Blood and Sand Part 2 | The Complete Guide To Editorial Food Photography

Blood and Sand Part 2 | The Complete Guide To Editorial Food Photography

(electronic music) – Chef just brought this guy out. I’m gonna start to frame it up and see what I like in
terms of composition. This is very different from
what I was anticipating but I actually really like it. I think this is a very unusual dish. Okay right now what I’m doing is I’m taking a quick little look. I want to get my light kind of set and get everything in
perspective that I want. So right now I know that I’m not looking into the dish in the right way. I’m going to turn this guy and take a look at it
from another perspective. So I’m just going to take a little bit of time to make
a couple of adjustments. (camera clicks) I’m not trying to take too many liberties with what the chef has going on. That’s kinda cool. So this is a dish where I feel like I really have to get in tight. Without question. I need
to see the detail of this. ‘Cause it is just a
tiny, interesting dish. So this is- Woah. Much better. So this is pasta that has been done in a blood orange sauce which is giving it that pretty cool color. Let me check my crop. See what I really have going on. I think I’m going to come
in little bit tighter and I’m also going to get
rid of the water glasses in the background because
they’re just not quite right. Maybe see a little bit of stem. Right here there’s a chandelier in the back of the restaurant that’s reflecting into that water glass which is creating a really weird spot and I don’t want that. So I’m gonna move the water
glass back where it’s out. And I may move a wine glass towards in. So what I’m trying to do is give this a sense of place, something that’s been
interesting where you’re like, “Alright. I know I’m in
this cool restaurant. This looks like of interesting. But what are we eating exactly?” I want to create a little
bit of a sense of mystery. I want to know more about it. (camera clicks) (camera clicks) I definitely like what’s going on here. There’s some real
interest and some mystery in this wine stem that’s
starting to come through. I don’t love what’s going
on this other side yet and I’ve got too much negative space. This green is also- The green of the napkin
is getting too close to the green of the leaf
and it’s interfering. So I’m gonna wanna pull
things a little bit in order to shift gears and
make sure that these things aren’t tangent and
interfering with each other. So let’s make a couple of moves here. And in this case I think
I’m going to come up just a little bit ’cause
I wanna be able to see into this dish a little bit more. As I look across it I’m
really not seeing much of it so I’m going to change my
camera perspective just a bit so I can see more of it. Now… Tripods are a little bit more of a hassle than the camera stand but you cannot bring a big camera stand on location. Unless you got a really big car and a couple of hefty strong
people to work with you. Yeah this feels better, without question. So because I’m shooting it nice and tight I make sure my movements
are fluid, they’re simple, they’re kind of calculated. I’m not being jerky with this thing. I’m being very delicate because I don’t want to bump anything on set. (camera clicks) That’s looking much better. I definitely like what’s going on here. The wine glass now feels
a little bit bulbous whereas before it was a
little bit of mystery. There was a really cool little thing that was going on there. Now it’s a little too big. But I like the plate a lot more. I definitely am liking that position. So I think what I’m
going to do is actually push the wine glass in a little bit closer so that this guy starts
to move up a little bit. Up and out. Let’s see. And I’m also going to bring
my dish a little bit closer. Now, I’m looking through the camera and the movements I’m making,
again, are really gentle. Really slow. I don’t
want to knock anything. I don’t want to mess with anything. I want it to be clean and simple. (camera clicks) That is better. Alright so I’m going to take a quick look. I want to make sure that I’m in focus. I’m going to blow this beast up. This is kinda cool. I like that leaf that’s- I’m not quite sure what it is and what’s going on with it but it’s giving me a
little bit of mystery. I think it’s a little
bit too much in profile so I’m gonna adjust it a little bit. This one is really nice. You can really read this leaf and you know what’s going on. But the one in the back you can’t. So again, I’m going to futz with that. I’m probably gonna move it and kind of set it up on
the lip of that plate. I’m starting to like
what’s going on back here. There’s just a hint of some stuff. But I think I’m gonna bring a little more interest up in here. And I’m going to do so by bringing these plates
in ever so gently. Okay I’m gonna mess with
his dish a little bit but I’m not going to mess
with the integrity of it. I’m just going to mess
with the composition. So I’m moving this up just to give it a little bit of interest. I want it to break that edge. Now I’ve got to be conscious that I haven’t brought it back into that green napkin because they might compete a little bit. In fact, they are. They’re touching. So I’m going to move this out just a bit. (silverware clanking) I have a bit of a hole down here in the foreground of my image so I’m just going to
play around with adding a little bit of interest
with a fork and knife. I don’t know if I’m going to love it but I’m going to give it a
whirl and take a quick look. (camera clicks) Okay. So let’s do a little comparison. I definitely don’t like
what I did with the plates. As they’re coming in they’re
just creating shadow, they’re not giving me any interest. So I’m going to move back. I’m gonna pull that out. There was a little bit
of stuff going on there which was kind of cool so
maybe what we need to do is actually take this glass back here and bring it over to
kind of fill in there. This leaf I think is
too far off to the side. I want to bring it back. I want to have it break more in that area so I’m gonna move it again. Although it might feel too disjointed it might feel too far away
from the rest of the food but let’s take a quick
look and see what we think. The other thing I’m gonna do here is I’m gonna clean this up. So let me get a couple of Q-Tips and we’re just gonna clean
this set up a little bit. So I’ve got my location kit
with all my little tricks in it that I’m going to use to
clean a couple of things up. I can do a lot of this in post but the more I can do here the easier it’s going to be on me in post. So look at that. Just take that right off. Okay. I gotta move this
out ’cause I hated that. I’m gonna bring this guy in a little bit. And I’m also going to clean
off the base of this leaf. Let’s see what that looks like. (camera clicks) Okay. I like everything
except for this last leaf. It’s just too big. It’s
not feeling right at all. So I’m actually gonna
quickly run to the chef and see if he’s got a
smaller one of these things. It’s just too big and
it’s kind of interfering. I want to get it back in that side but I want something
that’s a little bit fresher and a little bit smaller. So hang with me while I go do that. I’m gonna use my tweezers here just to get this into position ’cause I want to find the
right spot for it, so… I’m gonna introduce this back in here. I think it needs to be
part of the food again. I had it too far out before, so… Let’s see if we can get it up and have it be a real part of this. We get a little light under it. Ooh. That might be cool. I kind of like that. No I don’t. As I’m looking through the camera I’m actually seeing that I’ve made a tent between
this leaf and this leaf. They’re creating a perfect tent. So let’s go ahead and move this guy around a little bit more. It’s a sticky little bugger. Now one thing with food, it doesn’t always go where you want it to. Like let’s take a quick look at this. You’re going to see that I’ve got three now connected in a row. I absolutely don’t want this. See this? I’ve created this line and it’s just blah. It’s really awful, so… Let’s get this guy to move back. Let’s see what happens
when it’s up on the edge. Let’s see if we love it or hate it. Yeah I think we hate it. (camera clicks) Still hate it. It’s too flat. So this is one of those things. It’s just a little challenge and sometimes you can chase things. Like I’ve moved it around
to several different places and I’m really not liking it. So I wanna take a quick look and see what was working and what isn’t. Now I think honestly it was working where it was just a
little bit more hidden. It’s a different composition but at least I understand
that I need to kind of hide this thing a little bit more. So let’s move it up in here and change its direction altogether. (camera clicks) (camera clicks) That’s kinda cool. I think I’m liking that now. Let me make a couple other
moves with the plate. Just really simply. (camera clicks) Oh yeah. That’s better. In fact, I’m gonna do
that a little bit more. So again, let’s see if we like this. (camera clicks) Too far. So if I look at this I thought, ah, as I’m looking
through the camera though this is kind of interesting. Now I’m getting the food to
kind of bleed into the stem. What I thought looked good in camera doesn’t look good in reality. I wanna go back to something
like this where I have- I’ve given it a little bit of space. It just needs that again, so… We’re gonna go back. And I think one of the things that you’ll find interesting is, even if you’ve done this a long time, I’ve been doing this
for a couple of decades, I still don’t have all the
answers all of the time. Sometimes you just have to see it. The good thing to do is
pre-visualize, start to experiment, and kind of go through the process and allow yourself to
find where all the food kind of falls into place. But you can see what I’m working on. I’m working on tangents that I don’t like, intersections that I don’t like. Things that kind of
don’t let the eye flow. ‘Cause again, this is all
about allowing the eye to move through the composition, come back to the important parts while giving you that
entire sense of place and giving you the emotion of, “Ooh man, that looks way tasty and I really want to have that right now.” So that’s what we’re going for. (camera clicks) Without question what I’m doing is I’m making sure that I’m using… Oh better. …the environment that’s
here in the restaurant. This is one of their surfaces. This is all of their
plating, their silverware. What I did is I came
through the restaurant after I talked with the chef
to look at the restaurant, to figure out what places would be best. I’m creating the sense of environment with their environment. I’m not bringing in a
ton of different props. I’m not bringing in all kinds of surfaces to completely change what we’re doing. I’m really enhancing what they have and just kind of giving their own place that sense of feel and that
sense of place and a purpose. That also is good when people
come into the restaurant because you don’t want
to put together an image that looks completely
and utterly different than the restaurant. If somebody comes in here
and they’ve seen this image they’re gonna recognize
the green of the napkins. They’re going to pick up
on the tones of the wood. It’s not like I’ve created something completely different that has no relationship to the restaurant at all. It’s good to use their
stuff because in the end customers will actually
make that connection. Whether they’re aware of
it or not they will do so. Alright. I think I’m almost done. There are a couple of little changes I want to make in the background but I’m pretty happy
with everything overall. So I’m going to bump
this in ever so slightly. I’m also going to bump
this in just a scoshe. I’m also going to bump this
guy in a little bit more. I’ll move these to the other side. (plates clanking) Let’s see what that does. (camera clicks) Oh yeah. Dig it. Okay. So I brought this guy over a little bit. I think now it might be
a little too centered. I could bump it a little bit further. But I put those white plates in there and it’s just casting a reflection which I kind of like. It’s kind of rounding out that napkin. I’m going to move both of
those over a little bit so I get the reflection to
come down a little bit more. It’s kinda cool. Simple things like that but what they do is they lead the eye. Remember? I keep talking about
this time and time again. I wanna lead the viewer’s
eye through this composition and in doing so I’m gonna
give them sense of place, I’m gonna get them a sense of emotion, and I’m going to give them
a sense of appetite appeal. But make no mistake,
the choices I’m making are directing their
eye through this thing. (camera clicks) They kind of don’t have a choice. I like it. The only thing I want to do is add a little bit of a kicker light so I’m going to get a
little bit of a fill card just to go (clicks tongue) right there and add a little bit of light. So I’m gonna go to my handy-dandy cart and I’m going to go to the bottom section where I’ve got cards. I’m gonna kick in a scoshe of
light and this beast is done. Although I wouldn’t call it a beast. It’s pretty awesome. (camera clicks) Let’s see if we can get a little bit more. (camera clicks) That helps just a little bit. Let’s see if I can get a little bit more because I like what that’s doing. So I’m gonna come up on top of it and I’m gonna push this
light down in there. (camera clicks) Yep. You can see how that shadow is filled in. It’s still there. I’m not removing the shadow. I’m not taking away the sense
of direction of the light. I’m just filling it in so
the shadows aren’t so deep. I like it. That one’s done. Absolutely love it. (electronic music)

6 thoughts on “Blood and Sand Part 2 | The Complete Guide To Editorial Food Photography

  1. Dying to know where you purchased that laptop stand or what its called. This video helped me a ton today on a food photo shoot. Thank you!

  2. Love the dedication just to get one beautiful shot. Unlike others on here with their tutorials and their cheap lighting and zero explanation or even dedication. Great job.

  3. Beautiful composition, and just seeing the difference the reflector made at the end was one of the best explanations of using one I've ever seen.. Amazing tutorial!

  4. The thing that I don't understand is why are you using an ISO of 400 instead of 100 when you can bring down the shutter speed knowing that you are using a remote.

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