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)
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)
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):