March 2005

Kay Warren Book Cover Image

Shooting food is both easy and hard. Photographing it is the easy part. Not eating it is the hard part.

In January we completed a day of food photography for The Four Seasons – Scottsdale. I have had the opportunity to dine there on several occasions but even with that, as each dish came out to be photographed my taste buds tingled with unfulfilled anticipation!

For this particular shoot we only had a brief window of time in which we had to photograph quite a variety of dishes. We were moving rather quickly for a few reasons, one was that brief period of time available to us and the other is the fact that many dishes are only visually appealing for a few minutes at best. There was one desert that we shot which had a decorative ribbon of chocolate atop. The desert was placed in front of the camera, positioned, and we snapped one frame …. just one, and the ribbon collapsed from the sunlight’s heat. Thankfully on this occasion we got the shot in that one frame.

Generally when shooting food you usually get the luxury of a “stand-in” a plate of food that is for the most part, exactly like the one you are really going to photograph. This plate lets you futz with lighting and composition. Then when everything is just right a fresh “hero” plate is put together in the kitchen while everyone on camera is at-the-ready, so that when the hero is dropped into the exact same spot you can shoot several frames in rapid succession to get just the right image. Well for this Four Seasons shoot we did not have that luxury. Each plate that was set in front of the camera WAS the hero plate… no second chances!

And after each plate we shot the Chef generously offered to let us sample each one! Unfortunately, we weren’t able to really sample anything because as soon as we were done with one item, the next one was on its way and we had to reset the lighting and props for it.

I think at the end of the day I was finally able to get about a half teaspoon of what seemed like a delicious Crème Brulee, but I’m not positive.