We mentioned earlier that for restaurants the most economical way to professionally photograph your food is to do the photoshoot in your restaurant.
By shooting your food in your Los Angeles restaurant, it is much easier for your chef to prepare the food the same way he would for your customers… although we sometimes want to arrange the plating of the food differently to look its best in the photos. We bring in the lighting and any additional props needed for the shoot which is much easier than bringing all of the food to a commercial kitchen/photo studio to be prepared. This also saves significantly on the cost of your shoot. A commercial kitchen is not cheap and that overhead has to be covered whether it is the photographer’s own or a rental.
We are using photos from three different photoshoots done in restaurants as examples. Three very different sets of conditions existed in each with different outcomes. We hope it will give you some ideas when it comes to the planning step of your food photoshoot.
The photos of the appetizers on the silver trays were photographed for a food catering company. They were catering a large dinner and wanted me shooting the snack buffet set ups out in the venue and as well as some of the individual foods before they were served. We set up my lighting in a small area in the back where the food was being staged prior to serving it to the guests.
The lox and cream cheese photos were taken in a clients restaurant, in a back room that was closed during the off hours. There are some examples of different compositions of the same dish, closeup, and ones that were shot wider showing more of the table and a bit of the restaurant. We do the same with the pulled pork sandwich shot in another restaurant where we show one image closeup, and another that allows the ambiance of the restaurant to be seen. This one was photographed by achieving a balance of studio lighting on the food and the ambient light in the cafe.