J — We shoot our own food. We eat what we shoot.
Our approach is pretty simple: What photographic style will show our food and the preparation behind it in as natural a setting and lighting as possible? We started out just shooting with light from the single window in the kitchen. We would plan a recipe and then shoot the stages of preparation on limited counter space. Prep a bit. Shoot it. Prep a bit more. Shoot it. It can be pretty laborious and just about doubled the time it would take to do a recipe.
We have evolved, slightly, since then. I love daylight as a lighting source. So, shooting available light was the clear choice. But, the kitchen doesn’t have windows on all four sides. Then, I discovered daylight color temperature CFL bulbs. A videographer friend of ours created the ultimate soft lighting source by using a huge paper-lantern/globe and hanging it where he wanted the light to originate. I stole the idea. Works perfectly.
The kitchen now looks a bit like a photo studio. There are clamps that have taken up residence on doors and walls. The lights get hung on a shooting day. Two big paper globes, daylight CFLs in the stove and a daylight CFL over the table. Just about anywhere you point a camera, you can get a good shot. Speaking of cameras, we use a Canon Rebel T1 and Rebel T3 with a few different lenses. Amazingly, the “kit” lense seems to be working out the best on both. The issue is always depth of field, but shooting a high ISO on aperture priority gives very good results..
We do very little Photoshop correction; cropping, adjusting exposure, sharpness and saturation is about it. We shoot in .JPG and export to .PNG at the final size.
Our approach to food presentation is the same as the photography: Use natural, fresh ingredients to prepare simple, easy recipes and then photograph them artfully without any styling tricks. A garnish is allowed, of course.
When we’re done shooting, we serve and eat what we just made. Yumm.