Trace… snip… fold… POP-UP!

When I am commissioned by Quintet to shoot a new craft ‘makes’ book I get to work in many lovely location houses with lots of opportunities for me to style my own shots. The very recent new Pop-Up card book I was commissioned to shoot I especially loved photographing against interesting backdrops, with an abundance of nice details/items for me to place in the frame in a supporting role to graphic cut-out cards themselves.

Here are a few I shot that day…

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Quintet_POPU_Cards-357 Quintet_POPU_Cards-435

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I am sure my 10 year old son would especially like to make the last one!

Wishing all the best of luck to Quintet at this October’s Frankfurt book festival.

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A taste for travel…

PHOTOGRAPHING FOOD ON LOCATION

On many of my travel & location lifestyle commissions I get to shoot some wonderful chef creations. Understanding how to work the natural light, and styling on the spot is a great asset. My background as previously an Art Editor has served me very well when sent off on a commission alone, never knowing what I will find at a location and then make the most of it. Here I recall some of the images I have captured…

JW Marriott Hotel, Venice

This beautifully presented Panna cotta above I photographed when on assignment for Conde Nast at the JW Marriott Resort in Venice earlier this year that appeared in their July issue of Traveller. With a quick glance around I placing and turning the dessert in a lovely softly diffused light area of the restaurant. Then I tweaked how I wanted the papery leaves to fall for nice shapes and so that the light shone through them. The final touches were adding the spoon on an angle and placing the potted herb just into the top of the shot with a very soft aperture to create some interest and sense of being on a real table setting and not in a studio. These seemingly little details I love to play with.

Pescheria San Pietro, Florence, Italy

Above is a wonderfully fresh seafood platter I shot in Italy. I decided it worked best from an aerial perspective. I like the main circular shape clipped off on the left side. I placed in the natural muslim fabric napkin to soften the shapes. Then I positioned other circular shapes of the glasses, in top left each partly filled, which along with the fork was a conscious decision to capture a feeling that I had just casually grabbed my image as someone was enjoying this lunch. Two empty glasses would have looked wrong. Plus, always enjoyable to sip some of the wine to achieve exactly the right amount I want visually in the image : )

JW Marriott Hotel, Venice

Great restaurants always present such attractive food, but when photographing reportage style, I like to add my own touches such as above a little bit of the food spilling onto a fork, and twisting around the clam shells to capture different shapes and textures – a glimpse of the shells’ exterior colors and pattern, and at same time the soft edible centre. Once happy with the fine tuning I then explore different angles to frame the shot, and how close to come in on the dish.

SOME TRICKY LOCATION LIGHTING – Interior locations can offer tricky light for shooting food & drink, such as hard light pouring through windows into a darker interior or too many different artificial light sources. But I try to play to what I visualize working with the quality of the object I am shooting and what available light I can find at the time.

The image below I shot in a wonderful cocktail bar interior lit by day with only a very low light spilling in from just one small exterior window, but it worked well as a very directional backlight to shine through the cocktails, which ‘lifted’ them against the dark upholstery and created sparkle.

JK Place & Cocktail Lounge, Florence, italy

Below, Natural light spilling in through frosted window out of shot, on the righthand side. The rich textures of the furniture, and placing a black area in the background helped ‘lift’ the brightly coloured cocktails in the foreground.

Dublin

I really enjoyed my shoot to The Pump Street Bakery in Orford, Suffolk for Country Living Magazine – spotting the quality of the harder sunny light shining through the cafe window and their wonderful clear glass teapots, combined with extra luminosity it gave the gilded vintage cup and saucer with delicately tinted herbal tea I pushed them further into the pool of light to capture this image, which I hope does emulate a true sense of what it was like to sit there sipping lightly fragrant tea with sunlight on your face.

The Pump Street Bakery

Below: The bakery sold their own delicious cakes but the counter area was lit by vintage light bulbs. As food is best shot in daylight the solution was to move them, still on their glass stands to a window on the other side of the room with a much softer natural light than the image above, so as to remove any moody shadows. If you can not find such an ideal softer light then you can always use a diffuser to place in front of a window to create this light as it passes through its fabric.

The Pump Street BakeryThe Pump Street Bakery

TIME LAPSE – Some times after I have photographed first the complete dish I like to deconstruct the food, slowly breaking into it with a fork or spoon until there is just a smear of sauce and that one final mouthwatering piece left to savor…

Lydia Evans wedding pudding

Lydia Evans wedding pudding 2

Lydia Evans wedding pudding 3

Lydia Evans wedding pudding 4

FOOD MARKET CLOSE-UPS – There are so many great graphic shapes and textures to photographing food in street markets around the world, from Istanbul to right here in London Borough market…

Pomegranates, Istanbul

Street Food on Istiklal Caddesi, Taksim, Istanbul

Simitci bread roll, Istanbul

Insight City Guides, London

Insight City Guides, London

Insight City Guides, London

ON A FINAL NOTE… just take one cupcake… This is one of the simplest but favorite shots of mine taken in a cafe in Stoke Newington Church Street, London to represent in just one shot: the feel for the interior, its vintage mismatching crockery and yummy cakes.

The Tea Room, Stoke Newington Church Street

The Tea Room, Stoke Newington Church Street

 

 

Glasgow Grandeur

Glee tearing open my early morning post today to feast my eyes on my complimentary January issue of Conde Nast Traveller – quick to thumb to the pages with my published images for yet another ‘In Britian’ feature, this time ‘Glasgow’.

I recall getting my 5am taxi to City London airport excited to see a new Scottish city for me. Slight butterflies how it would be as it was just days before the Scotish referendum. What questions would I get asked in the street… what discussions to avoid! It all turned out good in end with a taste of great interiors, art, and stylist new eateries. The odd sip of Whiskey, and only twice on the receiving end of sharp Glaswegian wee blether.

Here, I would like to share some of the images…

Kelvingrove Cafe

Kelvingrove Cafe

Above: Not too far from the Kelvingrove Art Gallery is The Kelvingrove Cafe a converted ice-cream parlour with lovely tactile wooden parquet flooring, tangerine walls, deep burnt chocolate coloured leather booths and service of delicious cocktails. Great stop for brunch or a livelier stylish evening crowd.

Below: My next stop was The Crabshakk seafood restaurant, Argyle Street where I could not resist asking this member of staff to step into one of my shots.

Crabshakk

Next photograph to set was this wonderful seafood dish below which conveniently made a very good late lunch option for me : – ) Looking at this image now makes my mouth water.Crabshakk

A short walk away is the grand Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum who’s entrance hall has your head in a spin gazing up at the gloriously huge Art Deco lighting. Suddenly music bellowed around the walls as a diminutive figure sat at the far end playing possibly the largest church organ I have ever seen! Off to the right hall a grand staircase leads you up to high surround balcony where I was amused by the floating heads instillation.

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Whilst the Original Glasgow school of Art designed by Charles Rennie Mackintosh is still under repair from a fire, across the road is the Modern Seona Reid Building which forms part of school of art today an exciting place to study with a large international intake.

Seona Reid Building

Byres Road is the location of Kember & Jones’ delicious custard tarts, macaroons and meringue with summer fruit…

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Further along Byres road the Nardini’s ice cream parlour…CNT_Glasgow_2014-1030

The Drygate Brewery – craft ales The Drygate Brewery CompanyThe Drygate Brewery Company

Below: Style and glamour of Blythswood Square Hotel restaurantThe Blythwood Square Hotel

Stroll through Gardens of Pollock House, Pollock parkCNT_Glasgow_2014-1153

Vintage finds at The City Retro boutiqueThe City retro fashion

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