On Location Food Photography

Client: Oki Sushi
Location: Oki Sushi – Lansdale, Pennsylvania

A lot of my work requires me to work on-location. For this particular post I will be going over the process for a sushi photoshoot at a local restaurant.

When Oki Sushi contacted me, I was told that they were planning on running an ad in the summer issue of Clipper Magazine and they wanted to feature a new roll. Having worked with Oki and Clipper before, I was already familiar with the process. I knew that the ad had to allow for a full page bleed and room for the company logo, restaurant address, and the coupon.

Knowing this I chose to work with my camera tethered to a laptop so that the client and I could review the images as we worked. This would allow us to review the photos in real time and ensure that the composition and crop provided the necessary space for the text elements of the ad.

Tethered shooting on a color calibrated monitor provides many advantages when creating commercial photography.

The initial concept for the shoot was to create a summer beach theme since they were advertising in the summer issue and because the rolls themselves used ingredients that most people would associate with summer food. Knowing the requirements, I was able to come up with and idea in my mind. I sketched my idea on a piece of paper to show my client. They were happy with the idea and so we scheduled a date and time for the photoshoot.

I know I’ve said this before, but my favorite part about my job is working with other talented and creative people. For this shoot I worked with the sushi chef to ensure that the sushi he created looked it’s best as the camera angles and lighting was adjusted.

As you can see in the images below we had a general idea of how the layout was going to be. We needed to figure out which props we wanted to include and the precise positioning of them. While I’m only showing four photos, the entire process required taking many photos wile making small adjustments after every image we took until we couldn’t find any more faults within the image.

Click on the images below to see a larger uncropped version.

Obviously the sushi was the subject, but everything else in the image helped tell the story and make a cohesive photograph that was more than just a photo of sushi.

The lighting was setup in a way to mimic a nice sunny day at the beach. During post production I used a beach photo from my archive to give the appearance that the table was right on the beach.

The sushi chef worked directly with me to ensure that the sushi was angled just right and spaced in such a way that the viewer can see the details. I used the fruit to show the raw ingredients used in the sushi. I carefully framed the sushi so that there weren’t any odd gaps that allowed the viewer’s eye to wander.

I should mention that unlike other food photography, the food in this photo was completely edible. In a lot of cases, food photography requires the use of products that aren’t edible in order to allow the food to look as fresh as possible. This isn’t to mislead the consumer, it’s only because the process of photographing food takes quite a lot of time. As a result vegetables start to wilt and have their color look more dingy. Meats tend to dry out and lose the glossy sheen they had when they were fresh off the grill.

Once we had everything the way we liked it, we made one more photograph. It was sent off to Clipper Magazine and they added all the the graphical elements. Below is the final advertisement as it ran in the Magazine.

The proof from the Clipper Magazine design team showing how the ad will appear in the magazine with all the necessary text.

The proof from the Clipper Magazine design team showing how the ad will appear in the magazine with all the necessary text.

If you are a business owner and need professional photography, send an email to me via the contact page to see how I can help your business.