Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Top 5 Things I Learned From Mark Floro on Food Photography

Last Saturday at The Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf Bistro at BCG I have the greatest opportunity to learn from the master of Food Photography - Mr. Mark Floro. Who doesn't know who Mark Floro is in the field of photography. 

You know this Chowking Halo-Halo photo? This is one of his works. See how he captured the syrup slowly dripping on the Leche Flan and how each ingredient is kind of put together but separated. At least I know one secret about this photo that you will only know if you attend a Mark Floro Food Photography seminar.


Taking photos of foods is one of my favorite habits. In the office, especially when we eat out they know I will be taking photos of it first before they get to eat it. It has become a wont to know my habit of picture first, eat later. Once in a while I get invites for Food Review and going there without a camera is a big no-no.

So when I chance upon this event invite I quickly sign up hoping against hope that I will be one of the lucky 25 to be chosen. 

Thankfully I was chosen. I have learn so many things about food photography from Mr. Floro but here's the top 5 every foodie blogger must know when taking food photograph.

PROPER LIGHTING IS A MUST

Use continuous or one light when taking picture. Light the subject according to how you want to photograph it. When doing food photos for a food review, the best place in the restaurant is always near a window where you can work around with the natural light. Balance the highlight and shadows. Food photos should never be bland, it needs shadow. Use props for lighting, it need not be expensive. You can even use a white table napkin to reflect the light. Most importantly, move your food, move your lighting and move your camera a lot until you find the angle you want. Create correct mood for lighting. And one important thing Mark Floro said, NEVER EVER USE TOP FLASH FOR FOOD PHOTOGRAPHY!

CREATE AND CAPTURE THE APPETITE APPEAL OF THE FOOD

Food photographers, especially professional ones, need the magic tricks and techniques of a food stylist. They depend on them to capture the appetite appeal of the food. But for amateur food bloggers like me, I don't have budget for a Food Stylist, so it is up to me to create a "takaw-tingin" and "tulo-laway" aspect of the photos I'm taking of the food. Be creative so that while your readers see and read your post they would want to go to that restaurant and also try the foods there.

RULE OF THIRDS

I've been hearing about Rule of Thirds on photography and frankly, I don't know one bit about it. Mr. Floro explained that it is one of the most basic compositional tools in photography. Photos are more interesting if the subject is somewhere other than the center of the frame. Usually we took picture and place the subject in the center but he said that the best arrangement is to put the subject into one thirds of the shot.

So how do we find the thirds, he said to divide the frame into three identical vertical lines then repeat horizontally to create nine squares. Usually we take photos when the subject is in the middle square but we can try to sometime move the subject in the corner or slightly off-center.



ALWAYS ASK YOURSELF, WHO IS YOUR MAIN SUBJECT IN SHOOTING THIS PARTICULAR FOOD

When taking food photos, think "shoot out of the box" How do you want your photos to appear? When taking photos of a cheeseburger meal, do you want the focus to be on the burger or the French fries? Or do you want to use selective focusing where some the areas are blurred? Do you want to use props or not at all? Try to think one item at a time, imagine how you want it to look. 

When on an important food photo shoot, you can make a request, especially if it's an entree or a salad, to serve it to you in a separate manner, where sauce are not yet poured. Then go around and tinkered a bit.

One bit of advice from Mr. Floro - NEVER SHOOT FOOD SIDE BY SIDE OR SHOOT 50/50

I WANT TO BE AN ICE CREAM STYLIST

Did you know that the most hard to photograph food is Ice Cream? You have to be quick and about to get the perfect shot of that sundae or ice cream concoctions or the best Halo-Halo you have tasted. And what if you are in Serendipity in New York and you want to blog about your experience there or just plain make your friend envious over it. A melting ice cream wouldn't look too good in a picture, right?

So how do they get a picture of a perfect ice cream shot? It's kind of a secret but one thing I should tell you an Ice Cream Stylist gets paid 9,000 pesos or more per scoop during a shoot. So if it's a long day shoot and you used lots of scoops of ice cream it's a very rewarding job. Or you could do what Mr. Floro did in one of his ice cream photo shoot; they did it inside a freezer room.

Thank you Mr. Mark Floro and The Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf Bistro and their Brew Your Best Year promo.

If you want to learn food photography from the best, look for Mark Floro at Philipppine Center for Creative Imaging (PCCI). You can reach them at inquiry@pcci.com.ph  or visit their website at www. pcci.com.ph or Mark Floro's personal website at www.markfloro.com

Bistro by The Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf  is located at 26th Street BGC.
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