Last August, I attended a Food Photography Workshop organized by Hole in the Wall, Fujifilm and Ricky Ladia. When I knew that the registration was free, I hurriedly signed up. I know that photography workshops can be way too expensive so I did not let this opportunity pass.
Ricky Ladia worked as a photographer for two years at an advertising and publishing company in the Middle East. He specialized in taking detailed photos of artifacts and reproducing paintings and old photographs.
Ladia later took on freelance work for mainstream magazines from reputable publishing companies such as Eastgate Publishing (Mabuhay Magazine), ABS-CBN, Summit Media and Hinge-Inquirer Publications. He has also worked for first-class hotels, resorts, fashion and retail brands, and has done celebrity profiles, among other things.
Also known for his food photography, he has worked for several food magazines, as well as with various restaurants and culinary schools in the country. He also dabbles with fashion photography, having done covers for leading style publications.
Fujifilm collaborated with professional photographers to conduct free trainings on different niches in photography and also to promote the mirrorless revolution cameras. And since I’m into food, this workshop piqued my interest. I am not really keen on the nitty-gritty details of photography, I just know the basics. For as long as I have good, natural lighting – then I’m all set. As I mentioned before, I’m not a geek when it comes to technology so I just rely on whatever knowledge I am comfortable with.
As expected, Ricky Ladia did not delve too much on the broad topic of photography (you know the usual history, tools, functions and stuff) because this is not a paid seminar. But he did share us some of the basic tips and tricks in capturing food photos for clients. Let me share them to you to the best of my memory.
Tools You Need
- Camera- You’d be needing an upgraded camera (not the point and shoot or phone camera). Mirrorless cameras are the latest technology recommended today for easier carrying and advanced features.
- Tripod– for still, stable shots
- Lighting – could be natural or artificial
- Reflector- to adjust the light received by your subject
Food Photography Tips
- Study your light. Keep it simple. If you don’t need multiple lights, then keep it simple.
- Use only fresh food. Example: Prepare the salad fresh. Don’t do it ahead of the shoot or else it will wilt. If it’s steak, shoot whilst freshly cooked.
- Think fast, shoot fast. Consider the elements that you’d be using such as those perishable, easy-to-melt props like lard, confectioners sugar, butter. The shinier the food, the more palatable it is. Never shoot an ice cream without the frost.
- Zoom in for details. If you don’t have much food styling, zoom it in!
- Compose freely. Experiment with flatlay. Pizza should be shot 45 degrees or top view only.
- Be creative. Share your appetite.
- Identify the focus of your subject. If you’re shooting an orange juice, your focus should be on the glass and not on the orange topper or straw.
- Know the character of the food. Filipino food is harder to shoot because of the varied textures. French and Japanese are nice to shoot because of its simplicity in textures and aesthetic presentations.
- Value confidentiality. Don’t release the finished product yet without the permission/ approval of your clients.
- Invest in gadgets that will make more money. Upgrade gadgets not out of whim, but because it will create more business in the future.
- Establish your branding. Sometimes people don’t buy the product, they buy YOU.
To gauge our knowledge from the training, we were tasked to shoot the food we bought from Hole in the Wall. The winner goes home with an Instax Camera. I did not win, but I enjoyed the whole experience. Here are some of my shots:
I look forward to attending more workshops and events like this to hone my skills for blogging. When you are truly passionate about something, you will invest. You will keep learning and growing.