Shoot 5: Asian Noodle Soup
What is the next one? It's the Asian.
The pho, the Asian soup.
I'm not gonna like the pho. So we got the rice noodles and I got really beautiful Asian herbs, chilies.
And a clear broth.
So it's not murky. And then that's it, and a little bit of sliced chashu.
So, I think that'll come together really fast.
Oh, that's gonna be great.
Yeah, just slices of that.
Did you buy that or did you make it?
I bought it, I went with, Ann took me to this barbecue, King's Barbecue.
They have like, you know, the ducks and everything.
Just bought a piece of that.
Okay, so let's pick two bowls for our soup.
Here's the classic.
They might be a little bit big.
Yeah, that's a little too big. And then I can't contain it.
These could work. Either of these could work.
I'm gonna put stuff on the bottom to hold it up cause it'll sink.
Here's the sort of hot pot
h to it.
So, are the students shooting this also?
No, they're gonna shoot a version this but not what we're shooting.
Right but I can do two.
Yeah, you can do two.
Just trying to take out two bowls.
For sure, for sure.
This is probably too wide.
Yeah, that's a little bit wide, yeah. So the noodles are flat, and they, so we can design those noodles kind of in a swirl, cool.
Yeah, I don't wanna get to like, too you know who.
Cause that kind of bothers me but they'll be organized.
But they won't be like.
I just want a design in there.
Okay, what would you like?
Not too, no, not like that.
I want some--
I'm teasing you.
I just want a little energy. You know what I'm talking about.
I know, I know.
I trust you, Karen, you know this.
So what do you think, this one? Is that too, is it too narrow?
No, it's good.
It's kinda nice with the texture though.
One of these.
I like that.
Okay, let's go with that. You have two of those, right?
One's good, you wanna just do one?
Okay, so how are you shooting this?
Or should we, no, one, cause it's just gonna be.
We're gonna go, this one, I don't know if it's, things should go over it, totally over it.
Well, we talked about doing the noodles really strong graphically.
Okay, so you want--
Yeah, I guess.
And is there a little, I was thinking about having a little, a couple of condiment dishes. One maybe with chili oil and one with limes and maybe herbs. So it could be three things around it.
Yeah, that's a great idea.
And then of course we got our little wooden guys.
Yeah, these will be good.
Oh, that's great, yeah.
And then this and then something flat.
If you got solid stuff, I mean maybe but, well, there's that little one.
That's too, a little too big. I think between, this is too.
Oh, and I have, of course.
You know what I have too is also, I have some of my little metal bowls, maybe.
Oh, you have that one.
This one? Oh, yeah, this one here. Well, let's take them all out, we'll see. Let's frame it up.
Well, we can go.
This is kinda cool, with the green here.
This guy, you know, or whatever.
Why not pink, no, I'm just kidding.
It's my daughter's.
Very cute. Does she know how to use them?
She's getting better.
That's cool, that's sweet.
Are we working on the same set?
Ah, no, let's change it, let's sidelight it. So, we'll just move the tables. Yeah, yeah, yeah.
Oh, and texture, so, surface.
Yeah, I didn't wanna go too Asian-y.
So, we'll sidelight it and it's getting brighter in here. It must be sunny outside.
It's like crazy. Yeah, we'll sidelight it. So, Karen, let's talk surfaces, yeah, you're on it.
There's that guy.
This is cool. Oh, that's cool.
Is there writing on the other side too?
A little bit but.
Oh, I love that but I mean that would just.
A little too distracting?
You know. This is great.
No, it's a little, I think that's a little too distracting.
Yeah, well, is there stuff on the other side too?
There's this side of it.
We might need more of a surface.
If I pulled this off and you ended up here.
Can you try it on that, Karen?
I think this is too strong, though, these, the lines.
Might be too strong. See, cause you set that--
You just see a big line.
Yeah, no, you're right. Ah, no, this is like, it's too, what about that, this material?
I think that's kind of busy too. I think Kaleo said that yesterday. See, it's really distracting.
Yeah, yeah, yeah.
Let's see, we'll find something.
Let's see. This is similar to what we were just.
What about the new--
I don't know, the newspaper is too distracting.
I don't know, it's just too like, "I'm Asian," you know? (all laughing)
Sorry, I didn't mean to offend anyone, sorry about that. Especially myself but, you know. Ah, let's see.
Okay, what about.
Do you have a--
Is that weird?
And you're going overhead?
The soup's gonna be super graphic.
Frame the frame.
That could work.
I don't hate that.
Yeah, then something could sit out here, I don't know. Maybe we could try that.
So originally, like this, the energy is all here.
It is, yeah.
So, these are gonna get, like this is gonna be tight.
We can frame it and see what works.
Yeah, let's see what we have room for. We might not need all that other stuff.
But this one might also be a good one to have, like some more negative space and have these little condiments too.
I mean, with this as a focus.
And maybe cropped.
And I have solid like white and solid tan, you know, countertop surface too. I mean it's pretty boring but it's, you know, if you just want something dead clean, you know? You got that.
A little too sterile.
Yeah, no, I think that white plate. Let's go in that vein. I don't want it to feel like what we just shot. So, we just have to be aware of that.
Yup. (audience muttering)
Yeah, that's the last one?
Yeah, that's good. Are you sure that's the last one? Okay, that's good. I think we should put it in this!
A bowl in a bowl?
I like this but I know we already shot in it.
Yeah, I know.
Cool. You got that?
[Woman With Red Hair] Mmh-hmm. I got a cord behind you, oops.
We're gonna shoot on this again. Like that tabletop would be perfect, this thing?
Yeah, I think that would be a nightmare for the--
No, I know, just you know.
This would be nice and I don't know how much of it we'll see.
It's just in case.
Yeah, but I love the idea.
Well, we can bring the front table over too if you just want a piece of that.
The front? I don't think we're gonna need it. This is gonna be so--
Tight and if we go wide.
No, I'll wait till you frame it and then I'm not gonna mess with anything till it gets framed. But let me give you a, I'll work on a stand in.
Yo. (John mumbling)
No, I think that's, we're okay. I don't know that we're gonna see that background as much.
I'd just throw them in some water. Just a bowl of cold water.
John, I'm gonna need a ladder and my camera.
I just saw this too.
I got my camera.
There's also that.
Yeah, I think that might be too much shape. I don't know, let's put it off set for just a minute and see what.
I have a double so.
Are you gonna shoot from the end sideways or do we want it backlit?
I'm gonna do side-lit so just have to.
So, yeah, let's move this, let's transition this all over here.
Gonna shoot from (mumbles)
So, help me push this
Do you wanna reorient the tables so you have?
I'm just gonna put a ladder right there, so it should be fine.
Wanna pull that green one away? (object screeches across floor)
You know what, I'll use the green one too if we need too, it's fine, I can--
This is where you wanna be?
Just the way we had it earlier?
Let me get that C-stand down.
I can take a question while we're kinda setting up.
Don't make it a hard one. (laughter)
David in Seattle would like to know how much creative control you're generally given over an assignment.
100% if it's an editorial shoot, usually it's just like, "We need, we're doing, we're gonna feature this recipe." And I'm in the field photographing. I try to find the best one I can and then I photograph it, you know? So, sometimes it's, sometimes it's, yeah, it's 100% of however I wanna see it. For the most part.
Did you have to grow into that or do you like come out of the gates?
No, I think I did have to, well, of course I had to grow into it, yeah. I think when I did, when I first started, it was hard for me, like, when the plate would come, I would just shoot it. And I wouldn't explore it as much. And I felt confined because there was a lot of stuff happening around me and so I felt like I needed to get that, you know? And so I wouldn't spend as much time on the food. But then when I realized my food, my food photographs weren't as successful as the other photographs, I wanted to spend more time on the food. So that I could bring that up too. So that when I went out into the field, both could stand on their own, you know? I don't-- I want them both to be good, you know? Wow. Yeah. I'm gonna go check on my photograph here. Okay. Cool. I think that's gonna be nice. (dishes rattling) Yeah, thank you. It's kinda, the tape's pretty funky down there.
Yeah, we can--
can you re-, just.
Yeah, hook it over that one. I'll get more tape.
Yup. How much time, Karen?
About, I don't know, maybe five minutes.
Cool. Did we print that other hero? (offscreen mumbling)
[Woman With Red Hair] These are the four we have, over there.
I can show it to you.
Penny, can I ask you one more question?
How many shots do you shoot in a day and do you feel, as the day goes on the quality of your images goes up or down?
That's a good question. Yeah, it can go up and it can go down too. Depends cause you can get really tired. So, I think average six to eight, you know, it just depends, it really depends.
Six to eight shots?
It really depends, it depends, yeah. Six to eight, maybe 10, it just depends on, you know, what you're shooting. What budget you have, how much the client wants.
But you shoot six to eight shots or you, that's the keeper so you shoot how many?
Six to eight sets.
Six to eight different dishes.
Oh, I see. So how many shots?
I don't know how many frames.
Okay, you don't know, it varies.
That varies based on how many different, how many different versions we're gonna do, you know? You got it, John?
Not yet. Got it now.
I don't want this to feel like that one and I don't want it to feel like any of the others. So, I'm a little, I'm just in my head thinking I don't wanna go overhead again but we've got such a strong graphic.
That I might not have a choice. So, I'm just thinking about that. That's all I'm thinking about.
And we talked about incorporating these with sauces and some of these.
But when she plates it, it may be so beautiful.
That we wanna really make it simple.
So, we kinda just--
Yeah, just kinda wanna see what Karen, how Karen puts this together.
Okay, so, what are you looking at?
Oh, I'm just talking to myself, basically. Talking to Kaleo. I just don't want it, I'm trying to set a good example here and I'm just thinking about stuff. So.
Yeah, I mean the stuff is gonna be in a bowl. I mean there's no real opportunity to.
Yeah, it's hard. So, the noodles are gonna really be, this is an Asian noodle soup and so the noodles will be super graphic. Karen's gonna try to bundle them together and whisk them.
Rather than just throw them in the bowl and make it look like spaghetti.
Because I want it to be really strong graphically. So, and that may be so interesting and powerful that anything else may be, distract from it. But it may not, it may need a little bit of something else. So, we'll just have to see.
Okay, so why don't I do, let me just shoot a test here and see where my light is.
Yeah, I do. And Kaleo, can you move this down just maybe like three inches? Yeah. Yeah.
There you go (laughs). Subtle,
Nice and subtle. God, that's gonna be gorgeous. All right, I'm just doing a test. This is in no way how we're shooting this. Can you do stand-in or do you have enough?
Can do a stand-in, yeah.
You know if it's, if you're five minutes from being ready, I won't need it.
Okay, so you're shooting over here, right?
I just wanna make sure when I'm plating this, you're not gonna do, it's different if you do it three quarters.
Well, we're gonna, we talked about it being super graphic, right?
I definitely see that more overhead.
Okay. (offscreen mumbling)
Wait, was that this shoot or another shoot?
No, when we did that test, remember the ramen, there were two bowls.
Oh yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. I thought about doing two bowls but.
Okay. I just wanna make sure.
I mean maybe we could.
Well, let's just keep overhead. I wanna just keep it simple but I wasn't sure if you're gonna go with that particular angle.
But if you're seeing this overhead, let's just keep it.
You know that's another really good idea, is just putting two servings. A lot of people don't do that, they'll just do one serving, a single serving. And so you can change your pace a little bit and do two servings. That's always a nice kinda breath of fresh air, you know?
So that's something to think about. Anyway.
Two of the same bowl, like?
Two of the same bowl and yeah one would be cut of or not.
We got two matching bowls, so.
This one? Ah, cool, okay.
Yeah, I got doubles of that.
You guys are eating over there?
You're gonna have to share.
It's all mine.
Hey Penny, we got a question from the internet.
A Dacey asks about how the rights work on the photograph when you're working so closely with a stylist.
How the rice works?
The rights, yeah.
The rights to the photograph.
Thought they were talking about the rice. (Jim laughs) I'm not sure I understand. Meaning who owns the rights?
Basically they're asking who gets credit.
For the photograph?
Specifically said, "claiming creative input "and thus deserving a share of the rights."
Well, you always give who the food stylist was, who the prop stylist was, absolutely. And then the photographer, so.
I don't think, I haven't seen a byline that says created by.
So, you know. I see this as definitely a collaboration.
Well, you know, Karen, I can shoot this three quarter but I mean, if we're gonna do this graphic then it has to be overhead, I think, yeah. That's beautiful, the ingredients.
I know. You wanna shoot it?
Well, maybe one of the students want to when they're ready to go.
Well, it's gonna be all messed up after that, so.
All right. So, I'm gonna go ahead. This is a, same bowl. So, I'll just use this one.
Okay, Karen, Ready?
Okay (chuckles). All right, how about a couple of questions while I'm waiting for Karen?
Okay, a question from David in Seattle.
Another question. Hold please.
When you decide to choose among your final hero shots.
Is that something that you wanna see in print or is that primarily, you're just looking on your monitor or, you know, a digital file and deciding that. Or do you want to print those shots?
So, does that mean do I wanna send those to the client?
I guess, yeah, the shots that you wanna send to the client, are you printing those first for yourself? Or are you just looking at them on your monitor?
That's just for me while we're working.
But that's what I would send to the client.
Does that make sense?
You won't send your finals to print
Yeah, I won't send prints. Well, that's, it depends on the client. You know, I did a book for someone in London and I had to send them match prints so that they could know where my color was, where my exposure was. Even though I toned them exactly the way I wanted them when I sent them the pictures. I still needed to send them match prints so when it went to press, they were able to match that. So, in a shoot like this I would send them, these hero shots are my selects. If the client were here and had a different select, then obviously they'd get that picture. But normally I don't send prints unless they want them. And that sometimes happens.
And when you're deciding for yourself, you don't print them?
For my portfolio and I'm gonna show work, yeah, I'd print those for sure.
You do? Okay. All right. I don't know if you wanna talk anything about color management or anything like that? Not really? You calibrate.
Yeah, no, no, no, no.
I, sure, I know my monitors are calibrated.
The basics, I tone stuff, I do minimal toning, I expose for what I want. I started shooting on color transparency film. So, I try to shoot the exposure I want the picture to be. But I shoot in raw, so there's some flexibility. But for the most part, that's the print I want. That's how I want it to look. So, I don't do a lot of post at all. Very minimal.
And just to add on that question, just so we can get this, just square this away with the, when we were talking to Larry yesterday and he said he expects all raw files and, unedited raw files.
Is that true for every magazine?
No, that's true for Saveur. That's true for Larry. He wants to see the photographer's process. Which is wonderful for the photographer cause then that editor's gonna say, "what the hell are you doing?" "Are you okay?" But other magazines are like, "Just send me your 25 heroes, "send the 25 that you want us to publish "or that you want us to consider." And then you send it and you never hear anything (chuckles). And then you see it in the magazine and you're like, "Okay, I guess they like those." So, it varies from magazine to magazine.
And are those always raw or are they sometimes JPEG?
They're almost always processed TIFFs or JPEGs.
Okay. Good to know, thank you.
For Larry or for Saveur, it's RAW. It just depends on the magazine.
Okay, but a lot of times, it's JPEG.
But, I mean, it seems like the majority of them want them, your selects, in a high res JPEG. Which is good and bad.
Kim has an interesting question. Have you ever been charged with having to make food look unappetizing or disgusting?
I've never had that.
That would be a first. Okay, how we doing?
Good. So, I haven't added the stuff yet. I'll do that on set.
Just wanna make sure you're good with everything.
Yeah, no, it looks good.
I might bring the broth up a little bit.
Yeah, all right, cool. Okay.
Do you wanna go from large shadows here? (banging)
Should I have a card ready for ya?
Yeah, let's put a card in there. Let's make it nice and bright.
Is there an apple box somewhere?
So, we're gonna add a card to, punch a little more light on the left. I want it to be kinda even.
Kaleo, this is fine, this is good yeah. Thanks.
Looks great, Karen.
Looks really great. So, yeah, I think you're right, we should do condiments.
Yeah, okay, I'll see how you're framed and then I'll add in what I need to add.
Going pretty tight and I'm not taking any of that yellow paper.
What I don't want it to feel like is like the mussels.
Just keep that in mind. (camera clicks) [Penny] John, can, yeah--
Can you put this over here? Loosen this and swing it out, so I can look at it. And bring it a couple inches towards me and tighter to the table, cool.
Oh yeah, yeah, I'll take a little bit. (camera clicks)
Can you turn those?
Gonna sprinkle some thyme on there. (camera clicking)
All right, cool. That's kind of where we're going, Karen. I think we should play with the bowls.
Okay, can I move this card?
Yeah, let me push it out.
Can you see it from here?
Yeah, I can. So, I think we should off center this a little.
This feels heavy although there's nothing in it yet. Is there something?
Yeah, that brown bowl is too dark.
Yeah, let's go with this. Maybe I'll just.
Yeah, yeah, there ya go.
Let's get some limes on here.
Yup. Yeah, that's nice. That's really nice, yup. Yup.
What can we put in here? Maybe some chilies would be good.
Beautiful. Yup. Yeah, those curves in the noodles are really nice. Looks really good. Yeah, that's awesome. Yup!
Okay, this is gonna die pretty, not super quickly but, just cause it's a little warm, it should be okay. I mean we're good for a little bit.
So, just be aware of the light on this camera towards the window. Just don't block the light when I'm ready to shoot. So, I'm gonna crop that so I get some tension in the frame with the soup. So, it's not gonna be like dead center. That looks gorgeous. I'm gonna do it. Can I get someone to hug me just back here for a minute. Right there, that's good. That's beautiful. Okay, I'm gonna do a test.
Is there anything else you're going to put in?
No, I'm good.
Yeah. We'll take a look at it and then.
Let's just look at it cause we still have the smaller ones. Here we go. Oh, this is gorgeous. I mean it's really pretty.
Oh, all you need is the chili oil?
Yup, you wanna put that in? I'm gonna go down, it's okay I've got it.
Maybe a little bit of the chili flakes? I'll take some of those. I'll just mix this stuff together just to fake it. (camera shutter clicking)
Can you orient that for me, John?
Chili oil coming in?
Yeah. That's beautiful, damn.
I think the chili oil.
That'll pop it really nicely.
Okay, this leaf is sticking out weird. I think I got one here somewhere but where'd it go?
All right, so are we good?
How is this here? Do you want me to pull something out?
Yeah, the bottom one needs to come.
This one like here?
Yeah, there ya go.
Is that enough stuff around there?
I think so.
Yeah, that's great.
Okay. (camera shutter clicks)
There's like a weird piece of something on that red chili, Karen.
Okay. Where? That's a chili flake.
It just looks funky there.
You replace this?
Yeah, that's gorgeous. what do you think, how do you like it?
There's kinda that white, I don't mind that empty white space on the left.
I love it.
It just feels--
It leads you in.
Gives it some edge.
Cause the soup is so complicated that it's nice to have that.
I think it's beautiful. The two pieces of green parsley, basil, on the left are a little too perfect for me.
Yeah, no, on the plate. So, they're kinda facing the same angle. Yeah.
And out slightly. Yeah, that's it. And, yeah, there ya go, break it. Good. you know what, look at that real quick, I think it's a little off. That last one.
No, I liked it before. It's a little attention-grabbing. I think it needs to go in.
That first one was okay, I think.
Come out just a little with it, Karen. Just a touch, there ya go. (camera clicks) What did you say, John?
The latest one is on the screen.
Okay, cool. (camera shutter clicking) okay.
I think we got our hero.
That's actually interesting as the oil too. All right cool, I think we got our hero.
Would you put that in your portfolio, Karen?
Good job. (crew clapping) Thank you, guys.
Thank you both.
Oh, you're welcome.