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Getting Started in Professional Food Photography

Lesson 6 of 21

Food Photography Gear


Getting Started in Professional Food Photography

Lesson 6 of 21

Food Photography Gear


Lesson Info

Food Photography Gear

This is just a small selection of the crucial gear that I use on a regular basis. I'll explain why I use what I use. This is kinda just a quick shot of kinda one of our load outs that we do. I have a lot of different pieces of specialized gear, but, you do not have to start out-- I mean, once you get working-- Once you really start to get known on a national level, gear just kinda comes. It doesn't become expensive anymore, because your clients are paying you to do a job, to do it right, and they need you. You need to invest in gear that works for you. And, the most important thing is when you're first starting out, you wanna try-- You wanna rent lenses, you wanna try everything out. You wanna rent camera bodies? Which camera body do I like? And get to know a system, really well. And then, you'll start chipping away at stuff. You'll start saying, "I never use that lens." And, then get rid of it, I never use that. It's okay to collect gear, especially rent it, and try it. Especially, wh...

en you are doing test shoots. I wanna try this lens, it's okay to make a mistake, now, and I don't know this lens. I use Nikon and occasionally we'll rent a medium format for jobs, but only when they require the resolution that a medium format offers. I love medium format, I have no interest, really, in owning it, that could change. There's a new Hasselblad that just came out, that looks fantastic. We use a phase-- There is a hundred megapixel one that came out, that one of our colleagues has, that I just rent, and it's not cheap to rent, either. It's about a thousand bucks a day, or... Somethin' like that. Somethin', yeah, it's a lot. But, I only need the tool to get the job done. I was obsessed about gear for eight years, for a long time, before I started really getting into photography. And, now I've kinda lost the-- I love what I have, and I love it a lot, and I wouldn't trade it. I'll kinda go through where I ended up and how I got there. Now, first there's two arms to-- There's two different ways I shoot. I mean, I'll shoot natural light, but very rarely. I'll shoot, either, using LEDs, or, I'll shoot using strobes. LED is cool, it doesn't get hot. It's portable, I've got one stuck to the roof of that oven, and I just bend it so it forms the shape of the roof of the oven. It's just a really convenient, and easy way to pack a lot of light, into a small package. So, this is kinda like my digital tech bag that I have, so, when I'm on my own, and I'm traveling, I can have all the cords. This cord doesn't work, it's still in there 'cause I haven't gotten rid of it, yet. (instructor laughs) I have a microphones for audio capture, I do motion as well. I have a background in sound design and sound capture. I love that part of it, I'm not a pro though, so it depends what the project is. So, we have an audio work station, audio interface, and I do a lot of stuff with the motion side of things. You'll notice, when you start to get a lot of gear, you'll get a lot of bags. I have bags, I have a storage unit full of empty bags. And, you can't-- I feel weird getting rid of 'em, I should just Craigslist 'em. So, if anybody wants a bag, just look 'em-- I'll have 'em on my blog and I'll be selling 'em. But, it's full of empty bags. I've moved-- I've progressed with my gear, and sorta paired it down. That's what happens, is you get excited about gear, you finally reach a level of some success, and you're getting a lot of gear, and, then you sorta pair it down, because you're getting older, and my back hurts all the time, now, and I can't lift it. I make Jack do it sometimes. So, I'll kinda go through, piece by piece, what we're lookin' at here. I'm gonna start off with lenses. This is not a pro shot, there's a lot of dust, you see. I should take better care of my lenses. I use the Nikon D100E. It doesn't have the High-Pass Filter, whatever it is, that kinda adds a little blur. The new one's great, I really recommend the 710. It's the current model. It just adds, it's the perfect amount of reso-- There's a Canon version, too. I'm not one or the other, this is what I'm used to. You do want enough resolution to be able to provide the client with a file size that'll work for them, and 36 to 40 megapixels is a good sweet spot. This can do billboards no problem, although, I do prefer medium format. What'll happen is, we shot a billboard for a Canadian milk company, it was absolutely massive. But, the viewing distance was four feet. It was in a subway and it stretched the entire length of this wall. And, there was no room for error. So, we stitched four photos together, side by side, each 80 megapixels, and we had to get new computers, just to handle the files. The computer was smoking, it was a mess. It took a long time. (students laughing) You just have to have the tool to get the job done. This gets everything done, I need to get done, and it has a really good dynamic range. I'm never in a really contrasty situation, anyways. So, this is a great camera body. Now, attached to that, this is a-- I really like this lens, it's a 180 mm 2/8th, and, we're gonna be using this today. I haven't used this in two years. But, it's a really cool focal length. I love exaggerated focal lengths. I'm starting to use the 24mm more, and, just doing really intense close-ups, of things that are really dramatic. And, I love compressing the daylight outta scenes. Anything that's extreme, one way, or the other. High Key, Low Key, Compressed, Wide Angle, anywhere in the middle, I kinda don't live very often. That's just my artistic choice. There's a lot of work to be had in that middle range, too. We find ourselves not working as much with clients in, sort of, the natural foods business, 'cause it just doesn't translate that well. Okay, so this is a 180. It's an older lens, and it's built like a tank. It's just rock solid. I wish they made lenses like this, still. I have a 60mm Macro, for shots where you have to get super close, which is often. You need detailed shots, and I like getting close up. I don't like the 100mm Macro, 'cause it does compress the scene, and, I think your depth of field is even a little bit shallower, which is always an issue. So, with Macro, with food, you're not gonna get in the way of your own light, you can get super close. If I get a 40 Macro I might. So, I don't mind that at all. But, these are what I use, this pretty much stays-- I have two camera bodies, which is really important. I don't, typically, tend to tell people to invest in camera bodies first. If you're gonna be working pro, you have to have two bodies, there's no way around it. If one goes down, you're stuck, even three. I mean, if one goes down-- We're using two cameras a lot, where we're doing packaging shoots, and, I have one over the top, 'cause we're doing two different kinds of shots, with the same product, and I have one coming at a 3/4, and, one overhead, at the same time. So, we can just switch 'em out, be efficient. But, it's good to have two camera bodies, and if I were to tell people to get one lens, there no question, and it's not on the table, but it would be a nifty-fifty. It would be one of the old 50mm G Nikon $100 lenses. And, then get a couple of em, they're awesome. They have a really good circle... there's just good edge to edge sharpness, and it's clean. If I were to go beyond that, it's really a tie between 45 tilt shift, and, there's a Canon version of these, too. A 45 tilt shift and a 90 tilt shift, or, an 85, in this instance. Tilt shifts are-- I know a lot of food photographers who love tilt shifts, and then, they start using 'em, and, then they kinda quit using 'em. "Cause they don't use the tilt, or, They're kinda like, well-- Especially, if you shoot shallow depth of field, it's good to have the control, but it's a manual lens, there's no auto on this lens at all. When I shoot stuff that's overhead, I've got the 45 on the camera, right now. And, what I've done is, instead of having a camera stand kinda rolled up, and then an arm going out, there tends to be a lot of wiggle. You can get some shaky images on a camera stand, they're expensive, too. So, I've kinda gotten away from c-- I love a good Foba stand, and it's good for certain things. But, they're six grand a piece. I really love this carbon fiber tri-pod, and it goes up really high. This is a-- I don't even know the model, G-T-3-5-4-2-X-L-S. (laughs) I think it's in the gear page, I'm not sure. I can put this directly down, and right now, this lens is pointed directly down, on the edge of this screen, here. Which, you'll be able to see a little bit clear in a minute. So, what I've done, is so that I don't have any kind of tilt in my image, but I can capture the center of this, I don't have to have the tri-pod right over the set, so, nobody can get to it, I just shift the lens forward and, then it starts to see right down the middle of the set, so you're not in the way of your own set. I can even back this up more. So, I use the shift that instance to get overhead, over something, without actually being over it, and getting in the way of my own set. So, I use the tilt-- A lens will actually tilt this way, and that way. It'll just be that, when your camera like this, I can take a picture of this camera just by shifting up like this, and it'll double it, and it'll be right over the camera. When I'm actually looking to make creative decisions about where to put the plane of focus, you just unlock it, and you'll be able to tilt the lens forward, and that'll allow you to come in at a 3/4 angle, and just get the top of the lens perfectly sharp, front to back, or, you can back it off and go the other way, and get a razor thin depth of field, like, there's nothing-- It depends on your f-stop, obviously. But I can get, just, it really backs off your focal point, so, it's like a razor. So, it just depends, and I find it even more useful, you can come in at an angle, and have, if you have, like, three, cups of coffee, or three donuts, or something standing up, and, you want the plane of focus to kinda edge along those two, you can actually go to the side, and then tilt it inward, and it'll just rake across that, or, you can actually go the other way, and just get that center item completely in focus. Everything else goes completely blurry. So, this is a really good creative tool. I shoot a really deep depth of field, like, f-16, f-22, which is crazy for food. Nobody does that... rarely. I love f-22 on these lenses, I don't know why. It just gets everything in perfect focus, and I don't see a lot of defraction, to be honest. So, it works. Two pocket wizards, I don't use these for LED light, obviously, just the strobes, you gotta have 'em. I like to have three, because one will invariably go down, or something, batteries will leak into 'em. I have two, I really like the plus X ones, that are just no-nonsense, they don't have a lot of-- I just want this to trigger a flash, I don't really care if it has all the settings, this is just a trigger. Are you guys familiar with pocket wizards? You know, the-- Okay. Gotta have a couple of those. The X-rite color checker's really good, because it just gives you a quick white balance. You've seen these all over, they're still really a good standard. They give you a good color balance. They're really good, they have skin tones, they have different tones of white for adjustments, and, then a basic white card, right here, which is handy, and it's small. This is really helpful. You see a lot of cameras, especially medium formats, that have kind of a Bellows system, and the, they have a lens hood. The Bellows system allows you to do what these tilt shift lenses do, but with more exaggeration. You can do almost anything with the Bellows systems, you can bend down, these kinda have limitations. If you shift a 24mm all the way, you'll get sort of a darker edge, on the left side of the frame. So, these aren't perfect, but they're extremely well designed. This hood allows filters, especially, when I'm doing splash work. This keeps any light from penetrating the inside of-- This is a Lee hood filter, and, you just get these really nice Lee filters that come-- You can get polarizers, you can circular or linear. I actually use a polarizer in here a lot for beverage work. I cross polarize a lot where I have a polarizing gel on the actual light. In fact, I usually put one-- I'll show you in a minute, this Dato light behind me. It allows you to turn the polarizer, and, then turn the light with the polarizing gel on it. And, any reflection caused by the actually light, vanished completely, so you just get this glow. It's fantastic. So, I typically keep a polarizer on here for food, to control reflections, to protect the lens, mostly. But when we're doin' I'll just put a UV filter on here. Like, a perfect clear-- They're not cheap, 'cause they're really clear, and, they're not gonna affect your image. I think this one's a resin one. It keeps splashes from getting on your expensive gear, which is crucial, and we'll see that tomorrow. I hope I don't destroy my camera. It's always an issue, 'cause we were filming-- We were shooting splashes and crashes with medium format, and I love getting up close to splashes. I love drama and wide angles, and, I'm not afraid to get it right up-- (gear taps together) Excuse me. (instructor chuckles) I'm not afraid to get it right up in there, and actually get my gear wet, it's totally fine. As long as it's protected properly, and this helps it. 'Cause you can see all the gunk that's in there from prior, so, I'm like wiping out heavy cream outta there. It takes forever, it's gross. As far as rigging stuff goes, this is here. I just have this for shooting in restaurants, when you're need to be mobile, I don't use it very often. We're gonna go over this in the class tomorrow, as far as shooting and capturing action. This has a really-- This is one of the option you can get that's reasonable. It has a flash duration of, I've read, I don't know if this is true, 1/38,000th of a second if used properly on low settings. It has no power when you do that, but if you are right here, and you are doing, like, macro stuff, it is awesome. And, it creates this really nice black background, but, you have to be close, it doesn't have tons of power when you're doin' this. These are French flag adapters. I actually put these-- You can put these into magnetic bases, and you could hold herbs above cocktails. I use this thing all the time, in food photography. These are just Manfrotto flex arms, I believe, or Mathews. It's on the gear list, and if not I'll update it. This allows kinda herbs to be placed over cocktails, or spoons to be held, not necessarily with this clamp, but, maybe with one of these. These French flag adapters, let me grab this real quick. These I use constantly, because when you see a highlight-- We're gonna go over the images later, and there'll invariably be one or two that have really intense highlights, that are overblown. And, you might be tempted to knock down your exposure in the process, to capture your highlights properly. What you really need to do is grab yourself a few of these, you do not need all of these... These are just fingers, and dots, and scrims. You can get 'em-- They're made by Mathews, and you can actually get 'em as sets, but they're expensive in sets. So, I would recommend really getting-- These completely block out the light, and they fit right inside here. So, this is a Mathews French flag adapter, and they just fit right in there. And so, these you can clamp on the side of a set, and, then bend the arms, and really cut light in a really specific area. This I use all the time, too. When you're doing back-lighting, especially. When you have highlights are outta control, rather than kinda knock down your exposure, and just have an under exposed image, because of those highlights... You just select out-- You can either use this, or this. They act in slightly different ways, but just to cut a little bit of that light in that specific area. So, you're not under exposing, you're trouble-shooting, piece by piece, where the highlights fall, where you more to come in. You can actually use these as mini-- They can actually kick light stuff too, if you want. They're slightly opaque. So, I have a variety of these, they come in handy, all the time, especially this one, this one's the trouble-shooter, right here. This one gets rid of these little areas that you're just like, "Uuugghh." There's just no explanation for why that's there, and, instead of kinda waving your hand around, like a crazy person, trying to find out where it's coming from, this really gets rid of those little trouble spots, so. Those can be found online. But I use a lot of gear that's not just obvious camera gear. There's a lot of scrims, a lot of gobos, alot of things that sort of are very subtle in their effect, these being one of 'em. If you get just a few of those, like a little dot, a few scrims. You can even make 'em out of coat hangers and nylon, or, you can even glue kinda diffusion material to a coat hanger. There's really no difference. They're not gonna fit perfectly in here. I don't like kinda messing with that stuff when I'm on set. But, you can clamp this, this table has a lip on it, so, you can't really use the super clamp. But, you just clamp it to here, and, then you have a flag on set that can kinda just bend down. And, this one's really not meant to handle a heavy one. But, to have a piece of diffusion going across, it'll cut those back highlights. Hmm, what else? There's plenty of gear, this is a polarizing gel. This is the gel that I kinda put in front of a-- You can get this by the sheet, or in a-- I always recommend getting it mounted, because, when you tape it to a beauty dish, or you tape it to anything else, it's gonna tear. It's expensive, these are a lot, There, uh, 60 bu-- I don't even know. They're not outrageous, but they're a lot. So, if you have it in a frame, you can just clip it. You can use C47's, which are just clothes pins that are inverted, or A clamps, or anything, or I usually put it on it's own stand, and just put it in front of the light that I wanna block. So, I just twist-- I put it in front of the light, and then I twist the polarizer on my camera, or vice-versa, if by twisting it, I'm affecting the scene adversely. You just figure out that sweet spot, where they both collide and then illuminate the direct reflections of the light. It doesn't affect the actual light as much, just the direct reflection of the actual head. These I really recommend, these are a great things to get when you first start out, you have to have one of these. I don't use it as much now, because there's things on set that I can do. Everything needs to be locked down for me. I don't just hold it, and then say go. Because, every shot has to match the next shot perfectly. But, when you're at home, you're not under that kind of pressure. These, the ones that have the silver and gold, kind of alternating, are perfect food. Because, it's not this over glowing gold, overly rich reflection and it's not cold and silver, either. It's kind of in the middle, and it's really good. It's kind of delicious lookin' light. Uuuhmm, what else... oh, this a-- This is overkill, this is big time overkill, (instructor laughs) I don't even know what this is called. It's a Manfrotto... plate... it's on the list. This actually allows you to-- You put this in a C stand, in one of the clips, and if you're retentive about this, you can position this-- I usually just put this into the knuckle of the C stand, kind of like this. When you do put kind of backdrops or anything in there, you wanna go with this middle area, not in the actual grip. I used to do that when I was first starting out. But you just put it between the knuckle and the base, there. And, you're good to go with kinda of like, a little stationary piece of reflecting material. But, if you really wanna go, and you want the adjustment ability, and have it really be easy, you just tape this to the back of preferably a larger piece of foam core, this is just overkill. You can have it on a C stand, then you can move it a little bit, you can make these minor adjustments. Not something I would go out and get right now. But it's something to think about, that's out there. It's important to kinda of study grip material. Just, how grip works, even talk to a grip in the industry, who works in film, 'cause it's really revealing and really interesting. So, these are mirrors. This is actually a mirror that's been rubbed, I rubbed it with, I think, it's besting, and then dulling spray on top of that. I'm not sure if that's exactly how it went, but... It dulls the mirror, so it's not as intense. Sorry if I totally just got somebody. It allows you to kinda put it on set, and tilt it, and have a lot of control over where certain highlights are. When you-- You can use these all day. They will show up in reflective material, and they're impossible to get out in Photoshop, it's really tough, so I actually got-- I can't show you on set right now, but I can show you on my presentation, here. This is called a data light. I love this thing. There's a photographer in Boston that uses this, and, it's meant for cinema. So, you can have these little projection cartridges. You know when you see the kinda style 1980's interviews, where they kinda blasted, like, a window pane on the wall, and I mean, it's not-- It's still done. But, it's kinda like a way to project shapes onto walls, really sharply. This is awesome for food, and it's two grand. It is not something you wanna go out and get right now. But this is my favorite, 'cause it acts as a mirror. I can shape the light, so the edges are perfectly sharp, and then cover just the wine label of a bottle of wine, and, I turn it up just a little bit, so, it has this kinda glow about it. There's no reflection that occurs, typically, from the data light. I'll tape polarizing gel in the front of it, but, it's just a magnificent piece, and it's LED, it's cool. They do make a different color temperature ones, and some hot lights versions, but I like everything to kinda 5600 kelvin and LED, when I'm working in kind of a natural light setting. So, that's one of my favorite piece of gear for sure. And this is kinda everything, when it's all coming together. I've got my camera with the Bellows system. I love getting close into things, so that there's a dramatic nature to it. I don't like being backed off in the 80mm range, as much, anymore. But having that mirror really help, especially with food, where you're not worried about reflections. And, we use uh-- Do you guys know what CineFoil is? You guys are pretty familiar with that? I use that all the time too, it's just foil that's made for the cinema, that you can shape. It's basically foil that is matte black, and you can put it pretty much anywhere. I've got a little bit right here. We'll go into this gear as we're actually shooting, the actual stuff that I use for styling. But, this stuff I use to line the inside of an over, to make it look more black. To protect stuff from flames. I'll actually use this, I'll actually crumple it up, and, I'll do a line of this, and then I'll brush it with rubber cement and light it, so that I'm not actually, harming the surface of that I'm lighting. 'Cause rubber cement burns really fast and then dies out. So, if you need, like, an oven flame in your house, and you don't wanna catch the house on fire, just kinda put some bricks like this, and then brush a little rubber cement behind it, and light it on fire, and it'll go up in flames, and it'll die out really quick. And, if you have a shallow depth of field, you can create a really convincing, like, wood fired oven scene, in a hurry. This has multiple uses, as you use it more and more, you'll find a lot of different uses for it. But, we'll go over those when we're shooting. Um, sooooooo, I think that's about-- I think that's about it. And, this is just my obnoxious quote for today. I am Steve Hansen, marginal social influencer. Gear is everything, until it's not. You'll be really obsessed with gear, if you're not already, and I can be. When something new comes out, I'll really take a hard look at it, and, use it, and rent it. I enjoy that process of understanding my gear, really well, because, in the end, as sad as it may seem, that kinda goes away. You're desire for the gear-- You want less. So, you start out acquiring a lot of gear, which is good. It's a really good process to learn it, and, know what works, and what doesn't work. That's how you form your style, but, there's photographers that just use one lens. Especially, fine art photographers, who are just stuck on one lens, because, that's part of their style. Every little thing you acquire affects your style. How I use this diffusion material, affects my style. How I-- So, it all works together. But, I do recommend renting is the best way to go, for sure. Just so you can get a handle on what's out there, and, to not be afraid to experiment, and, try stuff, 'cause that's kinda where things are forged. Where new styles are forged. I'm trying to make sure I didn't forget anything. But, I do wanna open it up to questions about just, the massive subject of gear. And, I know the internet has a few. I would for you to-- If you guys have favorite lenses that you guys use for food, I would love to hear about 'em, too. Well, I just wanted to start with a clarification questions about your camera bodies. Yes. So, you use the Nikon D750-- D eight hundred E D eight hundred E Yes, they're ancient. Okay, cool.-- Just like an iPhone, I upgrade every other body. Yeah, yeah. So, I don't-- Sorry, I have a second question about lenses, versus, the bodies. I think you mentioned that you were also wanting the D710, but people were asking if you meant the D7100... so. Oh, oh, no, I mean-- there are cameras that'll suit different needs, so, it's really important not to worry about-- The thing that I like about this camera is that it doesn't assume much about the user. It's just a good manual camera, if you want it to be. Whereas, others have the flip out backs that drive me-- There's just a lot of unnecessary things that are attached to those cameras. I love medium format, simplestly, because, it's just a bag on a bellows, or, on the main body, there's no... Crazy stuff goin on. Whereas, this kinda feels the same way to me. I will use this until it doesn't work anymore, until it jams up, and then I'll just be gone with it. Because, the sensor is all I care about. This gets attached to a computer that handles it. So, it just goes click. I want really good glass, that I'm used to. I want a really good camera that's dependable, and this has been that for me. This is also been on a lot of my landscape trips. I've probly dropped this in water, it's gotten sand on it. I clean my cameras myself. I think, that's really important. I'm glad you said that the lenses are really, sort of, a place to invest. Because, I think that a lot of people don't realize that the lenses are so much more important than the body, perhaps. Yah, you need bodies to cover your bases. But, the only thing I care about is-- If it's a good sensor, that's all I care. And, medium formats are amazing sensors. They capture a lot of detail. This captures really, like, 300 dpi detail, up to a significant size. There's almost no difference, generally speaking. There's gonna be aesthetic differences, between the two formats. But this, when you get into needing really large prints, like, I do-- For all the prints I do landscapes, those were stitched images. So, I took seven images, side by side, and really fast, and then stitched 'em, and hoped to god that there wasn't any wind for, the landscape stuff on these cameras. So, they can create massive prints, if, in Photoshop, you're willing to stitch. And, when you have a tilt shift lens, and you need a larger image, you can go vertical, and, then shift left and right, and create almost the same as a same as a 50 megapixel medium format camera, if you stitch 'em. 'Cause there's no movement between these two shifts in your paralax, so you can shift vertically, shift right, and have just enough gap between those two shifts to stitch in Photoshop, and get a massive print out of it. So, that's one of the reasons I like these a lot. Just, their flexibility. Any other questions from...? If you were starting out-- This is from Photo412, what size mounted gels do you prefer? And again would you start with larger or smaller reflectors? Oh, gels? Gels and reflectors, yeah. I don't use-- I use gels for beverage photography, mostly for backgrounds. 'Cause if you have a white piece of acrylic, or white background, you can blast a really cool color. If it's really conceptual, I'll use gels. I don't shoot a lot of restaurants, or other things where I need to compensate for it. You can actually just buy packs of sheet gels that are just meant for theatrical, or they're meant for color correction. And, they come in just a variety of CTO gels, and CTB, and everything you could possibly need in a sheet. And, then you can trim it to the exact size you need. Wrap it around your flash, wrap it around your speed lights, and your strobes, and be good to go, and it's not that expensive. I used to use those samples-- I don't know if you guys follow the strobist, David Hobby. I used to follow him all the time, when I starting out. And, he used the sample packs, which is brilliant for speed lights. They come in these little strips, and you can just make 'em have every-- for free, I think. I just don't-- I like to cut, I've just grown out of that, and I just use the sheets. As far as reflectors, this would be-- this guy right here, is just a large version of the small guy. So, if you're doing-- I would really recommend these. This is actually a five in one. It, actually comes with a thing that goes over it. so, you can have something black, white, so, you can cut the background. This is my favorite half silver, half gold reflector. This is good for a scene, like this, and, we'll probly end up using it, where you just kinda kick a little bit of light back into the scene. And, just kinda leave it like that. Attach an A clamp, just to make sure it's stable. This is good for bigger table top scenes, whereas, this small one is good for if you're shooting just a little plate of food. That was the one thing about food, is that everything gets smaller. My video team that I work with, my cinematographer, brilliant people, they've worked in a lot of feature films, and, a lot of really good independent films. I had to really-- When I started working with them on food, I had to really kinda reign them in and say, "We don't need a grip truck, we don't need all these massive lights, we can get a light in a foot away from this and shoot extremely high speed camera, with that amount of light, and get more than enough, than we need. So, it's just about shrinking your mentality. You don't need a lot of stuff. That's the great thing about food, is if you have an amazing subject, and just a little bit of gear, or, no gear at all, just a window, you can do it. This is almost all optional, but, when you get to a point where you're getting paid for this, that's when you really need to start making sure that you, not only understand the camera, but, you understand how to account for things that will happen on set, invariably. Another good question from Charles Needle, who says, "Do you use a cable release, ever?" I do, this'll sound crazy to some people. When I do splash work, I don't-- I shoot manually. I don't use a trigger, I use my eye, and it happens fast. There's an image of peanut butter and jelly on my website, I think it's on the website, where they're colliding in mid air, and glass is going everywhere. I shot that when I was first starting out, and it was just a camera, and then I had the peanut butter and jelly in both hands, and a timer on the camera, and I was just going BABAM. And, hoping that something would happen. And, I'll tell you glass, and peanut butter, and jelly, in one big mix on the table, is a clean up nightmare. So, I'm gonna teach you also about safety in that class. (students laughing) And, how not to kill yourself, 'cause my hands were all cut up, it was brutal. But, you can do it, I mean you don't need a lot of gear, even for the most extreme conceptual stuff. You just need a little bit of ingenuity, and some time, and some patience. Right. Any other questions from you guys, you guys have been quiet. Do you need a specific trigger trap tool, for in order to freeze splashes. There are some, and I just don't use 'em. I'm not known for drip photography. There's triggers you can buy that trigger off of movement between two laser points, and also sound. So, if you have a popping-- Like, I saw a thing where a guy painted a balloon with different colors of paints, and it turned out to be an amazing image, and, then they popped the balloon, and, the sound of the balloon triggered the camera. So, when you get into-- Tomorrow I'll go into a rigger I use. He's just a fantastic person, and a really a genius at this. He's a professional rigger for cinema, and, for photography, and he can rig any kinda set up you want. But, what I find with anything that's too predicable is it just doesn't-- Like, with drips it's almost mandatory, 'cause you're just wasting your time, if you're trying to go like this, and this, and this. But, I'm looking at it by hand, and, I just go BAM. Especially, with collision shots, and, splashes, you have a little bit of time to think. It's not so immediate, but with these minute splashes, they do-- I think I have one trigger that is on the gear list. Which is one that I do recommend, that I will use, if and when it calls for it. But, I never use them. They're a time saver, I'm not saying you don't wanna use 'em. A lot of this can be achieved, and I wanna trust you that it can be achieved, with no gear at all. But, triggers are useful. I've seen some rigs that cost thousands of dollars. There's these air pumps, and they shoot stuff at each other. Or, these massive acrylic slides that cause collisions. But, they don't cause the collisions that you-- It's just really organic for me, it's a weird process. It's not a scientific, or exact thing. 'Cause sometimes that can reveal some really amazing images.

Class Description

Short on time? This class is available HERE as a Fast Class, exclusively for Creator Pass subscribers.

With the advent of social media foodie culture, food photography is everywhere. The market is saturated with top-down smartphone images of cappuccinos, barley salads, and elaborate toast. This represents a real opportunity for photographers looking to expand their businesses. Professional photographers are in a position to provide high-quality, captivating images of delicious food for clients eager for an alternative to stock photography and social media images.

Join veteran photographer Steve Hansen for this comprehensive basics course, and you’ll learn:

  • How to shoot a beverage, main course, and dessert.
  • How to light and style your shots to get the most compelling images.
  • How to build out your basic studio gear to get the most out of your food styling and photography.

Steve will walk you through the basics of becoming a food photographer by drawing on his own experience as a chef, certified food stylist, and photographer. You’ll learn about the equipment you’ll need; how to interact with food and prop stylists, and direct them during a shoot; how to work with digital technicians and editors; and you’ll learn Steve’s tips for marketing food photography. 


Christy cwood56

This class has appeal for the beginning food photographer as well as the photographer that is already a bit further advanced on the path. There is quality info about gear and other logistics for the beginner that is absolutely necessary and establishes a strong baseline of knowledge. When Steve starts to shoot then the magic really starts to happen as we get to see into his creative process, how he styles, how he problem solves, how he continues to push the envelope until he comes up with his incredible images. That was the most enlightening part of the whole class...being able to observe an artist in his creative zone. Steve is a master at what he does and whether you are a beginner, intermediate or even advanced photographer, there is something for you in this class. It is well worth the minimal cost of the class. Part of the value of purchasing this class is that you can watch it again and again and again and each time you will walk away with boatloads of info. It is one of those classes that you will go back to again and again and use as a reference point for improving your images. Thanks Steve for being willing to share your gifts and talents to help others! Awesome day!

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