Thursday, 10 February 2011

Commercial food photography

Last year I had the opportunity to combine two things I dearly love, Food & Photography, and get paid for doing it!

Last year while setting up a graduation group photo at Ridley College (will write a post on that soon) I was approached by the head chief of Hot Dish catering, Michael Shaw, to take some food photos during the day.  I said sure, thinking he just wanted some photos of the spread while doing the event coverage.  A few moments later he started laying out a table for a formal set-up.  Anyway I quickly organised some lights, took a few shots and landed myself a couple of dedicated food shoots.

The main aim of the shoots was to produce advertising images for the web site, print advertising and any press releases.  Some also ended up being used for as a submission for food competitions and some may even make it into a book one day.  This meant that they needed to be clear commercial images but be 'artsy' enough to not just look generic or for a fast food store.

With that in mind and the knowledge that we had to produce a lot of images quickly as a default I used a two light set-up; a small softbox key light high, behind and slightly to the side and a relatively on axis fill through a silk (shower curtain) to fill the shadows and give another spectral highlight on the food.  I also used a reflector or two for most shots.

Lamb Kebab Arancini Balls
Hot Dish Catering
Dukkah and bread Cheese Platter
Coffee treats
All photos by Will Hore-Lacy, food styling by Michael Shaw.
Thanks to Michael for letting me post these and with any luck there will be more to come in the future!

Tuesday, 8 February 2011

New Canon EF 200-400mm announced

Canon has just announced it is developing the EF 200-400mm f/4L IS USM Extender1.4x and it looks sensational! It will cost a mint and weigh a tonne but I suspect it was be a sensational lens for wildlife and sports photographers who need some extra length. The Nikon 200-400 f/4 is very highly regarded so provided canon doesn't do anything too silly, I think this lens will be a huge success.

The downside of this lens is going to be the size, weight and $$$$. You can't make a f/4 long zoom without a lot of glass and steel (or magnesium or whatever they are using these days) so it will be big. I heard someone say the Nikon goes for around $7000 so that gives a ball park for the Canon, given it includes a teleconverter I wouldn't expect it to be less.

In my last blog post I mentioned that there were some rumours that canon would be replacing/updating the 100-400 soon. Well there were also some rumours that the new 70-300 IS would fill that gap and that they might go for something new for a new xxx-400 zoom. Looks like they went for something new!

Anyway, not long after that last blog I did end up buying a second hand Canon 100-400mm, and even with this announcement, I'm glad I did for a few reasons.
  1. I’m currently getting photos I couldn’t any other way and it was the best option at the time. (Just had a trip down to Tasmania)
  2. I won’t be able to afford the new 200-400mm for a very long time, and
  3. It’s a less expensive way to try wildlife photography and practice, practice, practice. Results are improving already!
Pied Oystercatchers feeding
Pied Oyster catchers at Fortescue Bay, Tasmania (Canon 50D with Canon 100-400 IS)
So all in all it looks like a great lens but given the weight and the price it's time to hit the gym... and then the casino?