Working in restaurants and pubs always presents a different set of challenges to the food photographer. First of all one is often not just showcasing the food in all its glory. Though most of us go to restaurants or pubs BECAUSE of the food there is much more that influences our decision of where to eat (or drink) . Price is, of course, important but equally if not in most cases more important is ambiance. What does it feel like when you are hanging out someplace. Is it warm and cozy, bright and airy, fun or quiet…just how does it fit the mood you’re in at the time.
Recently we’ve been able to document the ambiance (and the food/drink) in a couple of local restaurants which thanks to their amazing staffs and fun-loving patrons was a wonderful experience. These photographs are from one of the local organic brewpubs called Roots.
The other thing that made this project fun is the way our newest digital photo technology allowed us to play with light, mood, color and composition in a very intuitive way. High sensitivity cameras that produce a wonderful image at 1600 or even 3200 ASA, portable lights which can be remotely controlled while they are adding accent or fill to a dark scene along with the instant feedback that the screen of modern cameras offer make this kind of environmental and beverage photography much more spontaneous even than it was just a few years ago. (For the photo geeks in the crowd, I am using an SU-800 controlling two separate strobes, 1 SB800 bouncing in the ceiling and one SB900 through a scrim or bouncing into a 36″ umbrella and shooting at 400 or 1600 ASA to bring some of the ambient light in play)
Sometimes it seems computers and anything digital just add unnecessary complexity to our already complex lives, in this case the new cameras and ways of controlling the light help us find new ways of seeing and isn’t that great!