August 1, 2010

Tasty food and gorgeous photos at Phototasting

All of you have been through the food photography journey with me. Remember when this blog actually had no photos at all? And then we started to get a little bit of this?


And then it becomes more like this?

Spaghettini Carbonara Tartlets

And now, after a good 3 hours of presentation and hands-on workshop at Phototasting event at Cube Marketplace in Los Angeles, you have something like this.


And hopefully, I can keep up. :)

Phototasting (@phototasting) is a unique food sampling and restaurant photography workshop where participants are able to both shoot and savor a restaurant's cuisine. This one was presented by Pam of Rants and Craves, Claire of The Kitchy Kitchen, and Tony of SinoSoul.

I ran a bit late, having to hail in from Orange County through unexpected X Game traffic in Downtown LA. So Tony sat me right up front. At my table were the lovely Julie and Maggie, and two photographers and their serious Nikons, Thom and Edward.

First up was Tony who went over all the nerdy goodness about aperture, exposure, and depth of field. Oh, and in a nice way, RTFM. (For those uninitiated, that's Read the F*cking Manual.)

Then came the first course: Heirloom tomato and fresh peach, Cube imported buffalo mozzarella, 6-year balsamic, and fruity olive oil. Lovely flavors and mighty refreshing for a hot day.


I struggled a lot with trying to get the texture of the mozzarella. I'm a purist when it comes to my photography, but I had to fix this one a bit in post. Meh...

Pam was up next to talk about composition. Oh the many methods a food photographer have to go through for a perfect shot!

Out came the second course: Black truffle pizze with mozzarella and runny fried eggs. We all rushed through this one a little bit. Well, for one, Tony was urging us to eat it before the yolks get cold. LOL.


While all I really wanted to do was shove that crispy yet chewy pizze in my mouth, I did take some time to hold up the gooey, drippy, messy slice up for other to take a shot. I know all too well the power of black truffle and runny eggs. Yummmmm.

Entered Claire to talk about lighting. Filtered natural light is best, and we got plenty at the window at Cube. And of course flash photography is a major no-no for food. (Yes, you now may chuckle at people taking picture of their dinners with flash flying about the place.)

In came the last savory course: Pancetta wrapped porchetta, creamy polenta, and roasted broccoli.

Obviously, I was rushing through this shoot and not getting many shots of the whole dish. Well, not that I like after I've looked at them. Then again, I'm sure having me standing at the ready with plates and silverware, wanting desperately to dig in, was annoying to fellow photographers my table. Here they are, hard at work!

DSC_0191's PORK, WRAPPED IN MORE PORK! Come on, man! Girl's gotta have her pork!

Oh, thanks, Jewels.


And finally, Claire went over how to fix things in post-production. A little touch here and there will make the picture. Too much and you got a Van Gogh on Acid.

Dessert was summer perfection: White nectarine shortcake with lemon verbena and fresh cream and raspberry sauce (I think).

I don't know why I struggled so much with the food but I had no problem taking pictures of the dessert. I took plenty and they were all gorgeous.


What a great idea of an event! I got a refresher on the nerdy photography stuff and learn new tricks. And of course, I get to have some fantastic food.

Only if we can do one in Orange County, that'd be nice too. ;-)

Here's the full slide show. You can see more of Phototasting pictures in their Flickr group.


Julie Anne Rhodes said...

Personally, I love the little piggie cupcakes, but the pics from yesterday are so much more sophisticated - you even captured the yolk drip! AMAZING pics, and your welcome for the perfect bite. I think we made a great team.

Paulette said...

Originally I was jealous because I a) love Cube, b) love food, c) love photography, and d) COULDN'T MAKE IT TO THE EVENT!

Then I read about what you had to eat and now I'm even more jealouser!! I've been a photographer for nearly 15 years and my food pics still look like your number 2. I'm just not a food photog.


Daily Gluttony said...

OMG the pig cupcakes are so cute!!! Your pictures look lovely--my fave is actually the one of the porchetta on the fork...I seriously want to just eat it!

Thanks so much for coming to Phototasting yesterday. It was such a pleasure meeting you. Hope to see you again soon!

OakMonster said...

Julie: Yep we definitely do! :)

Paulette: We're going to get you on that mailing list for the next Phototasting!

Pam: It was all sorts of FUN! You'll be seeing me at the next one...and I'll make sure to bring Paulette. ;-)

Nhien Nguyen said...

I'm salivating just looking at the pictures, great job!! You've come a long way :)!

jacqueline f. said...

Great write-up and beautiful pictures! Don't think we met on Saturday, but so pleased to know about your blog now.


Rene ( said...

Okay, what is wrong with those piggy cupcakes? NOTHING! But I totally can see your visual progress. Thank you for sharing, and thank you for the tip. I can surely use a session as well, because I take the world's worst pictures.

kelly said...

Great photos of fabulous looking food. I've given up taking photos of food anywhere but my house because it always looks horrible. I want a bite of that perfectly loaded fork for lunch now.

Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella said...

Well done getting those captures! I know it can be testing to get the photos when the food looks so tempting! :)

OakMonster said...

Well Lorraine, when YOUR food looks that good, you don't need to do too much work photographing it. ;-) Thanks!