What: The Boston Seafood Seafood Gala (September 27th, 2013) and Boston Seafood Festival (September 28th, 2013)
Chefs (in order of appearance): Will Gilson (Puritan and Co.), Jose Duarte (Tarranta), Mark Allen (Towne Restaurant), Brian Anderson (Market), Becca Arnold and Louis DiBiccari (Tavern Road), Matthew Gaudet (West Bridge), Awri Odense & Graham Lockwood (Fairmont Battery Wharf Hotel/Aragosta Bar + Bistro), Mark Allen (Towne Restaurant)
A few months ago, I had the pleasure of meeting Will and Dave Willis, brothers and owners of Bully Boy Distillery in Roxbury, at the launch party for their Boston Rum. We chatted about scheduling a time to do a piece for The Boys Club, but didn't get around to it until the other week. The Willis Brothers were generous enough to give me a private tour and sat down to chat with me a bit more about the creation of their very successful business.
The first time I brought a camera into a restaurant was over two years ago. This was before I'd purchased my first smart phone, and I lugged around my hefty camera and lenses wherever I went. Despite the challenges of carrying a camera everywhere, this was my creative outlet and I loved capturing my favorite restaurants and landmarks.
Ever since I started working professionally as a food photographer, I do like to take a break from my camera from time to time. Sometimes you just need a little space. I rarely bring it along when we go out to eat or are traveling anymore. On a recent trip to Vegas, I only took my camera out once, opting to use my phone to take all my pictures.
As a photographer, there's something very liberating about shooting with a smart phone. First off, you can be discrete about taking pictures. It's easier to capture the environment of a restaurant when you're not whipping out a massive lens. Both patrons and servers get weird when they see a camera pointed at them (and I don't blame them for that... it's a bit intrusive). A phone, however, can be used to take a picture without anyone noticing.
I also feel like I've grown tremendously as a photographer because of the amount I shoot with my phone. I'm constantly finding ways to get creative in an environment when the light may not be ideal. Or I see a dish and think, "Ok, what are all the ways I can shoot this?" and, to my husband's dismay, I play with every option. It gets me thinking outside the box and that may be the most important thing for us as artists.
Over the last few months, I've started teaching classes on iPhoneography for folks who are interested in amping up their food photos. I wanted to share a few points from that class with you today:
1. Remember that taking pictures with your phone is the same as using a DSLR... consider the key elements of photography: subject, composition, and lighting. Some dishes or ingredients aren’t always going to be bright and colorful, but there should be something about what you’re photographing that’s going to be interesting to the viewer. Use the other elements (composition and lighting) to elevate the subject or create a mood.
2. Action can be the subject.
3. Texture does a lot to make a smart phone image interesting. This can be as simple as shooting the dish on a rustic table (think aged wood) or textured background. I've gone as far as to put my food on the sidewalk, using the bricks as my surface.
4. Use natural light... and never use the flash! I see it all the time. I'm at a restaurant and someone takes a picture and they light up the room with their phone's flash. My suggestion, and this goes for all restaurant photography (even with a DSLR), is to only shoot during the day (or during day light). It's incredibly difficult to take a shot of food with your phone in a dimly lit room. Even if the dish is beautiful and the composition of the shot is perfect, the picture is going to come out super grainy.
5. Shoot from above. Because the iPhone doesn't have the same depth of field capabilities as a DSLR, shooting from the side doesn't always work as well as one would like. The best way to capture a dish (or a whole table of plates) is to get the shot from above. If you do shoot from the side, keep your shot simple and with minimal props, because everything in the shot will remain in focus.
6. Taking pictures is fun! If your friends are joining you at a restaurant, let them in on the experience. You can even let them be your model. They'll like that. And then let them eat. They'll like that more.
To see some more of my iPhone shots, head on over to Instagram. And to see my husband's pictures of me taking pictures of food, check out his Tumblr page, Waiting For It: Married to a Food Photographer.
The above pictures were taken at the following places (listed in order of appearance):
Whole Foods (Andover, MA) Barbuto (New York, NY) West Bridge (Cambridge, MA) Four Seas Ice Cream (Centerville, MA) Mei Mei Street Kitchen (Boston, MA) Lyric (Yarmouth Port, Cape Cod, MA) Island Creek Oyster Bar (Boston, MA)
For more shots, follow me on Instagram
Featured in this post:
Bellagio Cosmopolitan Aria Planet Hollywood
Eat. Lotus of Siam Secret Pizza (Cosmopolitan) Hyde (Bellagio) Blue Ribbon Bar and Grill (Cosmopolitan) The Chandelier (Cosmopolitan) Sensi (Bellagio)
Joy Wilson - Joy the Baker Aimee Wimbush-Bourque - Simple Bites Tsh Oxenreider - Simple Mom Teri Lyn Fisher - Spoon Fork Bacon Jenny Park - Spoon Fork Bacon Sara and Hugh Forte - Sprouted Kitchen Eric Frishman (the man giving me a smooch)
Opening the Cape house involves very little work. We take the furniture outside, we wipe away some cobwebs and air out the rooms, which can get a bit musty during the six months we're away. Since the house isn't insulated very well, we utilize the fireplace as much as possible. Eric and his brother Andy went out to chop some firewood. They were so proud of themselves and had a nice bonding moment.
A few weeks ago, food stylist Molly Shuster and I spent an afternoon together working on a test shoot. We had a blast, playing around with a variety of burgers and sandwiches. Watching Molly build these dishes, I was struck by how much thought went into each one. It then occurred to me that it'd be fun to have Molly talk a bit about what it's like to be a food stylist and give us a little insight into the craft.
These two burgers obviously have a very different feel. What was your goal in creating these two different looks?
I think at it's best, what we do is inspire people to cook and get in the kitchen. I always love getting people to think about food and their relationship to it. So whenever I work on something I always think, what makes this beautiful? What about this is delicious? Sometimes you go into a shot and have a clear idea in your head of what something will be or what it will look like. Other times it's something that has to be found...sometimes that's easier than others!
As for the different feel of each burger, sometimes it's nice for things to be clean and structured and classic, other times it's nice to be loose and messy and a bit more familiar. And this often depends on the type of shoot you're doing...whether it be editorial, ad or commercial- they'll be certain objectives for each shoot and that often dictates the direction the food takes.
What is your working relationship like with photographers? Do you find it to be a collaborative process or does it vary from project to project?
Yes, absolutely, it's always a collaboration. Of course, that's one of the interesting things about this job- the team is never the same! You're always working with different photographers, crews and clients, and everyone has their own style and method. So it definitely varies shoot to shoot.
But that's also one of the great things about this job. You meet so many lovely, talented and creative people.
Any other fun tips/tricks/suggestions you want to throw out to food bloggers or aspiring stylists?
I'd say keep at it! Keep cooking. Keep writing. Follow your favorite food magazines and cookbook authors. Always seek out new foods and flavors. Cook the food that inspires you. Always be willing to try something new.
And if you're interested in styling- assist! There is no better way to gain experience than working for established stylists. I have learned so much and have a huge amount of respect for all of the women I've worked for. They've all taught me a tremendous amount and I feel hugely indebted to them.
A big congratulations to my sister on the new addition to her beautiful family. I was so honored to have been asked to take these pictures for them.
Over the last year, I've had the honor of writing and photographing for Edible Boston. The spring issue has just hit stands and is available in a number of stores and restaurants throughout the city. Flip through and you'll find an article that I did on local chefs who, in their spare time, enjoy tapping into their creative side. Chef Erwin Ramos, the owner of Ole, is a photographer and takes his camera on all of his travels to Mexico. Dave Becker of Sweet Basil spends hours in front of a potter's wheel creating plates and bowls for the restaurant. And Jeffrey Fournier, Chef/Owner of 51 Lincoln, has been painting and displaying his work since he was a teenager.
Chef Monica Glass (Pastry Chef at Clio and Uni, Boston)
Home town: West Chester, Pennsylvania
Past Restaurant Experience: Gotham Bar and Grill (NYC), Le Bernardin (NYC), 10 Arts Bistro & Lounge (Philadelphia), Fish (Philadelphia)
Follow Chef Moni on Twitter: @chefmoni
Dishes, In order of appearance:
Citrus Creamsicle (Clio)
Kaffir Lime Parfait (mousse) sprayed in white chocolate cocoa butter
White Chocolate Citrus Biscuit (cake)
Candied Citrus – pommelo, buddha’s hand, kumquats
Fresh Citrus – Satsuma, pommelo, blood orange, cara cara, finger limes, etc.
Jasmine Ice Cream “Pearls” – ice cream dropped in liquid nitrogen like dip n dots
Satsuma Tangerine Sherbet
Blood Orange Soup – cilantro, mint, Thai basil, ginger, fish sauce, grenadine
Hibiscus Poached Pineapple
Vanilla Aloe Granita
Black Sesame Tuile
Juniper Crème Fraiche Panna Cotta
Grapefruit Rose Sorbet
Sorghum Sponge Candy
Sorghum Juniper Tuile
Olive Donuts rolled in Olive Sugar
Meyer Lemon Cream (filled)
Black Currant Caramel
White Chocolate Meyer Lemon Pinenut Crumble
Honey Fried Pinenuts
Burnt Honey Ice Cream (infused with Licorice Mint)
*nut free ---
Coconut Rice Pudding
Salted Coconut Sauce
Mango Passion Fruit Curd
Coconut Rice Pudding
Compressed Mango (simple syrup, lime, salt)
Candied Black Sesame
Fizzy Mango (baking soda, malic acid, freeze dried mango)
Coconut and Passion Fruit Swirled Sorbet
For additional images not featured in this post, my portfolio can be viewed here: www.briansamuelsphotography.com
Basho/Douzo, Guchi's Midnight Ramen, Anna's Taqueria, Back Deck, Pain D'Avignon, Staff Meal, Bristol Lounge
Additional restaurants photographed in 2012 (previously posted)
When I ventured off to Roslindale, one of Boston's many neighborhoods, for a project I was recently worked on for AirBNB.com, I went out with no expectations. The research I did prior to the shoot was minimal... I figured that I'd find some spots along the way to take pictures of, but never did I imagine to find a thriving town, one filled with food, arts, and parks. I loved the murals that lined the town's walls and was struck by the number of restaurants, bakeries, and gourmet food shops. The farmer's market I came across was an added bonus. And I can't forget to mention the Arnold Arboretum, a beautiful reservation that's part of Boston's Emerald Necklace.
About a year ago, Tzurit, the owner of Tatte Bakery in Brookline, popped up on my Twitter feed and we started chatting. Our lengthy conversation soon turned to the topic of photography and she expressed interest in having me come in to photograph the opening of her upcoming shop in Cambridge. Jump five months and the second Tatte Bakery opened to much acclaim. I was there for the opening to get some shots, which I'm sharing with all of you today.
318 Third Street
Over the past few months, I've been sent to the South End for a variety of projects. My job for these shoots was to go out and capture the essence of the South End... and seeing how much culture the area encapsulates, it wasn't hard to find subjects to photograph.
Featured in this post (in order of appearance):