It's not an uncommon sight for passers by to see me and Jansen plating food and arranging food for photo shoots on Table 86, the big marble table right inside the window on the far end of the dining room. It's fun but sometimes stressful as we try to make the food look perfect for the camera, but it's just as fun to see people walking by stop and look in at what you're doing. We're not shy, needless to say.
We recently unveiled a new catering menu here at Oceana. It's tailored to office catering, of which there is no lack in Midtown. We sampled the wares of many of the catering companies in the area and found that we could raise the bar just by doing it with our own style and attention to detail. It's not what we normally think of doing here in our kitchen but its a great way to do some more business. The menu has lots of great sandwiches, salads, and quiche, and of course fantastic home style desserts. We want to spread the word via advertising so of course we need great photos. We called up Paul Johnson, he's practically our house photographer. He is fun, great to work with and does a great job. Check him out at http://www.pauljohnsonphotography.com
The first six pictures were taken by me on my Blackberry, they're OK but I don't want you to think this is how Paul shoots. The last picture is his.
It starts in the kitchen. Here's me and my crew setting up the food. SO much attention goes into making it look good but keeping it natural. Anytime Jansen and I shoot food it's always "real". No doctoring the food just to make it look good or using phony or inedibly manipulated goods. That might be OK for the supporting elements in an ad for products but everything on our plates need to accurately represent what you'll get here . We usually end up eating the food after the shoot. We just cook it right and plate it with a crazed level of intensity. We don't usually work with a food stylist. Jansen and I have picked up so much over the years that we do pretty well ourselves, and Paul's a great help too. I've started referencing a great book called Food Styling by Delores Custer. She's one of the top food stylists out there. When I was a student at CIA i had the opportunity to be her apprentice in a class she taught, I really picked up a lot. What she does is a different style than what Jansen and I do but we can learn much about perspective from her.
Here's Paul helping to set up the scene.
Here's a closer look.
This reminds me of the old TV commercial where someone is taking a picture of someone then that person turns and takes their picture...what company was that?
Paul's equipment set up. He has a cool remote control to make the camera take the picture.
Paul's laptop has some really high tech photo software. After each shot we can zoom in and se how it looks and make adjustments to the food as needed. This was a shot of Jansen's chocolate pudding cup with marshmallow topping. Man was it good! I am a chocolate fiend.
This is Paul Johnson's shot. Quite the difference from mine. We did one shot first of all the goods set up on the table, then we shot all the individual platters, then we did close ups and shots of the individual items, then a plate with a little of everything. Lots of work but it's a great feeling to see your work look good.