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Food Photography

Lesson 16 of 19

Shoot: Food Truck (Skillet)

 

Food Photography

Lesson 16 of 19

Shoot: Food Truck (Skillet)

 

Lesson Info

Shoot: Food Truck (Skillet)

We're back, we are in this truck called Skillet, this is like the thing to do in Seattle. I'm here with Josh, he's our chef, and he's cooking lunch for the entire staff today. You know, it's 2011, you live in the US, if you're not eating from a taco truck or a food truck you've been living under a cave. So we had to shoot this, this is about American food culture right here, right now. So, Josh, did you wanna do a shout-out? Hey, Baba, hey, Huxley, hey, Kelly. Awesome, that's so cute. Can you pause for a second, while I put this on? Yeah. So we're gonna mic Josh really quickly, and he's making us lunch, and I'm gonna shoot this. And I'm gonna try to shoot it like I would a story. So my assignment is to come and photograph chef Josh as he's preparing a meal. I'm gonna think about my sense of place, I'm gonna think about details, portraits. All those things that we talked about earlier. And it's just me inside here, inside this what, I don't know what our dimensions are in here...

. Get it straight, yeah. So here's what I want from you, I want you to just ignore me. Okay. I'll probably do a portrait of you and I'll pause you, but if you have to take care of something, feel free to do it and then we can get the portrait at some point. But just do your thing-- so right now, ready to go? Yeah, just do your thing, and I'll do my thing, and we'll go from there. Okay, and I'm gonna try to talk to you, guys, and tell you what I'm thinking as I'm thinking it. And that will be a challenge. All right. I'm gonna go outside eventually here in a minute and then I'm gonna do a sense of place, I'm gonna try to shoot this like in its location. I wish it was like six a.m. and the sun was rising, and it was a beautiful gold (fan whirring drowns out speaker), but that's not the case. I talked about this earlier, I kind of start with details, 'cause they kind of help me stretch my legs a little bit, so that's what I'm gonna do, just gonna look for some details. 'Cause I'm still kind of getting my legs here. Okay, so there's a detail. (fan whirring) (camera clicking) I'm always kind of watching what he's doing, so making sure that I'm getting what I need to get, seeing what I need to see. Okay, there we go. (fan whirring) All right. I like it, it's like I'm cooking alone. I'm not used to talking to myself like this. I know. So I'm trying to get this detail, but the white gloves are kind of not working, so I'm just waiting here for them to work if they ever work. And personally, when people cook with white gloves. Oh, you didn't have to take them off, I was kind of talking to-- It's all right. People on the other end, but that's cool. That's a grill mark right there. (fan whirring) So normally with those gloves on it's just, I think it takes away from a photograph. So I'll still look, but maybe there's not a picture. (oil crackling) Can you hand me that stool, I put a stool right out there, thank you. This floor is super slippery, I don't wanna fall. (oil crackling) Sorry. It's all right. I don't wanna be in your way. You're fine. I'm gonna get the detail, hand me that ladder. Just gonna get a detail of this cooking here. (oil crackling) All right. This is like crazy slippery, I do not wanna bust my ass. I'll catch you. All right, only if you promise. (oil crackling) Yeah, I'm good. (oil crackling) (camera clicking) (oil crackling) Are you gonna add more oil to that eventually? No, I'm just gonna start turning them, 'cause they're gonna caramelize. Can you give me a heads up when you're gonna turn them? Yeah, cool. That's the photo I want, I want that color turning. And those are going where? In here. Okay. And they're gonna be-- Eventually on the fries. Okay, cool, eventually on the fries, okay. Yeah. So like I'm making a ton of pictures, and are any of these heroes yet, no, I don't think, but, you know, I'm just exploring the situation, I'm just trying to, I'm just looking, that's all I'm doing, is I'm looking. I'm gonna try to get a scene here, which I don't believe this is gonna work. Could you give me a heads up when you put anything on those, on those two skillets? Yup, I'm gonna add curry to it as soon as it caramelizes. Okay. Just let me know when you're going over there. Okay. (oil crackling) (camera clicking) (oil crackling) All right. I'm about to chuck one. You'll be chucking them? Yeah. Can you do that just a little slower for me just so I can catch it, that's great. Keep moving it, but just be aware that I'm. (oil crackling) I'm gonna try and turn the asparagus. All right. (oil crackling) (coughing) Yeah, it'll get a little smoky in here. All right, so I'm gonna add curry to this. Which one? I'm gonna add this to that, to the cauliflower. To the cauliflower? Yeah. Okay. Let's talk about it real quick. Okay. Can you come on that side? Yeah, that's great. Yeah. Just so I can get the action. Yeah. Thank you. That's great, thank you. (oil crackling) Come on (fan whirring drowns out speaker). Come on. Keep going, it's okay, my camera was, the camera's locked to the tether. Locked for the what? Okay, there we go. It pauses because I'm tethering. (fan whirring) Smells amazing in here, my God. (fan whirring) Okay, just right in front of ya. (oil crackling) (pans clinging) Is that a spoon you were just using to turn this? That's hot. You can use those tongs too. Cool. You would normally turn it with the tongs or it doesn't matter? No, doesn't matter. (fan whirring) (camera clicking) (fan whirring) This is a first for Pennaynay, this is a total first. (camera clicking) (fan whirring) Are we still planning on 35? Yeah. Okay. (fan whirring) I'm right behind you. Okay. Oh, sweet. So now you're making the burgers? Well, I'm just gonna get the buns started, 'cause we want crispy buns, warm buns. Who doesn't want a crispy bun? Who doesn't? (camera clicking) That's beautiful, I love that breeze coming in. (Josh laughing) (fan whirring) (camera clicking) (fan whirring) (camera clicking) (fan whirring) (camera clicking) Okay, I'm gonna add some rice to a pan. Okay. What were you stirring these with, just out of curiosity, were you stirring it with anything? Just the tongs. Can I borrow those? Yeah. Thank you. (fan whirring) Throwing that rice in a pan? Okay, cool. In this pan, yeah. (camera clicking) (fan whirring) Okay, so I'm just, so the challenge for me here is really trying to show him in his space. Which is super tight, and the light isn't great. I just wanna kind of convey something that says what he's doing who he is. That's gonna be my hardest picture, my hardest. Get in here. (fan whirring) All right, so I'm (fan whirring drowns out speaker), just getting this cooking motion. (oil crackling) It'll get a little smoky in here. All right, when you're at a point I'd love to get a portrait, wait, can you stop right there for a second, let me get that portrait, that's great. Super casual, I just, I love the way you looked. It's really nice. That's great, just don't move. Small smile for me. Hold just a second, here we go, ready, one, two, three. (camera clicking) Awesome. (oil crackling) All right, cool, so my struggle here is to just still try to find something that really resonates with me and the way that I wanna see this, or I'm hoping to see this, or trying to see this. And I'm definitely confined by this small space. This is crazy. Crazy. This is crazy, so what goes in here, salad? pudding. Pudding. Yeah. Oh, that's really pretty, oh, that's really pretty. Keep going, I'm sorry, I'm not pausing you. Whoops, get a chunk there. Okay, that's gorgeous. That's really pretty. (speaking in foreign language) I have a picture, thank God. Yay, I still maybe have a job after this. Okay, that's great. So you know what, I really believe that God is in the details. For me, it just kind of helps me breathe a little easier, then I can feel like I have a picture somewhere. Here we go, wow. Let's see what that looks like after it gets tossed. (fan whirring) Yeah, I'm gonna wait for that to toss, I don't like the way, it's beautiful, but it looks a little, maybe it's not identifiable, so let's just kind of pause. And, okay, so I'm checking that burner, see what's going on. Just kind of thinking about everything that's happening in here, and if I'm getting it. That's great. (camera clicking) Beautiful. (camera clicking) Beautiful. Staying with this moment and just seeing what happens, just waiting, waiting. (camera clicking) Checking my focus. Just waiting, that light in that window is really helping me. Beautiful. I'm just gonna wait here and see if anything else happens. It's all I'm doing. Good. (fan whirring) that's great window light, huh, look at that. Okay, all right, so I don't feel, I feel like the one picture I don't have is just him kind of doing his thing, so let's try to make that one next. Maybe it's around the stirring. Okay, I have the burgers on. Yeah, awesome. I'm right there with you. (fan whirring) It could get a little smoky in here. That's cool. But we've had problems with it the last-- It's okay. Days. (fan whirring) I'm cool with it. (engine revving) (oil crackling) I'm right behind you, just so you know. Picture here. (fan whirring) There's a picture here, I'm just waiting. (camera clicking) (fan whirring) You see. I like the light kind of giving some nice tone from below. There you go. (camera clicking) Just kind of anticipating. (fan whirring) (camera clicking) (fan whirring) (camera clicking) (fan whirring) (camera clicking) (fan whirring) (camera clicking) Let me know if I'm. Okay. You just tell me, I'll move right out of the way. (fan whirring) Okay, so let's see, the window light helps me a lot here, so when he goes in that direction, I'm on it. It's a really nice light. (camera clicking) Again, you know, this is something that maybe a couple pictures (fan whirring drowns out speaker). I'm not gonna try to walk out of here with like 12, with an entire, like, I'm just gonna try to walk out of here with the best that I can get. And if I get two or three pictures, then I'm happy. (fan whirring) If I get more than that, that's gravy. (camera clicking) Really great light right here, really nice detail. (fan whirring) (camera clicking) (fan whirring) (camera clicking) (fan whirring) (fan whirring drowns out speaker) Burgers in about-- Okay. One minute. Okay, there's a cord right behind you, just let me know, I don't want you to trip or anything. I'm already tripping. I'm tripping too, man, yeah. (fan whirring) You have no idea, so those are gonna stay there for a second on there. Yeah, just for probably two, three minutes. Can I borrow that ladder again? Yeah. Are you, guys, having fun? Over there. Oh my God, I don't even know where my ladder is. It's over there. Yeah, it's over here. I'm having a blast, can't you tell? I'm earning my money today. All right. Totally, so I'm still trying to make this picture where I get he's just super intimate with what he's doing, so I really wanna try to find that picture. And I don't know that I'm getting yet, but I'm trying. My light is, you know. So again, there's a lot of wonderful details here, so that's great, I think those always add, incredible, there we go, some of that that's gonna help me with my exposure in that plane, you see that? Nice look. So just gonna wait here, and see if this happens. Just gonna wait, when he goes down again, I'm ready. He looks up, that's even better. (fan whirring) There is-- So are you gonna turn those burgers one more time after this, or is that it? Yeah, I'm gonna add cheese. Okay, so they get one flip and then cheese, or cheese? One flip and then cheese. Cool. All right, so I'm gonna hold on that, I'm always asking the questions and anticipating the next move. I'm just gonna make this picture really quickly. This is nice. Thinking about my exposure here, great window light. I'm right behind you. Okay. (camera clicking) We are intimate. We are. In Skillet. (fan whirring) Crap. (fan whirring) Wait, you gotta give me a heads up if you do that again. Just let me know. Okay. I should've said something. (fan whirring) (camera clicking) Okay, that flame could've been nice, but his body language isn't right, so I'm just gonna wait. Again, I'm just waiting, this picture may or may not happen, but I wanna be ready when it does. (fan whirring) It does happen, that flame's gonna kick up and my exposure's gonna go hot, so I can kind of anticipate that. I might start, I gotta move that back. Otherwise no one's in here. Dammit, all right, guys, one more time. You're doing great, thanks for working with us. This looks great. (fan whirring) All right, so I'm just, again, I'm just kind of reacting to stuff, trying not to react too much and more listen to my instincts. That's always the struggle. So this picture, again, I'm just waiting for it to happen. So I got smoke, and it's-- Yeah, the fan-- That's okay, it's totally cool. Well, it's actually not, 'cause we'll be out of here in about 30 seconds if we-- Really? Yeah, if this fan doesn't end up going, so. Well, in terms of my photos it's fine. (fan whirring) All right, all right, so I got a portrait, I got details, I've got sort of a sense of place. Just going back to the (fan whirring drowns out speaker). Let's see. I feel like there's a picture here, and so I'm just kind of waiting for it. And I'm going back to it, and just paying attention to that area if it happens again. Yeah. You know, it is what it is, and you do the best that you can do with what you've been given, that's it, that's all you can do, you know? Just do your best. Probably you can do. Okay, those are coming off the grill and it's giving-- Well, I gotta take them out, just 'cause of the way the hood is delivering now you, guys, are gonna get smoked out. We're flying another fan right now. What's that? We're flying another pan right now, is that gonna help? You're flying in the what? A fan? Oh, no, we've got a fan in here, yeah, it's not, part of it was why we got circulation, and the circulation got broken. No, but what's cool about this is that this is a real assignment for me, this is how I would have to shoot this, and I would just have to deal with it, you know, and you just look for your nuance pictures where you can. That's right. So I'm gonna take these off. I think if we-- You, guys, might wanna get below the smoke level. Yeah, the smoke's kind of getting intense right now. Okay, let's step outside for a minute. Do some Q and A, maybe when it clears out we can come back in. Yeah. Susan, do you have a question for me? (fan whirring) So, one question from the audience is does the smoke soften the space, the contrast, or the space that you're working with? What do you mean by soften, what does that mean? Susan, what do they mean by soften, we have a little chain of command going here. Soften, I'm imagining-- Did I get that question right? Does the smoke soften-- How does the smoke interfere with your photo? Well, so smoke is white, and so it can be distracting, and if I'm trying to photograph the food, which is in this case it was meat it takes away from it. So it can be a nice element, but you just have to be careful 'cause it can tend to overpower it, and the eye is distracted, 'cause it's white. So the eye kind of goes to the lighter elements in an image. How is it on your lens in your camera, is that super bad? You have to be very careful with that, I don't always put filters on my lenses. That's one way to kind of perhaps counter that, but I don't have one on, that lens. I'm switching filters when I'm shooting landscapes and stuff. So you know. Yeah, but the film on your lens can totally get burned off for sure easily. Okay, so you were saying the other day you go through lenses like crazy, how often do you go through-- Well. I mean, I can start to tell when it's starting to fall apart, maybe once a year, once a year. No, no, no, what am I saying, once every year and a half, two years. Okay. Doing platters. Yeah. I'm gonna get a shot of (fan whirring drowns out speaker). You have other questions, that was just. Yeah. Three minutes. Okay. Three minutes and we're gonna have platters. Let's get a PA over here, Nico, can you get a PA over here to us? Oh, he's right there, can you get ready to get platters from him? They were digging that, are we already off camera? No, no, no, we're on, I'm producing and doing this at the same time, and it's scattered. Well, you know, it was a little challenging, because, well, it's a confined space, I had two other shooters with me, the camera people. And then it's just tight in there, the light wasn't great, but there was some window light. I guess the reality is is that's an assignment, I can't tell you how many times I've been in that situation. And that's an assignment, they're looking for one picture, two pictures, it's not necessarily a picture story. So you do the best that you can do, you look for those nuances, and it is what it is, and I learn from every experience, and it's just like, you know, that's what happens. I mean, so the continuation of this would be kind of platters, and from here I would, like if he's pulling out platters, I don't know how he's planning them, that's something else to think about. 'Cause really, if you think about the pacing of a photograph or the way a story might be told, it might be a portrait which I feel like we got, it might be a moment in there with him when he was flipping the burgers and kind of looked up maybe we got that, I don't know. And then some details, and then these platters coming out, if they're nice, that's a really great food beauty. And then you've kind of told the evolution of this person. The other shot you wanna think about is an exterior if it lends itself to that. And in this case it's not so great, but you can expose a certain way to kind of accentuate other parts of this environment to give it some drama. Another one? Go for it. We're doing it. When do you use black and white, are you thinking of that while you're taking pictures? No, I'm not. It's all post things? That's a great question, no one's ever asked me that. Yeah, I guess it's a post thing, I don't really think about, that's a great looking platter. I don't think about, I don't know how to answer that, I'm gonna be honest. Yeah, I guess it's post now, yeah, I don't really think about that. You do photograph differently with black and white, especially in environments. So I think it's a conscious decision you make approaching a subject based on the subject. And then I think you could do it in post, and that's fair game if you feel like it translates better or communicates better, or has more drama in black and white, that's totally fair. Okay, let's go one more, Susan. They've been wondering, I guess you've been asked this question a lot, if you like to cook as much as you like to photograph? I love to cook, I love to cook. I think I'm a pretty, you know, I mean, yeah, I love to cook. Do you have a go-to dish, do you have a favorite? Oh, man. I don't know, I try to be really healthy, so I eat a ton of kale. I can't believe I'm, I'm just, this is crazy. They wanna know, they've been asking. I try to be healthy, I tend to eat really, this is weird, guys. Okay, we're not gonna-- no, no, no, I'll answer it. Okay, what's my go-to dish? Really, it's fluffernutters, but she's gonna tell you something healthy right now. What is my go-to dish? Oh, man, I got it, done, I can't even believe I didn't remember this. I make a great savory oat meal, so instead of it being sugar with whatever you wanna put on oatmeal, I do the opposite, I do savory. So I do really great olive oil, some really great sea salt, like a higher end sea salt, and some cracked pepper. If you really wanna indulge, you use some shaved Parmesan on there. Hold the phone, it's done. Are you gonna (fan whirring drowns out speaker). Sure, why not. Okay, well, we'll broadcast that. I make some great Mexican food, my mother handed down to me some really wonderful recipes. So I think I do that pretty well too. If you could talk to a 20 year old right now what's one piece for advice that you would give them about this. About this or about this career or what? About this career, like I wanna go into food photography, what do you tell them, like what's some advice to give? Do I do the diplomatic answer or do the tough love answer? Do the one that feels right. God, these people know me already. If you're 20 and you wanna be a photographer, and it's honestly really what you wanna do with your life, why not, I truly believe that you should do what makes you happy. It is tough, it's not easy, do you need to go to school, no, but you need to work really, really, really, really, really hard. And I guess my advice to you if you're is that you would keep your why you're doing this intact. Just keep your ego in check, don't get ahead of yourself, stay humble. And just try to remember what it's really about, why did you fall in love with the camera? Did you fall in love with the camera, why did you fall in love with the camera. I know why I fell in love with the camera. Why I fell in love with the idea of making pictures, and so remember that, remember that feeling, remember that moment. 'Cause that's what'll get you through the years. We have Josh in here, Skillet, I'm sorry. Oh, they're giving away some stuff, aren't they? They're giving away some stuff, yeah. That's cool, that's cool. Hey, Josh, now's a really good time if you wanna come on out with your bacon stuff. We're talking bacon. There was a rumor going on in the chatroom that you, guys, were really wanting some bacon giveaways. And we created like-- There it is. No, do you wanna come out here and talk about it. You wanna come in here? Come on, come on, come on, he doesn't wanna be in the rain. No, I got stuff burning. Oh, you're burning. All right, just talk about it, it's bacon. I'll tell you what I know about this. So Skillet, Seattle loves Skillet, they travel around and they have this calendar. You can check where they're gonna be, they go in parking lots and just all sorts of stuff, and they always have this huge line out front. Look at this, this is gorgeous. That, you gotta get a shot of that, that's beautiful. This is what Skillet does. So if you're lucky-- let me just grab one of those, I'm just kidding. If you're lucky on a film shoot they'll come in, they'll do your catering, so this is theirs. Can I have this? I bet if you ask nicely. I'm joking, I'm joking. Skillet bacon spread is what it is. It says, what the heck is bacon jam, a tasty condiment we created in our air stream trailers here in Seattle. You can eat it with a spoon, but also goes great on burger sandwiches, mashers and scrambles. Possibilities are endless. You want this. So we're gonna be giving this away at the next break. Quishe, baked potatoes, you name it. You can put this bacon spread on it. So we will be giving this away to one of you lucky peeps in just a minute for the Twitter drawing. But if you want, you can go to skillet.com and check it out. It sounds like they ship this all over the world. I think we're gonna go to lunch, we're hungry, it sounds like he's ready to roll here.

Class Description

Join award-winning photographer Penny De Los Santos for this 15-hour course. When you think about food photography, it's not just about what's on the plate. It's about everything around it. The details, the scenes, the people, the culture, the history, the geography, and especially the moments. Food connects all of us. Food photography is the crossroad, where culture, food, and people come together.


Supplement this course and master your post-processing skills with classes from the Lightroom and Photoshop tutorials series. 

Reviews

Michelle B
 

Penny is the best with Food photography and at telling a story with pictures. This was the very first class I ever saw on Creative Live and Penny was amazing! Her class is so informative to all the aspects of food photography, from styling, to plating to shooting and lighting. and how to tell a story. What she taught me will never go out of style and will inspire you too. Thank you Penny for this outstanding class!

a Creativelive Student
 

Totally love this course!! What a find especially for the price - such a wealth of information and what a great positive spirit!! Thanks Penny for sharing - keep up the excellent work!

joayne
 

Love, Love, Love Penny. What great energy. I will never look at food the same way. Her story and her vision really touched me. She was so generous in sharing her knowledge in such simple terms. One of my favorite classes!