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Waleed's picture
540 pencils

Chili Fries

I don't do food photography, and this is my first assignment (that I should have declined). The client serves chili fries, popcorn and nachos at booths around many malls in Saudi Arabia, and to start I did the chili fries shot..

The client didn't like that shot as "it does not show the product".. I tried to pull out of the assignment, as I thought it's one of those open-ended assignment that will never finish.. But the client wanted more time to look at the photo..

Tell me what you think..

Many thanks,
Waleed

Commenting on this Image is closed.

Ivan's picture

It is ok, but doesn't look too appetizing. The secret of good food photography is to actually not use any real food. Some very dramatic lighting would help.

Waleed's picture
540 pencils

I understand food photography is probably the most difficult, and I felt that yesterday (working beyond 1AM). But without any directing, how can a person like me (who never did any food photography) do it? I told them that, but still.. Hehe..

Here are two more shots I did:
http://waleedsgallery.biz/_forumuploads/070113-khafif-2.jpg
http://waleedsgallery.biz/_forumuploads/070113-khafif-3.jpg

Thanks,

davage's picture
14 pencils

It looks like you have the makings of the shot, but ther maybe a couple of things that could help.
1. Is there room in the budget for a food stylist? Giving someone else the responsibilty of preparing and maintaining the food will free you up to conentrate on the actual photography. Also, a food stylist will have the knowledge to make the food look good and will be able to refresh the food as needed. If you can't afford a food stylist, get a chef friend or anyone who is a good cook to help you out! Plus they get to eat as much chilli fries as they want!
2. Do the shot during the day. Near a window. Daylight is big trend in food photography at the moment. There's something very distinctive about daylight phoography. Put a scrim (or white sheet) over the window and maybe a couple of reflectors or small lights on the other side of the food to even out the lighting. small mirros are useful for isolating certain elements of the shot.
3. Slap on a macro lens and get down and dirty. The angles you are using at the moment say: "Here is our food. You decide", but they should say: "Here is our food. It wil give your mouth orgasms", or something like that. Isolate the product by using shallow depth of field and get down to a low angle to make the background trail off into over exposed nothingness. Reduce the props to soft shapes, at the moment they tend to distract from the product.
Hope this all helps and doesn't sound too preachy. I've been working as a retoucher on food photography for a while and thats where this is all coming from.
Good luck, let us know how it all goes.
Dave

Waleed's picture
540 pencils

Point#3 is exactly what I had planned... Many thanks for the feedback, Dave..

digilee's picture
219 pencils

The pic above looks too staged. Give it some more naturalness, spill the spices etc.
The angle and the lighting are also off.

take it there > http://www.rickler.com

Waleed's picture
540 pencils

Thanks digilee, just the product is what I need.. With nothing else..

Thanks,

natobasso's picture
3951 pencils

You need more indirect lighting (use white covers on your lights and indirect lighting to get softer lighting effects) so that the chili looks less like poo. ;) The hard shine on the chili seems to make this worse.

The cold backgrounds also don't remind me of good food. Try to use wooden cutting boards and other kitchen implements to remind your audience that they are looking at food, not chemicals.

You have chosen by far the MOST difficult subject to shoot. Do you know that they even shoot fake ice cubes to make them look more 'real'? ;)

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natobasso

Waleed's picture
540 pencils

Thanks natobasso, I'll try to incorporate your comments and the ones above in my next attempts..

Thanks everybody, you've been very helpful :)

Mintsauce's picture
1000 pencils
Waleed's picture
540 pencils

Very helpful, thanks Francois..

SaraGaz's picture
2 pencils

i have this project to shoot 10 food images i think i can help u with some tips
try glossing the pepper to make it have a shine and crop the image to have less of the surrounding or just part of it. Soft Shadows help a great deal too use the ones formed during daylight or if a studio have a soft box next to the scene.

Waleed's picture
540 pencils

Thanks for the feedback SaraGaz..
I'll be redoing the shoot this afternoon and posting the results in this thread.. I'm taking into consideration all the comments I received here and through email..

Many thanks :)

Waleed's picture
540 pencils

This is the my last attempt, and I told the client I cannot do more without direction:

natobasso's picture
3951 pencils

The chili on the fries still looks like poo (very bad). Not very appetizing! You have too much lighting below the food and not enough above it, which give it a dead/cold look. That lighting would work much better for product photography.

If you can, use natural sunlight. And here are some sites I found with photo tips that might get you on the right track:
http://www.cooksillustrated.com/otherdoc.asp?otherdocid=8&bdc=96
http://foodandwine.com/articles/shoot-first-eat-later
(pay attention to tip #8, 'brown sauces')

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natobasso

Waleed's picture
540 pencils

Thanks for the links, good pointers there..
The chili sauce does look like poo, you should see it flowing from its bag, hehe.. But the customer wants that brown color (even insisted)..

natobasso's picture
3951 pencils

...Tell your client he's going to sell exactly zero of something that looks like poo. ;)

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natobasso

Waleed's picture
540 pencils

I just asked them to find another photographer, as I've spent enough time on this open-ended assignment.. I even apologized for not going to continue shooting their popcorn, nachos, and sites..

Now I need to find a place to store the deep fryer :)

thornysarus's picture
930 pencils

What's with all the poo-related posts all of a sudden? :)

hehe

Terrell Thornhill

e-zign Design Group

Waleed's picture
540 pencils

Let's rename 2007 to The Year of The Poo :-P

natobasso's picture
3951 pencils

Agreed. ;)

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natobasso

walks_in2_trees's picture
252 pencils

the chili might be made to look less like poo if there was something other than bean-sauce visible in it, such as meat chunks and green peppers, etc, SOLID things, preferably with more colors, not so monochromatic, I think too that the entire shot should be more saturated

"...and mamma cried: Watch out where the huskies go, don't you eat that yellow snow" - Frank Zappa

Waleed's picture
540 pencils

I agree.. I wanted a more colorful plate and background, but their "designer" wanted those colors, and they match the design better..

Oh well, it's history now :)

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