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

  1. #21
    Drew Wiley
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    Re: Large Format Product & Food Photography Tips/Advice?

    I've seen some very elaborate expensive setups in studios dedicated to food. But to shoot single plates straight down all you need is a large copy stand capable of holding a 4x5 with a right angle viewing back. Any decent carpenter could build a functional one if you don't own the official variety. Old vertical-column LF enlargers make excellent copystand devices if you alter them. I don't see many shots of a whole table of food taken straight down. Those are mostly done on an angle; so you'd wouldn't need anything special to do that.

  2. #22

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

    That is good to hear Drew. Thanks for sharing that info. I am definitely a newbie in regards to food photography, but I am really loving the complexity and challenges that are very different from doing landscapes for 30 years. It is a lot of fun to try new things and grow in a direction I never really considered before. It is humbling really fast, but I like that feeling.


    Quote Originally Posted by Drew Wiley View Post
    I know someone who has a sorta well or half-story setup, with the kitchen table and crew space, then a big Foba boom stand for sake of his Sinar cameras pointed straight down. The is a telescoping platform the cameraman works on via a 90 degree Sinar viewing back. The softboxes are underneath the platfom. It's adjacent to the kitchen, with another set or camera for that kind of angle. Expensive, but that's his speciality. I mention this because something analogous could be rigged up rather inexpensively for casual use.

  3. #23

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

    Hi Bernice, thank you very much for the detailed information.

    I am just starting out with food after 30 years of doing landscapes, so I have a lot to learn.

    I am doing this for myself, but my standards are as high as any client would ever be. I am not in any hurry, so I learn a little, make some images, make some mistakes, adjust, and then go again.

    I am already getting big lessons about the camera to subject distance, perspective control, exposure compensation, and control over depth of field too. This is a lot different than doing landscapes...

    I hope to improve over time and really just enjoy the work. I am not able to travel like I have in the past and so this is why I needed to find something to keep me engaged and learning something new.

    I recently acquired a couple of lenses that I haven't used yet, but I think will be well suited for this work. I have a Goerz Apochromat Artar F9 9.5 inch and a Nikon APO Nikkor 240mm F9. These should be razor-sharp, but require a lot of light with the F9 max aperture. My main camera is a Linhof Technicardan, but I also have a Sinar P 8x10 system with 5x7 and 4x5 reducing backs. If I need more than 20 inches of bellows extension that I have on the Linhof, I could use the Sinar P if it makes sense to do so, but it is pretty big!

    I develop all of my own films, so I don't have to wait for long periods for the film to come back from the lab. So far, I typically shoot a few sheets and then develop them right away.

    Thanks again and if you can think of anything else, please let me know.



    Quote Originally Posted by Bernice Loui View Post
    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

  4. #24

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

    Hey Drew, I had not thought about the copy stand route, but I own a Beseler Copy Stand that is based on the 45V-XL enlarger. It is very rigid and rated for cameras up to 16 lbs. All I need to do is get a right-angle viewing back, and I am set. My Linhof is less than half the weight requirement on the copy stand, so this should work for those special top-down images. I am really glad you mentioned this because I wasn't thinking along these lines!


    Quote Originally Posted by Drew Wiley View Post
    I've seen some very elaborate expensive setups in studios dedicated to food. But to shoot single plates straight down all you need is a large copy stand capable of holding a 4x5 with a right angle viewing back. Any decent carpenter could build a functional one if you don't own the official variety. Old vertical-column LF enlargers make excellent copystand devices if you alter them. I don't see many shots of a whole table of food taken straight down. Those are mostly done on an angle; so you'd wouldn't need anything special to do that.

  5. #25

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

    I should have mentioned the Foba boom with a Majestic head that could be pushed under the sawhorse mounted set to get up close and personal with the subject...

    The Sinar mirror on the rail in front of the lens was used often...

    Bernice, even with the Norman strobes, the color was perfect with neutral Ektachrome 6117, if the E6 lab was on top of its game, so no CC was needed, even on white backgrounds...

    Bon Appétit was the hot client, and like I was saying, real food made to look good, in other words, FOOD PORN!!! Thanks for sharing that article... :-)

    Most monorail cameras could be used, but when up close, focusing just using the back makes life much easier...
    The modular Sinars with the ability to add more bellows and certain accys fit right in to the shooting...

    I liked setting up and shooting hi-tek items better, with elements like metals and glass myself, but food was a challenge...

    Steve K

  6. #26

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

    What are your thoughts about the Sinar Symmar S 240mm f5.6 DB mount lens for food photos?

  7. #27
    Drew Wiley
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    Re: Large Format Product & Food Photography Tips/Advice?

    That lens sound fine because it will give you a little distance. The Symmar S is an older series with a good track record. It's not as contrasty as most newer multi-purpose plasmats. But it will be in a heavy no. 3 shutter, which needs good front standard support. The slightly shorter 210/5.6 Symmar S has a smaller shutter. Really, any modern general-purpose plasmat should be fine in that general focal length range. You can spend a lot more and get a tad better performance, but nobody will notice the difference unless you are intending to make huge enlargements. If this is for publication, the degree of magnification even for a cover shot is minor. But I think Bernice is a bit behind the times. If a lab can't keep it's E-6 process line consistent, I just wouldn't deal with them. You might need a few correction filters on hand if your softbox K temps aren't correct. But the days of needing cc corrections per film batch, as once indeed posted on each box of sheet film, are long long gone. Never trust these new LED lighting systems to be as advertised - they only factor in the color temp of the LED's themselves and not the effect of built-in diffusers etc. Some have variable color temp, which is nice, but due to the same problem I just described, ones advertised as daylight at the upper end never seems to reach that. And unit to unit even in the same model and brand probably won't match. So having a good color temp meter on hand to learn the truth is indeed important. The main problem with good ole hot lights is that they're hot, and some things melt etc. So they might be nice for making toast right at the time of the shot!

  8. #28

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

    Foba stand with the gear drive Majestic head worked GOOD with a Sinar P. Stable, easy to adjust and mobile. BIG studio space required, been there done this.

    The Foto social status three were Sinar, Foba, Bronocolor...

    Not much wrong with Norman strobes (they do not have the fraction of a f-stop adjustment like Elinchrome or Bronocolor) it is the flash tube that makes the difference. Once you're into over 2000 watt/sec strobes per head, the flash tubes are very similar in many ways. Later big flash tubes were UV coated to reduce the amount of UV emission. This did make a slight difference in color with direct strobe lighting, once a diffusor like a light box was used, the difference was not much if at all. Notable, diffusion fabric of a given light box diffuser can alter the strobe light's color temperature. This was adjusted out by CC filtering as needed.

    Kodak did mark the box with suggested CC correction per box. It as often OK, but wise to test and verify their suggested CC filter to be used. Distant memory comes up with 025 CC green as being most common marking on the Kodak Ektachrome box. As for CC color correction, just plain was not my style, the color had to be absolutely neutral for both white and black viewed with a 5000K light source.

    Thank for the trip down Foto memory lane.


    Bernice


    Quote Originally Posted by LabRat View Post
    I should have mentioned the Foba boom with a Majestic head that could be pushed under the sawhorse mounted set to get up close and personal with the subject...

    Bernice, even with the Norman strobes, the color was perfect with neutral Ektachrome 6117, if the E6 lab was on top of its game, so no CC was needed, even on white backgrounds...

    Steve K

  9. #29
    Pieter's Avatar
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    Re: Large Format Product & Food Photography Tips/Advice?

    Food photography is so much more than lenses and cameras--although for some specialties like pours, digital is hands-down easier. A food stylist is paramount, as is an expertise in lighting. Strobes are pretty much de rigueur since hot lights will eventually affect the food. Consistent color from LEDs can be questionable.

    When I art directed food photography for major clients, I would come to the set and stand-in plates of food, etc would be set up on the table or whatever surface was being used. By the time the shot was made, often you could hardly see the food (except from camera position) because of all the lights, flags, reflectors and fill cards surrounding it. Some as small as a quarter on little flexible arms, just to hit a small area. Not to mention things like adding steam and shine. Don't get me started on cheese pulls!

  10. #30
    Tin Can's Avatar
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    Re: Large Format Product & Food Photography Tips/Advice?

    No discussion of subliminals?

    Some examples here, if paged down.

    https://www.businessinsider.com/subliminal-ads-2011-5
    sin eater

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