On a moment’s notice, the prospect of sleeping in on a beautiful Saturday morning was once dashed, when I was required to do a food shoot. The food photography session was to be held at Silver Spoon Trattoria, a casual Italian restaurant located at Bandar Menjalara. This restaurant has been opened for the past 2-3 years.
I arrived at about 9.45 am to setup at a corner by the window. I only managed to start shooting after a 45 minute setup, as I was looking for the right spot. Unfortunately, the ideal and convenient spot happened to be right at the entrance to the food store room. We just had to compromise.
The first few items were cocktail drinks, shot simply on the restaurant’s dining table, against the backdrop of a similar colour/texture food store room’s door.
I was using a large transparent 5-in-1 2-metre giant reflector balanced on two C-Stands, through which I shot a monobloc at full power. All these shots were taken at between f/11 – f/16, 1/160 sec @ ISO 100.
On this shoot-thru reflector’s surface area, I strategically spread out some black coroplast to further shape, restrict and define the light’s edge on the sweet spot below. Basically, I was just blocking and goboing the light to help cast the rays at the right spot in the desired shapes of coverage.
For instance, the following image’s slices of lemons were a little burnt out.
Instead of cutting the light from above at the reflector’s surface by shuffling coroplast boards (which would have been ineffective), I simply hover a black card within inches of it to camera right, to “suck” light out of it. It was, photo-shopping on the fly, in the real world.
The lighting setup explained above could be clearly seen below.
A second gridded monobloc on barn doors was scrapping my background, only this time, a brick wall. This ray of light cutting through my frame at the rear added depth and “texture” to an otherwise dull and flat background.
The mentioned coroplast black boards shaped into a tight grid can be seen here below.
This affords me the flexibility of moving them around on a floating space above the set, without having to stick in any C-Stand extension arm to flag excessive light. However, as the above example of the lemon demonstrated, this close flagging was of course necessary at times. The cutting of light by floating these coroplast boards above helped define my universal scene. Further shaping is required by flagging in close.
Here’s the resulting picture from the setup above.
We were supposed to wrap up but the client decided to throw in some food dishes, and eventually, some pizzas as well. Here’s the behind-the-scene setup for the first dish and the resulting image, shot with a stepped up f/5.6 to maintain optimum depth of field, but yet, rendering the background blur enough for separation.
The rest of the dishes soon followed.
Finally, for the pizzas, the brief was to have a bird’s eye view of it. Hence, I had to make a small change to the setup. The central column of the tripod was realigned to enable a top-down shooting orientation. Everything else was maintained.
Here are the resulting images of the variety of pizza (some, not all I suppose) found at Silver Spoon Trattoria restaurant.
The rather gory salmon head resting on a bed of dill herbs was just something we finally decided to add. Not exactly necessary but still… It was a touch of uniqueness and something a little out of the ordinary. A little quirky, but interesting twist to a seafood pizza with slices of salmon and sprinkle of capers.