November 8, 2017

Shooting Food at MissHelen Music Restaurant


Shooting food plates can be a straight forward procedure for some, or become a quite complex task depending on what you want to accomplish.
Nowadays, everyone or almost everyone (as I'm not included) is with a smartphone in hand shooting food in restaurants transferring the image on social media. On the other hand when a restaurant wants to promote their dishes, chooses more sophisticated methods.

In this case the goal was to maintain the atmosphere of the place in the presentation of the dishes, avoiding harsh contrast backgrounds.
These are not gourmet dishes but not tavern plates either. This in between feeling was the most difficult part considering the color reflected from the hall. More than this, each dish had to be as close as to what the customer will see when actually served in contrast to most dishes photographed in a studio with plastic food.
Numerous tests were required, with different lighting approaches, in order to succeed a balance between desired and undesired reflections while keeping shades mild.

Some of the juicy models that have an active role in the menu are illustrated below for your taste!

Greek Peasant Salad
Classic Greek salad dish with some innovative accents.

Greek Peasant Salad
Camera: Canon EOS 7D
Lens: EF-S 60 Macro USM, Focal Length: 60mm (96mm)
ISO: 100, Exposure: 1/250 sec, Aperture: f/11

MissHelen Salad
Chef's salad with soft cheese and own sauce recipe.

MissHelen Chef's Salad
Camera: Canon EOS 7D
Lens: EF-S 60 Macro USM, Focal Length: 60mm (96mm)
ISO: 100, Exposure: 1/250 sec, Aperture: f/11

Filet Steak 
Big juicy grilled steak served with spicy and soft sauces.

Filet Steak
Camera: Canon EOS 7D
Lens: EF-S 60 Macro USM, Focal Length: 60mm (96mm)
ISO: 100, Exposure: 1/250 sec, Aperture: f/11

Pork Chop
Large pork chop with grilled veggies.

Pork Chop and grilled veggies
Camera: Canon EOS 7D
Lens: EF-S 60mm f/2.8 Macro USM, Focal Length: 60mm (96mm)
ISO: 100, Exposure: 1/200 sec, Aperture: f/11

Barbecue Sauce Spare Ribs
Pork spare ribs dipped in barbecue sauce.

Barbecue Sauce Spare Ribs
Camera: Canon EOS 7D
Lens: EF-S 60 mm f/2.8 Macro USM, Focal Length: 60mm (96mm)
ISO: 100, Exposure: 1/200 sec, Aperture: f/11



Chicken Filet Barbecue
Juicy grilled chicken filet with veggies.

Chicken Filet Barbecue
Camera: Canon EOS 7D
Lens: EF-S 60 mm f/.2.8 Macro USM, Focal Length: 60mm (96mm)
ISO: 100, Exposure: 1/200 sec, Aperture: f/11

Small Hot Sausage Rolls 
Spicy sausage and tasty cheese combination rolled in home made pastry.

Small Hot Sausage Rolls
Camera: Canon EOS 7D
Lens: EF-S 60 mm f/2.8 Macro USM, Focal Length: 60mm (96mm)
ISO: 100, Exposure: 1/200 sec, Aperture: f/11

Small Pastrami Pies
More spice and flavor with white cheese folded in home made pastry.

Small Pastrami Pies
Camera: Canon EOS 7D
Lens: EF-S 60 mm f/2.8 Macro USM, Focal Length: 60mm (96mm)
ISO: 100, Exposure: 1/200 sec, Aperture: f/11

Home made Baklava and Halvah
And finally some dessert. Baklava is home made pastry with nuts and sweet syrup fried in olive oil, while Halvah made of sesame, sugar and honey.

Home made Baklava and Halvah dessert
Camera: Canon EOS 7D
Lens: EF-S 60 mm f/2.8 Macro USM, Focal Length: 60mm (96mm)
ISO: 100, Exposure: 1/200 sec, Aperture: f/11

Behind The Scenes
As mentioned in the beginning various lighting solutions from various angles were tested, including soft-boxes, direct flash, bounced flash, starting from 4 flash units and decreasing finally to 2.

As shown below, the final setup included:
A solid Desmond DCF-432 Carbon Fiber Tripod, a prototype Sunwayfoto GH-Pro geared head, Sunwayfoto MFR-150S focusing rail, Canon EOS 7D with tack sharp EF-S 60 mm f/2.8 macro USM lens, finally two Canon Speedlites a 580EX II and a 430EX II with Flash Bounce diffusers.

Behind the scenes setup and lighting
Camera: Fujifilm X-M1
Lens: Fujinon 16-50 mm f/3.5-5.6 OIS ,
Focal Length: 16 mm (24 mm in 35mm equivalent)
ISO: 800, Exposure: 0.909 sec, Aperture: f/5.6

If by the way, the photos succeeded to open your appetite, then I have had a successful session.

Thank you for viewing.
All photos © 2017 S.C.Vlachos
All Photos were shot in RAW and post processed in Canon's DPP (Digital Photo Professional).
No other photo manipulation than minor light balancing and color saturation.

Reference Articles:
Desmond DCF-432 Carbon Fiber Traveller Tripod Review
Sunwayfoto GH-Pro Geared Head Announcement
Sunwayfoto MFR-150S Wormdrive Macro Focusing Rail with Screw Knob Clamp
Canon EF-S 60 mm f/2.8 Macro USM Reference
Canon EOS 7D Reference
Canon Speedlite 580EX II Reference
Canon Speedlite 430EX II Reference
Canon Speedlite Transmitter ST-E2 Reference

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