Food Photography for Nino's Restaurant, Cliviger

Joined
Sep 1, 2015
Messages
1,245
Location
Bootle, Cumbria, UK
Real Name
Michael A. Sewell
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These were actually taken four years ago, for Ninos, an Italian restaurant in Cliviger.

The restaurant's full title is Nino's at The Fighting Cocks, and my aim wasn't just to photograph the food, but to capture the ambience of the restaurant. It has a real family feel to the place.

The food arrived straight from the kitchen, and I was shooting whilst the restaurant was busy, which meant the tables either side of me were busy, and I received either questions or advice, depending on which way I faced.

This was a very simple two light setup. One as a key or main light, and one for the specular highlights. It's the specular highlights that are the most important, as it's this that creates the “wet” look, and makes the dish appetising, It also “shapes” the food, creating texture and depth within the image.

My accent light, which creates the specular highlight, was placed on the far side of the table, in line with the dish, and high enough to be just out of frame. It was set to fire directly towards the camera, angled downward to the dish. I used a 300Ws location light, firing through a small gridded beauty dish, at an output of 1/16th.

The Main light was to my immediate left, quite close to the table, and angled sharply down. It was another 300Ws location light, firing through an 80x80cm folding softbox at an output of 1/8th.

1/60th sec ISO200 f16

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Identical light positions and settings as above. The dish itself is lightly further frame left when compared to the previous image. Looking at it now, I cold have done with reflecting a little more light into the front of the dish, which appears a little dark along the biscuits.

Camera setting are the same.

1/60th sec ISO200 f16

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Pretty much the same setup, although I moved around the far side of the table this time. The accent light with the beauty dish is now frame right, as you can see from the specular highlight on the writing. I moved because the cake absorbed far too much of the accent light, but the writing caught it quite nicely. If I had the cake between the writing and the accent light, the cake cut the light with it's shadow. I also moved the accent light a little further back from the food, which necessitated the increase in aperture to f14 to compensate.

The softbox from what was the key light, nicely provided an overall soft light.

The outputs of both lights remained the same, as was their relevant position to each other. It was simply my position that changed.

1/60th sec ISO200 f14

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I usually try and get some form of atmospheric imagery of the chef at work. Sometimes I light it, sometimes I don't. It alldepends very much as to what I'm presented with at the time, and also how I feel the ambience is contributing to the scenario.

Here, it was simply a grabbed shot with ambient lighting, nothing more.

The one thing I do have to watch for is the funky lighting often found in kitchens, where there can be a mix of fluorescent and tungsten. Sometimes, auto white balance does a damned good job. Other times, it seems to throw its hands in the air, and run screaming for the hills.

1/80th sec ISO800 f5.6

Ninos can be found at The Fighting Cocks Inn – Family-run Italian Restaurant
 

thenextpage

Mu-43 Veteran
Joined
Oct 13, 2014
Messages
241
Thank you for this Michael, always love seeing your food. I'm curious to know your process to set up lighting for this type of shot? I assume you set the main light first for a proper exposure and then add in your specular beauty dish. Is there a rough starting point for power ratio of the two lights that you start with? Also curious to know do you use a light meter?
 
Joined
Sep 1, 2015
Messages
1,245
Location
Bootle, Cumbria, UK
Real Name
Michael A. Sewell
Thank you for this Michael, always love seeing your food. I'm curious to know your process to set up lighting for this type of shot? I assume you set the main light first for a proper exposure and then add in your specular beauty dish. Is there a rough starting point for power ratio of the two lights that you start with? Also curious to know do you use a light meter?
Hi Edgar.

Honestly?
I set both lights at the same time.
Now, this particular shoot is from a time I was using full frame, and hence I shot at f16 to get enough depth of field due to shooting quite close. With :mu43: I only need f8 to get the same depth of field. Therefore the lights only have to work half as hard. I invariably now use my Elinchrom ELB400s at an output of around 1.0 (Equivalent to 12Ws).
The old 300Ws location lights at an output of 1/8th was equivalent to 37.5Ws, which was needed due to an aperture of f16. This is one of the benefits of the greater depth of field with :mu43:.
I have a general idea as to the output needed for a given distance and a given modifier due to the number of times I've done it. Food especially so.
I know the beauty dish will be brighter then the softbox at the same distance and same power levels, as the diffusion panels cut the light by a half to one full stop compared to a gridded beauty dish.

I always carry a lightmeter, just in case. But it tends only to get used when I'm teaching.

Does that make sense?
 
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