re: Large Format Product & Food Photography Tips/Advice?

    Hey Steve, thanks for sharing this. I assume you assisted during the film era before digital took over the commercial food photography business? If so, did he shoot 4x5 or something else? If it was with film, I would love to know more.

    PS- I am still in the film "era"... never left...


    Quote Originally Posted by LabRat View Post
    True, but if the food is the clients product, there is some law that requires that it is the real food that is being represented in the ad...

    Many liberties are taken with the prep, like burning grill marks into items using red hot skewers, creating steam effects, darkening liquids etc...

    I spent 15 years assisting an "ethical" food photographer who went through great pains to make natural food look good, but oh, he had to be sooo anal retentive, like spending a half hour just arranging macaroni on a plate one by one... At least I had to set up the set and camera, or I would die a horrible death by boredom!!! ;-)

    Steve K

  5. #15

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    Re: Large Format Product & Food Photography Tips/Advice?

    Quote Originally Posted by LFLarry View Post
    Hey Steve, thanks for sharing this. I assume you assisted during the film era before digital took over the commercial food photography business? If so, did he shoot 4x5 or something else? If it was with film, I would love to know more.

    PS- I am still in the film "era"... never left...
    Yea film, with Sinar P 4X5 and some 8X10... Lenses from 150 to 420mm in DB mount... Mostly strobe softbox, but some spots direct sometimes... Lotsa polaroids!!! Most all Ektachrome...

    Bob, the clients food was real, but maybe doctored a bit, but a glass of wine nearby might be water, food color, and some soy sauce to darken, but the clients food was real... The only cheat I saw him do was with ice cream that was mushy looking, so he sent me to another source that had a perfect texture and the right "tear" when scooped or cut... ;-)

    Steve K

  6. #16

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    Re: Large Format Product & Food Photography Tips/Advice?

    Hi Steve, thanks for the extra info. That is super cool that you had this experience. My goal is to just have fun and improve over time. I will be starting off very simple with some fruit, maybe some pastries, and trying to learn more about food styling too. I will be using a large LED single light along with a large diffuser and some white and black foam board for fill and dead fill. I need this big undertaking to take my mind off my health issues, so I am really glad that I am all of this to look forward to.

    I am working on creating some simple food surfaces and backgrounds right now and then I will start creating some new images. I need to come up with a current method for previewing, but since polaroids are not an option anymore, I may have to think outside the box a little bit. I don't want to waste film until I get the composition and everything styled how I want it. My son has a Nikon DSLR that has a 4:5 aspect ratio option, so I may borrow that and use it as my polaroid so to speak. The only camera I own is the Linhof Technikardan and that is the way I like it. Thanks again and I am sure I will have more questions as I go.


    Quote Originally Posted by LabRat View Post
    Yea film, with Sinar P 4X5 and some 8X10... Lenses from 150 to 420mm in DB mount... Mostly strobe softbox, but some spots direct sometimes... Lotsa polaroids!!! Most all Ektachrome...

    Bob, the clients food was real, but maybe doctored a bit, but a glass of wine nearby might be water, food color, and some soy sauce to darken, but the clients food was real... The only cheat I saw him do was with ice cream that was mushy looking, so he sent me to another source that had a perfect texture and the right "tear" when scooped or cut... ;-)

    Steve K

  7. #17
    Eric Woodbury
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    Re: Large Format Product & Food Photography Tips/Advice?

    My father directed many food photographs in late sixties. On set was a photographer, a food artist/cook, and the art director. The studio had a full kitchen. I'd show up at day's end in hopes of something good, but as mentioned, the food was inedible except the candies and nuts. The ice cream was wrapped around dry ice. Too little and it melted; too much it would frost. Making food look edible is tough. No doubt there is a lot of post processing these days.

  8. #18

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    Re: Large Format Product & Food Photography Tips/Advice?

    You're welcome, but I have to admit it was not my favorite subject to shoot... (If you spent a week in a studio shooting chocolate, you came home reeking of candy, and didn't want to go near the stuff for a couple of months...) But a fine noble subject to shoot... But at least I came home with many bags of groceries from the fancy markets, and stuff that never went on the set!!! We ate well... ;-)

    I don't know a lot about prep, as we had some of the top food stylists in the kitchen, but as an assistant, I had to keep my eye on the food, as sometimes a beast of chicken would end up in the middle of a plate, and olives for eyes that looked like a face, so lesson learned that plate layout should be severely asymmetrical or its looking at you!!!

    Good luck with your health, and have fun shooting!!!

    Steve K

  9. #19

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    Re: Large Format Product & Food Photography Tips/Advice?

    Food or product Foto with view camera and color sheet film?

    How far does one want to go? All out image excellence or hobby tinker images?

    All out image excellence with color transparency film today is IMO.. not possible due to the realities of what IS available in the color transparency film support system and industry.

    Lighting, camera support, product table are more important than camera-lens.

    To do this at a high level means controlling any lighting required and this demands stable color temperature strobes with a LOT of power. This is required due to the apertures required coupled with light modifiers as required. Diffused curved product table allows lighting from the bottom as needed. Ideally a studio stand which is BIG, stable and easy to maneuver the camera as needed makes a BIG difference in easing of required camera position. Using a tripod with head could be more difficult than believed. Ideal camera for this type of work is a Sinar P with your choice of lens, typically 240mm (APO artar, APO ronar or similar) for 4x5.

    Then comes light color balance control. This means zeroing in the color transparency film processed by the E6 lab of choice using gray card test, lighting system with and without light modifiers and applying CC correction filters on camera or on lighting system as needed. This is essential as post color alteration of color transparency film is far less desirable. It is far preferable to get the color balance correct on the film for each sheet of film exposed. Back up aid that works well is a Minolta color meter III, does strobe and continuous light color temperature measurements with CC filter correction suggestions on the read-out.

    Hire a food stylist for anything with serious pay for work involved. They know all the tricks, rules and requirements if they are any good and can make a huge difference in how the resulting images will be.


    These are some of the basics from food and product Fotos made back in the day. For tinker-hobby food & product images, use the above as possible and as a guide only.



    Bernice

  10. #20

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    Re: Large Format Product & Food Photography Tips/Advice?

    This is the very basic beginnings of the Food Foto Fantasy-Illusion.
    https://www.bonappetit.com/entertain...e/food-styling

    Food imaging in still-video-film is a specialty illusion artist intended to create a mouth watering and emotionally appealing image specifically designed to
    impart desirability into the viewer's mind. It is much about marketing and getting their target audience to consume what is being marketed. The gulf between the ad
    image -vs- actual food item can be greater than remarkable.


    Bernice

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