Do you have trouble figuring out what camera angle to use for your food shots? I find that with the students that I teach, this is a very common problem.
My students often teach me what I need to teach them. When I first started teaching, I would do a demo in class where I set up my camera while my colleague, who I was teaching the class with, would set up our food and props for the demo shot. A student asked me, “how do you know where to put your camera?”. I had to think for a few minutes. This has become so built in for me, that I realized I didn’t even think about it, I just sort of knew where to put it.
This was never taught to me in school that I can remember. I have two degrees from two different schools. Neither of these schools ever talked about food photography when I was there. So how did I know where to put my camera?
And now for the final part of my Restaurant Photography Series – Part 3. I will finally be talking about photographing the food and chefs for restaurants.
The shot above was done for Napa Valley Grille in Westwood, CA. I was hired to shoot from 2-4:30 pm. I ended up shooting from 2 – 5:30 pm. We did a ton of shots in a short time period. This is completely normal. Chefs are used to creating fabulous food quickly.
Here is a list of what I always bring to photograph restaurants
- Canon 5D Mark iii and also a Canon 5d Mark ii as a back up camera
- Canon 100mm macro for shooting food shots and drink shots
- Canon 28-105mm zoom lens for shots where the 100 macro is too long
- Canon 17-40mm zoom lens for shooting architecture shots of the space
- Gitzo tripod – I always shoot on a tripod
- Overhead tripod head extension
- Mac laptop MacBook Pro for shooting tethered
- My food styling kit
- Lighting equipment for chef portraits when I know there won’t be enough natural light – 3 or 4 strobe packs, 4 or 5 strobe heads, soft boxes, and grid spots, sand bags for stands, extension cords, strobe triggers, and various strobe accessories
- White fill cards
- Step stool for shots where the camera must be higher
You have to work fast! You have to be extremely organized and you need to have a game plan. The more organized you are, the smoother your shoot will go.
You must have a shot list from the restaurant before you consider shooting for the restaurant. You will be surprised at how many restaurants have no idea what they want to shoot and they just want you to show up and start shooting. I will not work that way. I need to know what they want to shoot to make sure that I will be prepared for what we are shooting and what to charge.