Landscaper Turned Food Photographer
What business does a Landscape Photographer have shooting food for an upcoming new restaurant? Nothing, but then again, why not? Those were my thoughts last Spring when Chef Tyler Slade was starting a new gourmet restaurant in Beaufort, South Carolina (10Market.com).
I immediately started learning the art of food photography. At first I thought, “how hard can it be?”, I soon found out, there was much to learn in very little time. Landscape photography mostly relies on natural light. No strobes, reflectors, soft boxes, gels, etc. While some landscape photographers dismiss artificial light, I suspect that is because they feel intimated by the steep learning curve of using strobes and studio flashes. I love to learn new facets of photography, so it was more of a welcome challenge to me. So I made the 1,100 mile trek from Vermont to Beaufort with some new toys: Einstein Studio Flash, light stands, soft box, light grids, umbrellas, gels, reflectors. Since the restaurant was under construction, this would just be a foodie shoot of some of Chef Tyler’s signature dishes. Thankfully, Tyler was the food stylist and his dad was the art director, so I could focus on just the photography.
Our photo studio was at their home so we moved furniture out of the way to make room for the soft box and lights. We hung a black cloth where a flag to block the light was needed. White foam board from Walmart was used when reflectors were needed. Natural indirect sunlight was also taken advantage of when available. Tethering to a laptop is highly recommended. It can catch a focus problem early and allows everyone to quickly review the images as they are taken.
Chef Tyler’s Kale creation with golden raisins, sunflower seeds, manchego cheese, olive oil and lemon
Here are a few of Ty’s dishes we photographed for their web site. Did I mention this was all real food? None of the typical food photo tricks that make the food inedible, so we all got to enjoy the dishes after the photo shoot.
Lucky me 🙂
Herb Crusted Lamb Rack:
Potato Fondant, Wax Beans, Rosemary Roasted Grapes, Honey Red Wine Reduction
Fettuccine with fresh herbs, asparagus and a white wine butter sauce
Chef Tyler’s signature popcorn changes daily. One day, Parmesan cheese & rosemary. Another, a special truffle oil.
Signature popcorn dish and brew on 10 Market’s patio.
10 Market A Chef’s Kitchen has been open since late June, 2015 and the culinary reviews have been stellar. If you decide to go, be sure to make dinner reservations ahead of time as the Friday and Saturday night theme dinners are usually sold out. The seating is limited to 9 so these are intimate dinners with Chef Ty ever present.
So what does this Landscape Photographer think of Food Photography? I love the technical challenge of trying to capture the magic and sheer delight of a dish. The opportunity it offers to learn more about the craft is endless. For me, Landscapes are a chance for relaxation and reflection. A chance for one to interpret a vision of Nature. It is more about being at a place at the right time to capture the natural light.