I was contacted by Willowbrook foods to do some food photography. Willowbrook farm as it is known, grow, process and supply fresh vegetable produce to retailers and to the catering/food production industry. They had some recipes and ingredients they wanted photographed as prepared dishes rather than the raw ingredients they normally supply. The dishes were all to be photographed on a dark marble surface as they wanted the images to be consistent.
I arrived and started to set up in the technical kitchen. The room had white walls and a white ceiling. I knew that they wanted to photograph the product on a dark marble surface so I felt I needed to keep the lighting quite low and keep the contrast high otherwise the dark marble would look grey. The problem with white walls and a white ceiling is that it just bounces and reflects all the light from the studio flash heads around the room. If i’d used an umbrella for these photographs I wouldn’t have been able to control the spread of the light as well. In the end I used a large softbox as the main light and a couple of lights with barn doors and a snoot, which is really just a large cone shape the light gets fired through. This allowed me to keep the light going where I wanted it too.
Once the lighting was set up it was usually just a case of adjusting it slightly for each shot. The staff in the kitchen did a great job of getting everything cooked up just in time so that as I finished one we didn’t have to wait long for the next dish to be ready.