Showing posts with label sponsored. Show all posts
Showing posts with label sponsored. Show all posts

Monday, January 28, 2013

Hey Man Nice Shot - Part 3

So all of a sudden restaurant photography - or the prohibition thereof - is a hot topic. At least the New York Times would have us believe that, according to a piece published last week: "Restaurants Turn Camera Shy." The article describes a "growing backlash" against in-restaurant food photography, citing bans imposed at places such as Momofuku Ko and Chef's Table at Brooklyn Fare.

If this doesn't quite sound like breaking news to you - that's because it isn't. In fact, David Chang's ban on pictures at Ko already made the news cycle at least once before - nearly five years ago. Brooklyn Fare's no-photo policy (and no notes, and no cell-phones!) likewise has been around for at least a couple years.

People taking pictures in restaurants isn't anything new. Chefs and other diners being annoyed by people taking pictures in restaurants also isn't anything new. And while I can empathize with the sentiment, there are any number of other restaurant behaviors I find equally if not more annoying: loud cell-phone talking, sloppy drunkenness, heavy petting, lousy tipping.

So if you're going to do it, you ought to at least do it in a way that's least intrusive and offensive to your fellow diners, and also try to get the best shot possible, right? The NYT piece prompted a few good guidelines on that front: "How to Take a Picture in a Restaurant Without Looking Like a Jerk;" "Everyone: Taking Food Pictures in Restaurants is Not that Complicated;" and "Restaurant Food Photography: Is It Possible to Do It Well?" hit on most of the high points. To summarize: no flash; no tripods; no weird filters; no pictures of other people in the dining room; take your shots quickly; learn how to use your camera; don't clutter the table with equipment; and "Above all else, try not to be a dick."

I mentioned a couple weeks ago that I'd been given the opportunity to try out a Sony NEX-5R camera as part of a Sony / Flavorpill campaign. I've been using it a couple weeks now, and am finding it to be a great tool to fulfill most of these commandments. Its body is actually about a centimeter shorter than an iPhone and not much wider, other than the grip on the right-hand side. Though it won't fit in your pocket with the lens attached, it is still significantly less of a space-hog than a DSLR. But it still has virtually all of the capabilities of a DSLR: full manual control, very solid picture quality, good low-light performance, the flexibility of interchangeable lenses. You'll be able to see the results soon at the Sony Store - details to follow shortly.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Hey Man Nice Shot - Part 2

Nearly four years ago when I started this blog, I thought about - and wrote about - my ambivalent feelings towards food photography. At that point, I was decidedly outside the camp of the "douchebags taking pictures of their food." Not that I had any problem with other people doing it, if done discreetly - indeed, I've always thoroughly enjoyed viewing the work product of talented photographers like A Life Worth Eating and Ulterior Epicure and Chuck Eats and Doc Sconz. I just knew I wasn't in that group and wasn't sure, even if I had such skills, that I wanted to be.

Four years later, I still feel like a complete hack of a photographer, but I'm a less reluctant one. I still don't particularly love taking pictures during a meal, but I'm grateful for having done so after the fact, to have something tangible by which to memorialize and in some ways relive the experience. There is truth to the saying that "We eat first with our eyes."

But for every gorgeous picture that captures the beauty and savor of a great dish, there are a dozen blurry, overexposed, flash-saturated, Instagram-filtered abominations that are the opposite of appetizing. I don't want to be one of those. So, if for no other reason than to honor the work of the chefs whose dishes I photograph, I have tried to improve my skills. I've learned what some of the different controls on my camera do. I bought a decent point-and-shoot with a larger sensor and a brighter lens that can shoot better in low-light situations. I even started to figure out how to use a real DSLR, when Frod Jr. got one for his birthday and generously loaned it out to me from time to time.

(continued ...)