Pittsburgh Food Photographer Portfolio Slide Show

Posted in Food Photography by admin on Nov 08, 2013

portfolio slide show

Food Photography Portfolio

I’m working on a video slide show of my food photography portfolio. This is a work-in-progress, and I’ll probably be adding either a voice over or maybe some music, and there’s a couple of changes that I already want to make, so don’t be too critical… :o)

Tell me what you think…

Food Photography of Cake

Posted in Food Photography by admin on Nov 07, 2013

food photography of cake, image 1

I’m Baaaaack! Sorry for the hiatus, but I’ve been busy and haven’t had a chance to post much of anything interesting in the realm of food photography. Not all assignments produce portfolio quality images. I’ve been really busy, but a lot of the shooting has been bread and butter type work, shooting outline food shots and some people photography too. In fact, most of this four day shoot was outline (shot on white) shots and now I’m into shooting some pretty shots.

If you’re interested in the art of food photography, I think you’ll find this project very interesting and educational. Here is an example of how depth-of-field can really work in your favor. The challenge was to make a kitchen environment that looked to be real, while keeping the attention glued to the product, which in this case, was the cake’s icing. We were able to do this by using miscellaneous items in the background to appear as “appropriate clutter”, while not allowing the items to create a distraction.

Here are a few behind the scenes photos of the set, to show you just what you can get away with when you shoot with your lens wide-open. And to help with the effect, I “blew out” the background by over-lighting the background.

food photography of cake, image 2

food photography of cake, image 3

This will give you an idea of what shallow depth of field will give you in your food photography.

food photography of cake, image 5

Camera's eye view of the set.

food photography 6 cake

Food photographer's eye view of teh set.

food photography 7 cake

Here's a horizontal photo of the same food shot.

food photography 4 cake

This is actually a sad site. We had to pitch everyting on this table... :o(

food photography 8 cake

Here's one more photo from today's shoot.

Food Photography of Cake

Posted in Food Photography by admin on Oct 14, 2013

food photography of cake

On Friday, we completed a four-day food photography shoot of cakes and now have about a hundred flavors to distribute to friends, family, and various charities throughout Pittsburgh. The shoot wend really well and I’m hoping the clients are as happy as I am with the results of our efforts. Usually four-day shoots end up testing the nerves of everyone involved, but in this case, with the clients being such great people, everything went smoothly and without the stress that sometimes comes with a lengthy shoot.

This image is probably my favorite from the shoot. I like the colors, the composition, and the propping, but it’s the overall color pallet of the shot that makes it stand out. The backlight is almost over the edge, but I think that’s what makes it so special to me. It’s shots like these, when you bend the conventional rules of photography to the breaking point, where you push the envelope just a little, that make things just a little different and special.

Since I’m an advertising food photographer at heart, I need to “let go” a little to make photos look more editorial. On this shot, I really had to hold myself back and not add texture to elements, in order to have them look more natural and less staged. Even now, I look at the slice of cake and wonder if I should of scrapped a little light across the yellow surface…

Chocolate Cranberry Bread Photo

Posted in Food Photography by admin on Oct 01, 2013

In commercial food photography, you need to adhere to a client’s layout, no matter how loose. I this shot, I had to compose to a 5 x 11 dimension, so things look a little strange when I’m shooting. But it all works out in the finished product.

Chocolate Cranberry Bread Photo

Chocolate Cranberry Bread Photo

Shooting Ice Cream…

Posted in Food Photography by admin on Sep 22, 2013

As a food photographer, shooting real ice cream is probably the toughest things to do. If I had to recommend just how to make the job easier, here’s what I would recommend.

1. Make the studio as cold as possible.

2. Work really, really, really fast.

3. Prey a lot…

I just finished a four day ice cream shoot and I’m still cold. I rented 13 freezers, besides the three I already own, and that was just barely enough for all the product.

It was a tough job, but all’s well that ends well, and I must admit, the job turned up very nicely…


Pgh Food Photography

Posted in Food Photography by admin on Sep 16, 2013
ham sandwich food photo, shot in Pgh studio

Ham sandwich food photo, shot in Pgh studio

Here are some photos from a recent project, nothing too exciting, but still pretty nice.

This week, I’m photographing ice cream cakes (all outlined photos). Four days of shooting ice cream! I’m so glad it’s not 90 degrees out any more, like last time…

group food photo

Here's something I like to do for my personal facebook page. Just a little self-entertainment... :o)

Food Photography of Roasted Red Pepper Dip

Posted in Food Photography by admin on Sep 06, 2013
Food Photography of Roasted Red Pepper Dip

Food Photography of Roasted Red Pepper Dip

Here’s a food photo from a recent shoot. I’m pleased with the lighting on the dip, but in hindsight, I think I’d liked to have brightened up some of the secondary food items. Oh well. live and learn. It’s part of what makes food photography so much fund and so challenging.

I also am pleased with the napkin placement and the use of negative space, in the composition. I know, it doesn’t seem like much, but to me, it’s pretty important. If you’re new to food photography, you probably don’t realize that EVERYTHING in the shot has been considered, if not intentionally placed exactly where you see it. Pretty much every fold, wrinkle, reflection and crumb, is there because the team wanted it there… This may not be true of editorial food photography, but in commercial / advertising food photography, it is.

Depth of Field Control

Posted in Food Photography by admin on Sep 04, 2013

In food photography, it’s really nice to have the ability to control the depth of field, not just the amount of it, but also the direction… Here’s an example of a food photo, from today’s shoot, where I laid down the plane of focus so that the tops of the mousse’s (should I say meise?) so that the base’s go soft and out of focus, giving the shot a little more interest than it would of otherwise… That’s why I prefer to shoot food with a view camera, because it allows me to control focus, but perspective too.

Just laying…

depth of field food photo sample

In food photography, controlling depth of field is a useful tool

It’s the little things…

Posted in Food Photography by admin on Sep 03, 2013

Food Photography - The Little Things

In professional food photography, it’s the little things that make the difference…

I can’t tell you how many times novice photographers have asked me the question “ What’s the best way to light food?”, and I always reply, it depends… And it does. It depends on what way the food faces in the photo, what else is in the frame, the food itself, and about a hundred other factors.

The pasta photo above is a great example of what a difference good lighting makes in food photography. I’m not saying this is a really great portfolio shot, even though I really do like it, but I am saying that the lighting is very good. IMHO :o)

One of the first things you realize as a professional food photographer, is that the viewer’s eye usually goes to the brightest thing in the composition, and in food photography, that’s usually the plate. One way to lessen that affect is to keep the main light low, so that the top of the plate doesn’t get too much light and get too bright, making it the brightest thing in the photo. Keeping the light low also has the added benefit of adding more texture to the food, but “scraping” the light across the surface of any horizontal food surface. With this mound of pasta, that’s not really the case, but if I were shooting something flat like steak or chicken, then you’d really notice the added texture.

Notice how the rounded edge of the plate is actually brighter than the top of the plate and how you can see the dip in the plate’s handle area. I think this adds interest to the shot, while lessening the brightness of the white plate. It’s subtle difference to most viewers, but to the trained eye, it’s a huge one… What do you think?

Recent Food Photo

Posted in Food Photography by admin on Aug 28, 2013
You sweet little tart

You sweet little tart

Food Photos like this are a little tricky. What’s cool about them is the the “scale” of the props, but without some kind of reference, that everyone can recognize, then the shot just doesn’t communicate the the reason the shot is cool in the first place.

Also, on a side note, I have to say that I’m a little disappointed in my new slate background. I think it looks good here, but it’s really harder to control than I thought it would be. And then again, maybe I just need a little more practice…

Top Secret Food Photography

Posted in Food Photography by admin on Aug 27, 2013

I did an ace cream shoot yesterday for Rich’s. one of their new ice cream cakes. Ice Cream is really tough to shoot, if you haven’t tried it yourself, but we got some really nice shots, and I wanted to share them with them with you. But when I asked if I could make a blog post with some of the photos, I was told I couldn’t until the launch of the new product in December. So… This is all you get. I could show you more, but then I’d have to kill you. :o)

top secret food photography


The big challenge in photographing ice cream in August, is getting the studio cold enough so that the product doesn’t melt before I have a chance of getting a good shot. My solution is to lower the air conditioner, as low as it will go, the day before the shoot and then I construct my “food photography cold room”. Basically FPCR :o) is a 16′ x 16′ wood frame structure, covered with plastic, wood, and whatever I can think of, to hold in more cold. Then, I add a couple more air conditioners to then room, lowering the room’s temperature even more than the studio. It’s not as good as shooting in a freezer, but then again, it’s hard to find empty freezers that size.

food photogrpahy cold room

Food photogrpahy cold room in the early stages of construction

door to cold room

Stranger peering out the door of the food photography cold room

shot inside cold room

It's a little tight inside the room, but really not too bad.

view of food photography set

Reverse view of food photography set, inside cold room

food stylist and photo assistant

food stylist and photo assistant yucking it up waiting for cakes to freeze

Food Photography Tear heet

Posted in Food Photography by admin on Aug 26, 2013

I’m photographing ace cream today, but I wanted to put up another sample (tear sheet) from last week’s shoot. I love it when clients send me PDF samples, so I just HAVE to post then when they do…

Food photography tear sheet

Food Photography Billboard

Posted in Food Photography by admin on Aug 23, 2013

It’s fun sometimes to see your hard work in use. Here’s a client mockup from a recent shoot. I think it’s for a billboard, but I’m not entirely sure, but whatever it’s for, I kind of like it and can’t wait to see the image out in public. That never gets old for me. I remember one trip into the studio in the morning where I counted four billboards with my work on them. What a hoot!

common plea food photo billboard

I think the layout artist did an outstanding job on this.

Drink Photography for Pittsburgh Client

Posted in Food Photography by admin on Aug 22, 2013

Here’s a shot from a recent food photography project. The surface is a brushed stainless steal “formica” type of material that I had on hand from a previous shoot. I think the colors of the drinks were set off nicely from the grey / white of the surface, whereas a white formica would not of been quite so interesting. There is a think line in food photography between making something interesting, and having that same thing become distracting. That’s something both designers and food photographers need to keep in mind. What are you trying to say or sell? That’s the big question that we need to contemplate with each and every time we click the shutter of our camera…

Pittsburgh Drink Photography

Pittsburgh Drink Photography

drink photography - early minutes

Still working out the details of whtat the heck we're shooting...

Drink photography setup

As you can see, the lighting for the drinks is nothing really special...

drink photo set

When you're shooting anything that contains shiny objects like glass, ya gotta be really careful about reflections. Here' it didn't matter.

Raspberry Dessert Photo

Posted in Food Photography by admin on Aug 21, 2013

Here’s a photo from yesterday’s food shoot, but in a different direction than the other more “old world” photos. Some may not like the way the fork blends into the background, but that’s probably the part I like best about this shot.

The shot is actually a composite of four images taken at different time,s as the photo evolved. One for the overall shot (two long drips with the pools of sauce, plate and Background), the garnish, the drip on the left and the drip on the right. I’m not great at Photoshop, but I’m not bad either… :o)

Raspberry Dessert Photo

A different direction, but still nice - IMHO :o)

Rasperry dessert shot 1

I sort of slacked off the "Behind the Scenes" shooting on the second day, but I managed to get a few shots. Here's the team!

Rasperry dessert BHS shot 2

The marble background looks great, but it's a bear to move around the studio...

The big box was important to give the large soft highlights on the sauce, “blow out the background, and keep the fork’s reflection from becoming black. A happy medium had to be reached in the intensity of that light. I really liked the way the fork almost disappeared, but that was really a happy-accident. Don’t get me wrong. I saw it happening and could of changed it if I wanted to, but sort of fell in love with it.

Olives – Food Photo

Posted in Food Photography by admin on Aug 20, 2013

Here’s my favorite food photo from yesterday’s shoot. Sorry, but I was so excited I didn’t get around to shooting any behind the scenes photos until later in the day. This was our first shot of the day and pretty simple.

olives food photo

The first shot of the day and my favorite too...

Food Photography – Scallop

Posted in Food Photography by admin on Aug 19, 2013

Got some great food photography shots today, but I think I’ll ration them on the blog here, along with some behind the scenes shots… :o)

scallop - food photgraphy

The is a close up that I did just for myself. The layout required that I leave a bunch of room to one side for type, but I thought it would look better on my portfolio web site cropped more closely. They’ll be using the shot for lots of uses, including billboard and signage, so we shot it loosely.

2 scallop

Here's a shot of AnneMarie, the stylist. She's waving, but hates to have her picture taken.

5 scallop

Here's a shot of the stylist's work area

4 scallop

Here are the clients, Ton and John, a great couple of guys that I'm proud to work for.

7 scallop

Here's a shot of the set, where I used some mirrors to "block in" the dish, so I could get the hero back into the correct spot.

6 scallop

Here's AnneMarie making some last seconds tweaks before the final shot.

An interview / article with not-so-famous food photographer, Lil ol me… :o)

Posted in Food Photography by admin on Aug 16, 2013

food photographer interview

I’m afraid to read it, and I can remember exactly what I said, so if you want to hear me rant and rave about food photography, or if you have way too much time on your hands, take a peek… :o)


Simple Food Photography – It’s all about the Lighting

Posted in Food Photography by admin on Aug 13, 2013

Here are some behind-the-scenes, and semi-final shots from yesterday’s food photography shoot. I may not be THE best food photographer ever, but as a “Commercial” food photographer, I think I have a distinct advantage over “Editorial” food photographers in certain aspects of the business… The ability to “make” good lighting, instead of “finding” good light, is the big difference. Here are some simple outline food photos that depend on the lighting to make them work. It’s about shape, form, texture, and visual information, not mood or drama.

In these types of photos, you’re not trying to make pretty pictures, you’re trying to make the product look as good as possible, and you’re trying to to totally inform the viewer about what the product looks like. It’s not the the overall image that counts, it’s the detail of the food in the photo. It’s a whole different type of photography than many food photographers shoot, or care to shoot, for that matter. But there is a market for it.

Baby Cut carrots food photo

food photography in process

cayla styling food

iceberg let food photo

iceburg photo

monitor at food photo shoot

AJ Ham and Egg Scramble2

href=”http://www.foodportfolio.com/b/2013/08/simple-food-photography-its-all-about-the-lighting/dcim103gopro-4/” rel=”attachment wp-att-840″>food photo

Tea Food photography shoot – Behind the scenes

Posted in Food Photography by admin on Aug 09, 2013

tea food photo1

Here’s another images from this week’s tea food photography shoot for Bigelow Teas. We needed to create an environment that looked to be outdoors, so this is what we came up with. The behind the scenes shots will show you how we did it…

tea food photo 2

As you can see, we needed to use a long lens to make the background fall out of focus as quickly as possible.

tea food photo 3

Yes, the studio is a mess… :o)

tea food photo 4

This will give you an idea of the little lighting tricks I use to to make my photos look the way thy do. I hope I’m not sharing too many secrets…