How to shoot Food Photography

How do you shoot food on location in a very short time whilst causing minimum disruption?

The answer is the Lumix G3, or the new G5 for that matter!

I’ve been a professional photographer for the past 25 years, shooting mainly food and travel. I shoot with medium format and SLR but the Lumix G3 is an important part of my kit bag as well. It combines the versatility of a compact with the advantage of an SLR with interchangeable quality lenses.

I use the 20mm/1.7 and the 90mm/2.8 Leica lenses and sometimes the 14-45mm zoom which is great quality.

I had all of the Lumix LX Series before moving to the GF1, which was brilliant as well.

My ‘TeaTime’ book which compiles the 50 best afternoon tea places in London was shot over only 13 days.  I had to move quickly from place to place in London on my bicycle, with one hour max per location. Luckily having shot for all the main magazines and over 80 cookbooks for many years I know what works and what doesn’t.  The Lumix G3 is quick and the fact that you have a moveable viewfinder makes it really easy to focus and keep lines straight.

The book is a patchwork of interior, food, outdoor, close-ups and people. By using the Lumix G3 and a small tripod when shooting people, it allowed me to be more subtle that I would have been with larger camera equipment. The Lumix G3 also coped very well when shooting in dark areas too.

So, my advice for shooting Food Photography would be:

1. Don’t shoot straight away – look at what you want to shoot and get familiar with the surrounding, where ever you are. Learn to look. A camera is like a pad to record the chosen moment. Too many photographers shoot tons and hope for one good picture to come out. Once I knew what I wanted to shoot, then I positioned my camera. I always shot on AV. Priority to aperture on a tripod and cable release.

2. Position P is good too but less flexible if you want to change things. Everything was shot in daylight like 95% of my work.

3. The G3 has great light management to judge daylight from artificial light. Always shoot at 200iso. With digital avoid playing with too much contrast from dark to light.

That is it really! Train your eye and carry the Lumix G3/G5 with you wherever you go. The battery lasts a long time and don’t forget to put a good 8GB card in. Be hard with yourself and delete. It’s not about the amount but about the ‘right’ image.

Happy shooting!

Jean Cazals.

‘TeaTime. A Taste of London’s Best Afternoon Teas’ is available on Amazon. You also may see my work on www.jeancazals.net 

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