As mentioned, one of the most significant advantages digital photography has over film is that digital provides instant feedback on every image you shoot. It also brings the photographer, the food and prop stylists, and the clients closer together in the creative process, while reducing the time and expense of a shoot.
In the studio, digital images are instantly available on a monitor or video screen. I can set up a slide show so that clients and I can review an entire series of images on-site, and pick the ones to use as final photographs. If the client is not present at the shoot, low-resolution versions of the images can be sent via e-mail or can be uploaded to a Web site for review. I can even set up a Web page that can display multiple images. These online digital contact sheets provide an expedited editing process and closer collaboration with clients. This certainly beats the old working method of sending transparencies via messenger or over-night delivery and waiting hours or days for feedback and approval!
This contact sheet shows shots of tuna tartare with buffalo mozzarella taken at various angles and distances. Each image is labeled with an identifying file number.
Imagine how exciting the creative process is when the conversation goes like this:
"What do you think?"
In this first shot for Barilla, I started with a very bright light source to mimic sunlight and create an outdoor feeling. The eggplant rolls prepared by the food stylist did not show enough ricotta filling. There was too much sauce, and the position of the thyme was not right. The prop stylist chose a placemat that had too much texture, and was too close in color to the wooden surface of the table.
"Let me try thishow about this one?"
I lowered the angle of the camera to add depth to the image, and softened the lighting to reduce the highlights because I felt that bright light made the eggplant look greasy. I added mirrors to give more detail to the front of the eggplant rolls. The food stylist reduced the amount of sauce and remade the rolls to show more filling. The prop stylist substituted a red placemat to create more contrast, and added a fork and potted herbs to the background to enhance the mood.
"Give me a minuteit's almost there."
Taking advantage of the instant feedback provided by digital photography, the creative team and photographer worked together on the set to get the perfect shot.
"It's just what I wanted!"
The final shot. I slightly repositioned the camera and added another mirror to get an extra highlight. I also reduced the depth of field to throw the background out of focus. The food stylist made a final adjustment to the positions of the eggplant rolls and the thyme. The prop stylist changed the angle of the napkin and the fork, and added more background elements to complete the space.
You know you got the shot when the client says...
Scampi photographed in harsh sunlight.
The client wanted natural light to create an outdoor mood. This reference shot was taken to record the dish, natural lighting, dark shadows, and background.
It's a challenge to compensate for the sunlight.
Using supplemental light, reflectors, and mirrors brings out the highlights in the dish and details in the shadows, while still taking advantage of the natural sunlight.
When shooting digitally, you don't have to use different types of film such as daylight, tungsten, transparency, or negative. You also don't have to set the ISO speeds or attach color correction filters, because the ability to change and adjust all these settings is included in the camera's software. Even if you miscalculate, you can correct a wide range of image details on the computer, especially if you shoot in the RAW format.
Digital provides the photographer more latitude and creative freedom than ever before. As a professional, it is a great advantage for me to have total control from start to finish, because in addition to shooting the images, I can also prepare them for reproduction. Digital gives me the ability to create my own color separations, prints, and copies that are as good as the originalsand charge for these services! This saves me time and saves my clients money by removing labs and other external vendors from the process. In fact, most labs that have not converted to digital technology have gone out of business. What a time-saving, cost-effective, and high-quality process digital photography has proven to be!