Thursday, 28 May 2009

Two Flash Environmental Portrait


Just a wee post tonight.  Thought I’d put up this portrait of a very accomplished chef we recently shot for our recipes feature at work.  We spotted this really cool glass walled wine store so we knew we had to try and use it somehow.

I lit this with two flashes.  One on the floor behind David pointing up with a blue gel on it (I hardly ever use coloured gels but I thought this needed something and I think it worked pretty well) and another camera left with a honl grid on it handheld by Ali who was a great assistant!

Here’s a pic of the setup shot.  I got the background how I wanted it first as I knew David was busy and I didn’t want to keep him too long.


Looking for locations is always the first thing I do when I arrive and I wish I was always as lucky as I was here finding this cool wee room.


Tuesday, 26 May 2009

Macro for food!


Haven’t put a post up in a wee while so I thought I’d stick this one up.  It’s a shot from a recent food shoot and again it’s one where I used a reflector to camera right and window light camera left.  Thing I’d like to mention about this one is that I always take my Sigma 150 macro lens with me on food shoots.  I don’t always have time to use it on every shot but it works a treat on desserts and it lets you get something a little different.  Even though this shot has some blown out areas I still really like it, partly because of the composition but also because of the nice pinky pastel colour on the napkin in the background. The shot below was taken with the 50mm and is a more ‘standard’ shot.


Here’s another pic shot with the macro but this one is an older shot from my portfolio.  Being a macro lens it picks up all the crisp details in the food and also gives that nice shallow DoF look.  For most of my food shots I use the 50 f1.8 but there’s nothing like a good macro lens to really bring out the detail.



Monday, 18 May 2009

Shiny cake board reflector thingy



Thought I’d through up this wee post about a great cheap reflector I use for food shots.  Ages ago I read about how some studio food photographers use small mirrors to bounce light into very specific areas.  Sounds like a bit of a nightmare to me but I can see the logic of having smaller reflectors for this sort of thing, so I always carry a shiny cake board in my kit bag :)

You can get these wee boards in Asda for under £1 and they come in all kinds of colours and sizes.  The shots above are from a recent location food shoot we did.  As usual we asked to use a table beside a big window.  Sometimes I don’t need a reflector if the weather is nice and cloudy and the window is big enough to give enough wrap around, but on this day it was quite bright so I just propped up my gold cake board reflector against a glass of water to camera right and it was enough to balance the exposure.

I’ll post the other food pics from the shoot at a later date and once Home Plus Scotland gets their new website up I’ll start posting links to the recipes too!


Thursday, 14 May 2009

Leah Parker Balls


We had a good food shoot at the Rutland, Edinburgh today. BUT as I’m feeling a bit rubbish tonight I’m not going to process any of the food shots just yet but I’ll put up a couple shortly!

However, we’ve been meaning to get a nice picture of our Editor Leah for some time and I was chuffed to see this on my screen as I was sorting the pics tonight. Leah stood in for the Chef so we could set up the shot while Ally skillfully held the light stand.

Leah will be starting her own blog soon so once it’s done I’ll link to it here. This is a possible photo for it but we might even do some more shots when we get time. Anyway, I’ve also processed a B&W version which I think looks just as strong.


Sorry Leah, couldn’t resist that title ;)


Friday, 8 May 2009

Stripes, blinds, spotlights and laughs!


Since it’s been over a week since I posted anything (had a long weekend family hol which was great, thanks mum!) I thought I’d put up a few pics from a job we did last week.  In the next issue of Home Plus Scotland we’re doing a piece on the very talented interior designer Susan Bremnar.  One of my first jobs for the mag over a year ago was to cover two houses that Susan had made over so I was looking forward to meeting her again and getting some great shots, and the house didn’t disappoint.

The shot above was a room tucked into the middle of the house and was totally unexpected.  Susan had made a lovely wee room out of what otherwise could have been a wasted space.


This was the main living room and there’s a couple of things I wanted to mention about this shot.  Firstly, since I was there to get shots to support the piece on Susan rather than to do a full house shoot I didn’t really have time to set up lights etc.   To combat the bright day outside I shut the blinds and just exposed for the interior.  Because the window was way brighter than the rest of the room it ALMOST blew out. 

I possibly looked a bit strange taking a pic of a room on a nice sunny day with the blinds shut but if we’d left them open the light would have bled into the white panels beside the window and robbed them of any detail and I probably would have also lost detail in the cool wooden floor.  But because the window almost blew out the blinds don’t necessarily look like they’re shut.  It basically acted like a very large light source which gave me really nice soft side light which lit the room and also brought out the detail in the very cool wallpaper.

Oh and the second thing about this pic is the importance of having someone with an eye for design to ‘style’ the house.  Susan actually brought that couch with her, as well as various other things like flowers etc, and had it all set up for when we arrived.  More and more I’m realising the value of styling whether it’s for houses, food or portraits!


Ok have to finish off with two cool kitchen shots.  LOVED this kitchen with it’s split level seating/dining area.  One thing I’d like to point out about this shot are the spotlights.  Anyone who shoots interiors will know that you always use quite a small aperture when taking wide shots not only to get max DoF but also to get that ‘star’ effect from lights.  Well spotlights are great for this and really add a ‘sparkle’ to the shots.  Whenever I see alot of spotlights like these I shoot around f11 which gives me a nice look.  Another reason I see a tripod as a necessity.


Just thought I’d put this one in too as I love the heater on the left which basically heats this room and the livingroom (which you can see through to!).   As usual the owner of the house was really nice and we had a fun shoot.  Susan might kill me for posting the next pic but I think it’s great and shows her sense of humour :)


For this shot we had a shoot through brolly high camera right and used a fairly long shutter speed to let the ambient behind Susan soak up.  Exif for this is: 20s f4.5 50m(f1.8) ISO 200.

Have another food shoot coming up next week as well as a couple of house shoots so will pop a couple of shots up when I can!

Ian :)