Specialist Technique & Process 3 – External Job – Food & Event Photography

6th February 2016

Equipment used:

Canon 5D mk iii
24-105mm f4 lens, 70-200mm f2.8 lens
Canon Speed Lite 430EXii

I was approached by a graphic designer – Matt @ Graphically Gifted, who was designing a website for a client – Sugar Snap Kitchen (a catering business). They wanted some fresh new images for their website and Matt needed me to go to one of the events the food company was catering at and photograph the prep, the team at work, the food itself and people at the tables enjoying the food. He wanted full quality, sharp, close up images of the food looking good, because the images would be used to fill the screen on the website, and run as a sort of slide show.

I asked my colleague Wasim to join me on this job as he is more specialized in food photography and it would be handy to have 2 of us on the job so everything got covered, especially when Matt specified that he wanted images of the food being served on the table too, so that would mean one of us going with the servers to the tables, and one of us photographing from the other side – staying behind to photograph desserts being prepared in between.

Wasim and I arrived early to get settled in and talk with the main guy – Josiah – about what he wanted with these images and having a run through of the evening and what was going to be happening. This was a chance to ask questions and figure out our positioning etc before everything started to get busy. After speaking with Josiah, Wasim and I planned who was going to be where throughout the evening and got on photographing. We photographed for 3 1/2 hours and got plenty of shots to work with for the website. Over all the evening went very well and we got shots of everything… twice!

I felt this job went very well and because the team were being vocal about what each of them was doing next with the food I was able to position myself as needed. I used both my lenses but found the 24-105mm be best for photographing the food up close because it’s focussing distance is shorter compared to the longer lens. I couldn’t focus as close with it, so my long lens worked better with photographing the food being put on the tables and of the guests – because I could stand far away but still get close shots. This job was a great opportunity for me to practice in ‘non-routine’ contexts – I haven’t done a job like this before, but now I’ve done it and done well, I know what to expect for next time.

During the event I also got talking with one of the ladies helping run the event and she asked if I could take a few pics of the event itself so I could send her them. I also got talking to a photographer who I follow on Facebook but hadn’t met before. He was taking photos at the event too and is part of the team at Life Church (the venue). These kind of meetings are great for networking and hopefully will lead to connections in the future!

A few things I feel I could have improved on at this job:

  • Amount of images – Both Wasim and I took hundreds and hundreds of images each. In post process this makes things quite lengthy and difficult. Obviously some shots stand out more than others but it’s difficult going through sooo many photos and choosing a selected few when there are so many. I think next time I photograph a job like this I’m going to plan and focus in, photograph specifically and just get the shots I need, rather than continuously shooting all through the evening. Although it’s good to have a lot to choose from rather than not enough – in my case, less is more! It’s difficult to not keep snapping!
  • Turn over time – because of shooting too many images this resulted in the client waiting longer for their images which isn’t good for my reputation as a photographer.
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