Talk from Loren Laic-Duffy
- Current picture editor at BBC Good Food
- Previously picture editor at Harpers Bizarre
- Net a Porter
- Studio RM
First job at Seventy7
Job at Harpers Bizarre as a picture editor assistant internship
- a lot of prop finding
- when trying to find a specific image and when you don’t have a big enough budget to see d photographer if you search the image you need and you find the one you want, contact the person that took it and then maybe if its suitable enough feature their image
- £120 per image roughly
- only had experience in print
- magazine is separate from digital side
Commissioning a photographer: How?
- email with a PDF of new work
- attach a website link just in case
You’re relationship with the art director always matters, you can be a good photographer but not get along with the art director which most likely means they won’t work with you again
- good communication is key
- they want the low resolution edit within a day or couple of days
- after that they will give you a deadline of when they want the retouched images
- at BBC Good Food they own the copyright of that image you take so they can use it again and again
What I wish I’d known
- team structure
- value of digital experience
- tough times for magazine/publishing industry
- importance of continuing personal work
- idea of the ‘dream job’
- having an iPad and also a printed version of your work when you go to interviews
- Telegraph and Sunday telegraph
- shooting for the telegraph magazine
- make sure you know the style of the magazine
- research and analyse the Telegraph magazine as well as its competitors, this includes international rivals
- look at digital versions as well, -apps
- when shooting for print you have to think about the gutters on the page
Will be shooting with the Phase One cameras
- predominantly colour
- what are they going to commission?
- there are a lot more females than males in the magazine industry
- supplementary part of a newspaper, usually weekly
- it compliments its parent publication
- content will be more wide ranging and less time critical
- will normally be I’m keeping with the overall viewpoint of the parent newspaper
- don’t confuse them with stand alone magazines
- commonly available on Saturdays and Sundays
- increasingly on tablet
To help with the shoot:
- be familiar
- know the layout
- plan shoot fully
I began my research by looking online at some of the newspapers to see how they produced their food and drink sections in these as this is going to be my main focus for this project. The online newspapers that I looked at were:
- The Guardian
- The Independent
All of these newspapers have a lifestyle section in the online newspaper, this is where it includes all the recent articles about food and drink and also has sub-sectins for recipes, healthy eating, and all the latest crazes and trends in the food industry.
Magazines (Saturday supplements): I started to collect weekend newspapers to collect the weekend supplements that came with them, I had to make sure that I was looking at the right supplements as many of the newspapers had loads of different magazines and pull outs that come with them. I collected three newspapers on Saturday and then a further two on Sunday to begin my research; below are images of the magazines that I collected and then notes that I had written about each one of them saying what was included in the magazines, the layouts of them, the different shots that were used etc. I think this was a good way to start doing some initial research as I could get a feel for what the magazines were commissioning photographers to produce and how all the layouts were placed and how each magazine was different and had different types of food in there etc.
- has a supplement called ‘Feast’
- small magazine containing images of food with the recipes to go with them
- all the images have different layouts and different sizes to fit in
- some images have specific boxes to be placed in, whereas others are free and don’t have specific layouts however, they are placed on the page accordingly
- the pudding section is very precise, each photo is the same size and placed ext to each other in one line
- each has a different textured background
- all shot overhead
- has an ‘Eat’ section
- different dish for each day of the week
- all the shots are overhead, each on a similar background and using similar plates
- first two images are about a quarter of the page with the remaining being about three quarters of the page
- has a small section split into two parts
‘The cut’ – table talk
- shows two photos of restaurant style looking food
- both shot from slightly above, angled down slightly to give the food a bit more height to it
- both plates shot on a white surface, shows simplicity and freshness
‘The cut’ – food
- has a bit more going on in these images
- more of a rustic feel feel to them with the wooden planks as backgrounds
- shot overhead
- lots of props involved
Magazines (Sunday Supplements)
The Sunday Times:
- has a section called ‘The Dish’
- first image is full page, second is half a page, third is nearly a full page
- all of these are shot either side on or slightly above again to add that height, quite close up images, full of colour
You Magazine, Daily Mail:
- 4 page spread
- all overhead shots
- have a slightly blue/ purple hue to them, all shot on white backgrounds
- not too many props involved so it makes it very simple and not too crowded
- this weeks issue was focused on asparagus too all the images are very green orientated
- each week has a different theme to them
In all the supplements that I have collected and analysed, the vast majority of them from what I could see used very natural lighting, or lights that could recreate this natural lighting effect. All the images have been shot in some sort of studio with some using a window with natural daylight coming through to highlight their photos and then adding one extra lights to add more light into the shots. I think the natural lighting approach is very simplistic and works really well especially when producing food photography as it adds such a natural look to it.
- I have chosen to show some of Greyson’s work as I am highly influenced by the work he produced and I really like all of his work
- I have chosen to show some of his recent work, one in particular for Waitress food- Bill Granger Easter which is on the top left corner
- I really like this section of his work as I like the rustic type of look to them, I also like how simple but effective everything is in each shot
- I also like the simplicity of his lighting, using natural lighting from a window to create that daylight effect
- I also really like his ‘Marcus New Classics’ section with Marcus Wareing, again so simple but effective as the same time with his shots. I like the different textured backgrounds that he uses to compliment the different variety of dishes he produces
- I really like the use of bright colour Louise uses in her work, with each colour complimenting the dish in the frame
- although a lot of her work incorporates bright colours, she produces work that is very natural and subtle, for instance, the top left hand image
- the top right and bottom right hand images are simpler in the sense that they don’t have brightly coloured backgrounds however, the colour is more in the food to highlight where your focus should be in the image
- I chose to show some of Emma’s work as well, as each piece in her portfolio is different from the next in the sense that each one creates a different mood
- in some shots she uses quite dramatic lighting which adds to the image entirely, creating a certain tone for the specific image. However, in other shots she has a more natural and fresh look to them
- some of her images use vibrant, bright colours much like Louise’s work which suit the image really well
So my idea for this project is to choose the food option and maybe incorporate drink into the layout as well. As it is coming up to summer I wanted to go with a summer sort of theme for this particular project. By doing this I am going to use a lot of colour in my images to give it that summery feel to them especially by using the colour in the food and drink, and then having cool coloured backgrounds and props that I will be using as well.
- For instance, using white backgrounds to give it a clean, fresh look but also incorporating a rustic sort of look into my images by using wooden looking backgrounds or lightly coloured slate whilst in keeping with he cool colours as I think this would work really well with the theme that I have chosen
- To stick with that rustic sort of look I would also add wooden chopping boards and tea towels etc into my shots, the sort of props that would compliment the sort of food and drink that I would be shooting on the day
With the Telegraph magazine supplement I got from the weekend just gone, I found that the food images in it had more of of rustic feel
- lots of wooden backgrounds
- a fair few props involved, plates, glasses, napkins
- the lighting is very natural and very simple
- lots of overhead shots used, especially for this segment in the magazine
So the food and drink I will be shooting are quiches, scones, bruschetta, lemon tarts, pink gin and pimms.
This is my mood board where I started to collect some ideas and gather some influencing images that I had found on Pinterest of what I wanted to shoot, these sorts of images have given me some interest as to what I want to shoot more thoroughly on the day and how I can present and style my shots with the props I choose to take as well.
I think that sticking with the same type of background for each image will be better rather than keep chaining it as this could get quite distracting but I would have to experiment before hand to see what would work best whether it be the same background or a different one as the same one could eventually get boring after a while.
Drawn in layouts:
These are my drawn in visual layouts that I had to create for this project so that I could pre visualise what each layout was going to look like and which dish was going in each particular section.
For each layout I have shown where each dish is and will be placed; I have also included some of the props that I will be using and where these will go on the page as well as the background colours and types. I have missed one layout out which is where the scones are going to be however, I missed this one out as I’m not to sure how I’m going to style the scones just yet so will need to decide this when I do my test shoot.
So after finding some images that I really liked on Pinterest I thought that I would test them in the editorial food layouts that had been provided for us. I have missed some photos out as I didn’t have enough photos that I liked or that would be suitable enough on my mood board, however, for the ones that I had I did manage to get some decent photos in the layouts. As you can see all the photos that I have chosen do fit into the layouts well and the styles of all of them are well suited and compliment each other well. I think they are stick to the rustic but fresh sort of style that I am going for. I really like the double page on bruschetta that I am going to be doing as I think this gives the middle of the layout a freshness about it and almost breaks up the layout a little bit, by switching from that rustic look to a fresh, bright, clean look.
The one thing that I need to be careful of, especially in the first and second images, is the guttering on the pages. This shouldn’t be too hard though as the scones for the second image will be on the left hand half of the page. However, with the quiches photo I might have to not have it as zoomed in on the quiches themselves so that I won’t get the guttering right in the middle of them. Apart from that I think everything suits the layout and will look good as a piece in a magazine.
I think that the images actually work quite well in the layouts above, I think that the quiche photo being first sets the magazine up for the rest of the magazine. I think its quite a striking photo and really draws you in and makes you want to look at the rest of the magazine as to what could be inside.
Contacting food stylists:
So again for this project we had to collaborate with industry professionals whether this be models, food stylists, prop stylists etc, whichever industry is to do with your preferred shoot for this project. As I am shooting food I will need to collaborate with a chef or food stylist. As soon as I had put a mood board together I began to contact cookery schools in London. I contacted Leith’s cookery school however, after getting a response I found that all their students are going to be in lesson on the day that I am shooting which is a shame. I then contacted West Minster college and Le Cordon Bleu but am yet to hear a response from any interested students or the college itself. I have recently contacted Hers agency which represents food stylists and prop stylists who work in the advertising and editorial industries so hopefully I can get a response from them abut if anyone would be able to help me out with my shoot. I have also contacted another food stylist I have contacted before for a previous project to see if she can help me out or knows anyone that will be able to instead.
- phase camera
- manfrotto tripod
- macbook charger
- RX1200 studio lights
- octo light softbox
- RX300 studio lights
- 70x70cm square softbox
- 60x80cm softbox
- 1x1m softbox
- x2 lighting stands
- QP cards
- flash meter
I then began to think about what sort of props and backgrounds I was going to use to compliment my shoot. I had already thought about my background colours as I wanted a fresh and natural look so thought that the colour white would look best to work with. However, I wanted a few of the backgrounds to have a wooden or slate effect as I thought that this would look quite nice in a few of the images as it just adds another texture into the image.
- fake ice
- wooden chopping board
- tea towel
- little pots
- grease proof paper
As far as props are concerned there wouldn’t be loads of props involved. I didn’t want to bombard my images wth loads of props so this list above shows all the props that I am going to be using. I have included props that would compliment each dish differently. So the glasses and straws for the drinks, tea towel, knife and pots for the scones, chopping board for the quiches etc. I have thought about where to get my props as I know I can go to a prop house and can use the one I used for a different food shoot which is Topham Street prop house however, I might see if my for stylist will have any of the props that I need and if so then they can bring them with them on the day. I know I have a few props at home like the glasses for the drinks and some other ones too so I don’t mind bringing these in with me.
- lemon tarts
- icing sugar
- fruit – strawberries, raspberries, lemon, lime, cucumber, mint
- bruschetta – tomatoes, rocket, avocado, mozzarella, prosciutto, salmon?, fennel, balsamic vinegar
- gin, pimms, lemonade
For my lighting diagrams I have gone with some simple lighting techniques as I want to keep to the natural lighting that is used frequently. I will have to use a different sort of lighting when shooting my two drink shots as they will have glass in them so I will need ti be careful how these are lit.
For the food, I am going to use just two lights with the octolight being the main light source of light and then an RX300 light on the side just to draw in that extra lighting that I want to recreate that natural lighting effect that I desire for my shoot. Everything will be shot on a table for this, and for most of the food shot, it will be shot overhead so I will need to use the overhead shooting tool that is in the studio which you can attach the camera too when shooting overhead. When shooting the sushi for my last project I used tow lights which I am intending to use again for this shoot which I have previously mentioned above. I think maybe using a bigger soft box just to create more of a natural look in my images.
For the drinks section of this editorial project I need to think about my lighting for the drinks as these will include glasses which will be the hardest props to photograph as you have to think about the reflections and highlights that you get in the glasses themselves. As I hadn’t photographed glass before I needed to research into what sort of lighting photographers use for glass shoots.
- I have spoken to a photographer that I know who has photographed glass before; so I asked him if he could offer any advice on what sort of lighting techniques he uses when doing this type of photography for glass
- I showed him the sorts of photos that I wanted to create and said that they were going to be shoot in the studio rather than environmentally. He said that using a big soft box behind the product and then adding some extra diffusion to control the highlight and to soften shadows. – maybe using the octolight as thats is a big area of light as the main source would be the best idea for the drink.
Testing on Thursday 10th May
My plan for my test shoot is to buy some of the food I will be using from local shops and also the drink as well just so that I can test with one of the glasses before my actual shoot to get the lighting right for the glasses and to save time on the actual day as I know glasses can be hard to light and I have never done it before.
- 70x70cm softbox
- 1x1m softbox
- lighting stands
- backdrop stand
I will be using my own camera for this test shoot as I will be using the Phase 1 camera in my actual shoot I will need to bring along the following items to my testing:
- hotshoe adapter
- QP card
- flash meter
- lenses – 24-105mm, 18-55mm
I will also need to bring in some props with me so that I can make the shoot look more authentic and as true to my actual shoot as it can be.
- background for my dishes to go on as well as using the backdrops at Ravensbourne
- I am going to test the gin image so I will need to bring in the gin glass, ice, and straws
- I might also test the scones as I think that these will be the hardest to try and get right in terms of placing everything with the food and props etc to fit with the layout and the other images as well. I will need to bring a knife, tea towel, pots etc for this
- I will also be shooting overhead at a birdseye view and also in front of the product but slightly overhead as well, trying to capture as much of the product as I can and to try and fit the images into the layouts provided for my shoot so I will need to leave space around each product the allow for the fit
This is my lighting diagram for my test shoot, I did this setup as I found that when shooting with the glass it was very difficult to try and get the reflections out of the glasses especially when there was more than one glass in the frame. As I was using the big octolight behind me I found that this was the light that was causing the reflections to appear in the photo so I tried syncing the camera to the RX300 light which worked as the reflections didn’t appear however, the images came out a lot darker than before as the RX300 isn’t as powerful as the RX1200. I think for my actual shoot I will book out the RX500’s as these are more powerful than the 300’s so might give the images a bit more pop to them rather than being dark. I also tried testing with both the 70x70cm soft box and the 1x1m soft box just to see which one would be better for going the most light.
Potential images for my test layouts:
So I have chosen a couple of final images from my test shoot that I thought were the best ones from the shoot. I only tested 3 products which I thought were going to be the hardest ones to shoot, these were the gin and pimms because of the glass as I hadn’t shot glass before, and also the scones as I thought that these would be quite hard to style. I then decided to place these photos into the layouts straight away to see if they’d fit in and with the layouts.
WWW: I think that the test shoot went well, I think that the food will definitely look better if a food stylist is bringing it in. I also think that as I hadn’t shot glass before that that went quite well for a first attempt. It was a bit challenging with getting the reflections out of the glass and required a bit of testing and playing around but I eventually got there. I also left plenty of space around the products and in the back and foreground so that I could play with them in the layouts.
EBI: I think that with both of the drinks photos it would be nice that in my real shoot to use some more props like some whole fruits for instance limes, strawberries, and mint as well. I just think that this would enhance the photos bit more. I also think that the lighting is still making the photos a little bit dull and flat so in my actual shoot I will need to use stronger lights i.e. the RX500’s and then see if that enhances the photos a bit more.
I contacted the food photographer that I got some tips from for shooting glass and showed him a couple of my images of the gin and pimms shots just to get some advice and constructive criticism on them, as this was my first time shooting glass. He said that they looked a little fat and could do with some brightening up. He said they are definitely nearly there but just need some pop to them. He also said that as I wanted those ‘sunny’ shots, to embrace the highlights in the glasses. I will definitely take this criticism on board and have it in the back of my mind for my actual shoot on the 24th May.
After having my tutorial I feel ready to do my shoot on the 24th, I showed my tutor my test shots that I did with the glass of the gin and the pimms to see what he thought of them. He said about moving my background back a little bit so that you don’t get the clear distinction between where your backgrounds meet and so you don’t have to worry about editing it out in post. I think that I might change my lighting setup slightly on the day of my shoot with the glass just so I can have that key light come through on the glasses themselves which also might make them look a little less bland before post, making them pop more. I think doing this will really enhance my photos on the whole and will make them look more professional as well.
Complications so far
The only complication has been sourcing a food stylist again, I keep finding it very difficult to find a food stylist for my food shoots that I have done recently. I contacted Leith’s as soon as I got this brief and as soon as I knew that I was doing food however, again had no luck with them as all their students were in lessons again. I also tried Westminster and Le Cordon Bleu again to see if I would have any luck there again but nothing. I tried Hers agency to see if they had any assistant food stylists, stylists on Instagram, LinkedIn, trying to find people on Facebook but still had no luck. I then managed to find someone on LinkedIn who was willing to come in and help me out with my shoot, she is a food stylist and a chef which is even better so she is going to be making my food and then staying it as well.
- phase camera
- manfrotto tripod
- tether cable
- RX1200 lights
- RX500 lights
- 70x70cm soft box
- 1x1m soft box
- x2 lighting stands
I think my shoot went really well on the day, it all went really smoothly and I finished just on time. Assisting my partner for his shoot was good, he was slightly late so it kind of left me in a rut as to what to do because I didn’t know his lighting setup or anything however, I did as much as I could with setting things up etc. We had a slight problem with the sync lead and then eventually had to use the octolight and then sync it to that but that wasn’t an issue. Despite being a bit late he finished ahead of schedule which was fine.
My setup was a simple one, much like my test shoot however, I did change the lighting and doing this was probably the best idea as I didn’t get any reflections in the glasses which was really good. I thought that I would have to use the big over head camera stand to do my overhead shots but actually found that I didn’t need to and found it easier to just place the camera in a certain position and work with it this way.
This was my new lighting diagram that I used on the day of my shoot. I think using this setup was definitely better and enhanced my photos and gave them that summery lighting and pop that they needed in them.
My food stylist turned up on time which was good, so that meant that she was able to set up straight away which made things easier as we went on through the shoot. She had brought in all the food that I needed for my images as well as any condiments that went well with the food.
I started with the scones as this was a easy setup and layout to work with first; I then did the strawberry tarts and then the quiche. I then went onto the 4 photos of bruschetta and then finished with the drinks. I think doing the layouts in this order was good as it got the two landscape images out of the way and then went into the portrait and square layouts. I think all the photos were very simplistic which is what I wanted to go for and it worked out really well.
- these were the final images that I produced for this shoot, I didn’t want to overly edit them as I wanted them to look really light and natural and give them that summery feel to them
- when editing my photos I only really enhanced the brightness, contrast and exposure, just very slight retouching; I removed any crumbs and areas that were in the frame that I didn’t really want in there. I think I definitely captured the essence of the photos with the use of all the natural lighting and natural backgrounds and props
I think that overall the project went really well, I think all through the project I have had a very clear idea of what I wanted to do and was very focused on that idea all throughout my project; I didn’t change my idea once. The only thing that really set me back was finding the food stylist, I really struggled again with finding one as all the students at the London colleges were busy or in lessons so I had to find a proper food stylist. Once I did find one everything was fine and I was back on track again and everything on the day of my shot went really well and I was really happy with how everything turned out on the day and leading up to it. I think that all the images work really well in the layouts and are really well thought out. I don’t think I would change anything if I was to do this shoot again, I think everything was well planned and everything worked together.
Invoices below: left is estimate, right is real