I started my photography career as a black and white newspaper photographer with a passion for sports, hard hitting news and human event/feature photography. That was my photo world and I was very content to stay in it. As I grew and matured into my craft I realized there were other areas of photography that I didn’t even know existed. One was studio photography.
From time to time I would get studio assignments and I look back now at some of them and they were dreadful. I worked with and was friends with Tony Lopez, a very good photographer and an exceptional studio photographer. He often said my lighting technique in a studio was like someone lighting a stick of dynamite and using that flash to light the subject.
Later in my career I was befriended by another exceptional photographer, Akira Suwa. He would patiently show me his work and explain how he was able to make food and people look good in a studio. His technique was, less light is better than more. I was paying attention and it wasn’t until my later years in the photo business that I was able to put his techniques to use.
Fast forward to my most recent food shoot at the Sacred Pepper. I used all my past experience and knowledge along with some excellent tips from the two folks who work in and around the kitchen, Executive Chef James Maita and Culinary Manager Craig Spurza, to make food look good in photos.
I have learned to study the way light falls on what I want to photograph and have taken advantage of it when I photograph food. Each one of these dishes is lit with natural light coming through a window, diffused and bounced off white reflectors to highlight sections of the photo.
It is a long way from the light the fuse to the dynamite and turning away from the blast.