Monday, 27 August 2012

Food in Focus – Could I be a Food Photographer?


But could I have a lot of fun learning what it is that food photographers do?

Yes.  Especially when Ruth Pretty is cooking the food and I get to eat it!

I had chosen to do the Food in Sharp Focus event as part of Wellington on a Plate – hosted by Ruth Pretty, with guidance from professional photographer and tutor Murray Lloyd.  I thought that I might learn a bit about taking photos for the blog, and have the added bonus of trying some of Ruth’s fantastic food.

Our day started at 9.00am with coffee, a selection of perfectly ripe cheeses, crisp kiwifruit salad, and delicious peach and raspberry pastries.  We settled in with our classmates, sharing stories about the combination of food and photography that brought us together.

Ruth and Murray arrived and, using the peach and raspberry pastries, talked us through the process of photographing food – from choosing the background colour/fabrics and the plate or dish, to the arrangement of the food, the lighting and the careful placement of a fork.  It was an incredibly informative two hours, with plenty of opportunities for questions.  We rounded out our introduction with a slide show of food shots, showing the different ways that food can be highlighted by the use of colour, composition and lighting.

Then we got hands-on – three different “pass-arounds”, an assortment of plates, backgrounds, fabrics and Ruth Pretty’s gardens to use for our own attempts…
Chicken and Pistachio Pies with Cranberry Chutney
The allocated 30 minutes was far too short to do justice to the food!  Although I have to say that many of the attendees turned out fantastic photos, so I can only accept operator incompetence on my part.  Happily, we then had to eat the photography subjects, with a drop of bubbly to assist.  Murray chose a selection of photos after each session, and talked us through the successful aspects of our shots.

Next up, was Cold Poached Salmon with Ginger Coriander Dressing and Black Beans.  Yum.  Here, I had a little more success (I think).

I’m not sharing my very much less successful photo of the Oven Braised Pork Shoulder with Cavalo Nero, Apricots and Prunes, as it doesn’t do justice to a spectacularly successful dish.  Along with the salmon, this is definitely on my list of things to cook as soon as possible. Other photographers did manage to take a good photo.

We finished with Baked Rhubarb and Rose Geranium Compote with Little Pavlovas, Whipped Cream and Brandy Snap Cigars.
The verdict?  It was a great day – I learnt a lot about food photography, including how time consuming it is, if you aspire to the perfect photo.  This blog may benefit from some improved composition, but as my first audience is usually sitting at the table waiting while I photograph, it will have to be done in 5 minutes or less!

1 comment:

Lara A said...

Heh, heh....
Murray Lloyd took our wedding photos at Ruth Pretty's many years ago. We have fantastic photos of the food, the wine, the flowers and even some of us! While I hadn't really thought about "food photos" as an essential part of a wedding album, when I look back now, they provide a real reminder of what a fantastic day it was all around!