The food paparazzi.
It's serendipitous that just as I'm writing this post about food photography, the LA Times publishes an article about the rise in diners taking photographs of their meals in restaurants.
Everyone, it seems, is taking pre-dinner snapshots. The article says:
Taking a cue from Twitter and Facebook cultures, serious foodies and casual consumers alike are using digital technology to document each bite, then sharing or swapping the pictures online.
Chefs call them the food paparazzi, and these days, no morsel is too minor.
"This is the game we all now play," chef and owner Ludo Lefebvre said through gritted teeth. "We cook, we smile -- and the people, they don't eat. They get their cameras."It's an interesting article, although I have to say that in my dining experiences with food bloggers, I've never seen anyone thrust a voice recorder in the direction of a waiter so they can capture the description of a dish! I agree that flash is intrusive and disturbs other diners, which is why I rarely, if ever, use it.
After a few quotes from several disgruntled chefs, the article continues:
Yet few chefs have banned such photography. A sluggish economy has made them wary of alienating customers. They also know the photos help generate free publicity, as does a positive buzz on social media networks.There is no doubt that food voyeurism is in vogue, and shows like Masterchef Australia are only feeding [quite literally] the frenzy. It also goes some way to explaining why Billy's photography workshop on the weekend was not made up entirely of food bloggers, but people genuinely interested in photographing their food.
There are food photos, and then there are food photos. It's not until you start taking them yourself that you realise how difficult a subject food can be.
Over the course of three hours, our class of fifteen students ran through a condensed look at the principles of photography, working in low-light situations, tips for post-processing, search engine optimisation (SEO) and protecting copyright.
Billy from A Table for Two
The class was held in the private dining room at Mumu Grill with a multi-course arrival of food providing sustenance and opportunities for practice...
Sicilian green olives
Hearing about Billy's approach to food photography was particuarly enlightening. He emphasised the need for your photos to tell a story and to reflect the mood of the occasion. Composition was also vital - follow the rule of thirds and get in close but not so close you lose a sense of place.
Jamon Serrano (15 months) on Catalan bread
Photography students (DSLRs are not necessary)
Grilled chorizo with eggplant relish
Demonstrating how to use Lightroom
The non-food bloggers were surprised by the amount ofpost-processing work required to tweak each image for publishing to the web. I often wonder whether readers realise that most food blog posts take 4-6 hours to edit and upload photos and write the accompanying text.
We were led through tips and tricks on both Photoshop and Lightroom, with Billy recommending that you adopt your own style so readers are able to quickly recognise them as yours.
Asparagus with toasted almonds
Duck fat potatoes
Everyone tucking into lunch
Fruit salad, gingerbread and mascarpone sandwich,
chocolate raspberry tart and brown sugar pavlova with pineapple
It wasn't until I came home and edited my photos that I realised how much I had learnt and how incremental changes can make a huge difference to your final photos.
And as iPhones and cameras both become more and more common, I'm expecting more and more food photos at a restaurant near you.
The next food photography workshop will be held on Sat 24 April but is already fully booked. To find out details of any upcoming workshops, contact Billy at A Table For Two.
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70 Alexander Street, Crows Nest, Sydney
Tel: +61 (02) 9460 6877
Open 7 days
Related Grab Your Fork posts:
MUMU Grill, Crows Nest (Feb10) and (Jul09)
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4/20/2010 04:09:00 am