Thursday, October 4, 2012

Food Photography Tips with David Griffen

In the latest September installment of Social Media Week London 2012 I attended a fun and informative workshop run by food photographer David Griffen and Great British Chefs providing food bloggers with tips for improving our food photo techniques. It was held at the immense and delightful Google London offices (yes the rumours are true, it's a working-playground in there) with food provided by Michelin-starred Pascal Aussignac of Club Gascon fame.

Fabulous food photo tips & advice, delicious food and all in the company of fun people: for me these are ingredients of a great evening. Here are just some nuggets of wisdom which David shared with us:

1. Don't be afraid to get in real close: even if the context of the food isn't in the photo, it's lovely to capture the detailed textures.

Roquefort, Caramelised Onion & Sweet Potato Tart by Pascal Aussignac

2. Lighting in kitchens are often challenging, use a tungsten setting on your camera.

3. To bring more light into the picture, use a reflective surface (like white paper) to mirror the light source: both these tips helped me with this shot which I probably would have shrouded in shadows otherwise. 

Duck Carpaccio with Sea Urchin Foam by Pascal Aussignac

4. People look great in black & white: basically because kitchen lighting is generally unsuitable for photos. The difference between the before-and-after in these shots is startling. I rejoice the end of bad people photos!

Pascal almost looks like a different person

Bubbly Rosanna of says no to stark fluorescent lighting!

5. Use a rustic looking tea towel to make a food plate look good: Use a "French Linen-feel" tea towel was the exact prop if I'm not mistaken. A good ol' English cotton tea towel is all I had at home and must say it did give these homely noodles a little lift.

Quick Pork Mince & Cavelo Nero Noodles as featured on

 David's workshop was conducted bearing in mind many of us shoot photos in kitchens and restaurants during a time of day with little lighting. One is essentially trying to make the most of a bad situation. Ideally we'd all be snapping away between morning and noon, with access to plenty of natural light.

Thank you David, Great British Chefs, Pascal & Google, I've definitely learnt a lot and will be putting these pointers into practice. Hopefully things will be looking lots better on this blog!

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