Yum! (Part 2): Restaurant Photography

pork coloradito at Taco Milagro

Last month, I wrote about how I started my new Gluten-Free Foodie blog, and with that a new genre — food photography. Well last week I had the opportunity to test out my new genre on location. I was really excited to do my first restaurant review and bring my studio lights to Taco Milagro to capture their tasty dishes.  I love the challenge of being on location and needing to use whatever is available for subject, background, etc. to capture the image.

I am an expert now at breaking down and setting up my studio; at tweaking lighting ratios, angles and distances. I have always had the eye for composition, with or without studio lights. AND I love good food and the challenge of making food look good in a photograph (not always easy). The first dish arrived, and everything was going along swimmingly. And then I drew a crowd. The manager and his children, waitstaff, food preparers, and restaurant patrons were all as interested in the shoot as I was, and just wanted to see how things were going. But slowly, as I subconsiously realized that expectations were being placed on me, I got the jitters. And for probably a second, maybe two, I felt a twinge of panic that these pictures were not going to turn out well. There was something in the lighting that  wasn’t right. There was something in the composition that bugged me. And I started to lose my focus. I mean the images would turn out ok. They wouldn’t be horrible. But they would not meet my high standard of quality.

Well of course, I could not let that happen. So I took a deep breath. I tried to pretend that there was no crowd. Just myself, my assistant, my equipment and Radiohead playing in the background. And then I got through it. The manager was eager to bring the second dish out, but I was not ready. I did what it took to get a shot that I was satisfied with. And only then did I start in on dish number two. By the time the pièce de résistance came out, I was able to capture the above picture with almost no tweaking because I was totally “in the zone” and everything just fell into place. I just love how the color of the sauce matches the color of the background and how the creamy white swirls are echoed by the wrought iron motif in the background. This was not planned. If it were, it could not have been planned better.

Every photo shoot is a learning experience, and if nothing else, I learned to overcome my fear of drawing attention, with the confidence that I will get the job done right.

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About Heather Jacobsen

Researcher, author and founder of the online wellness magazine, Stuffed Pepper.
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2 Responses to Yum! (Part 2): Restaurant Photography

  1. Tammy McLeod says:

    I just got in from eating a full meal so admittedly, food doesnt’ look as good as usual but this tamale photo is really exceptional. I’d dine there just based on this.

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