Food photographer, Tanya Zouev, treated us with mouthwatering shots when she took over our Instagram account.
“I will occasionally collaborate on a test shoot with a stylist or chef if a great idea pops into my head (and if I can find the time to execute it). I had an idea to shoot a naked cake so I asked dessert chef Jun Chen make this one especially for me. I might add quickly here that a love of food is essential for beautiful food photography.
“A connection to your subject matter and a love of cooking will bring you way more success than to someone who just points their lens at a plate of food because a job happened to come along that involved something edible.”
The naked cake was shot on an XF body and an IQ2 60MP Digital Back with a Schneider Kreuznach 120mm macro lens and Profoto D1 strobes. Most of my lighting techniques are based on replicating natural light whether it be diffused window light or direct sunlight. Sometimes I layer scrims, other times I use softboxes without diffusion cloths, I use poly boards, anything that makes the food look its best. There is no one size fits all lighting solution, everything is very much tailored to each individual shoot.”
“When I was a photography student back in the early ’90’s I was taught by staunch old-school photographers who drummed into me that “getting it right in-camera” was vital. I would go off to complete my assignments with a level of fear instilled in me of getting more than one or two frames wrong on my rolls of 120 film. If I did get more wrong, the lecturers would sure let us students know about it. 25 years later I still shoot with that philosophy in mind and use retouching with subtlety and care. However, having said all that, sometimes getting it right in-camera is impossible!
This is an image shot for Kopperberg cider made up entirely of composited files shot over the course of a day in the studio with a creative director and stylist Fiona Sinclair. When shooting these kinds of jobs I put on an entirely different thinking cap to the “get it right in camera” one. This image was shot on a 645DF+ with an IQ2 60MP Digital Back and ProfoD1 strobes to freeze the liquid.”
“When I first started shooting beverages I found that liquid behaves very differently to food and requires a rather different approach. I used to be terrified of it, but nowadays, it doesn’t scare me so much.”
“Everybody loves melted cheese. Considered by some to be the ultimate comfort food, cheese can be one of the hardest foods to work with as it is highly temperamental, discoloring and go hard and wrinkly very quickly (like some people I know!). This leaning tower of toasted sandwiches was shot for a City of Sydney food truck fleet vendor and Janet Mitchell and I thought what better way to showcase toasties than to do a stack of them.
Shot on an XF Camera Body and IQ2 60MP Digital Back with a Schneider Kreuznach 120mm macro lens and ProfoD1 strobes. This was shot in four stages with a little focus stacking and was later composited as each sandwich needed to be shot as soon as the cheese was melted.”
” A little retouching was applied to further enhance the meltiness and add some yum factor.“Yum Factor” or Y.F. I might add is the secret ingredient when it comes to food photography, so make sure you use plenty of it.”
“This is my basic go-to kit consisting of the XF Camera Body, the 645DF+ body, IQ2 60MP Digital Back, Schneider Kreuznach 55mm, 80mm, 120mm macro and 150mm (I use the 55mm for interiors and the 150mm for portraits). I have plans to add another couple of lenses to the swag and those will come in time (aren’t us photographers always spending money on gear?!)
I always have lots of batteries on hand and my computers are a Mac Pro for studio work and Macbook Pro laptop for location shoots (zebra-print shoes are a necessity too.)”