Results tagged food photography from David Lebovitz

Interview with Food Photographer Michael Lamotte & From the Source

Star Route Farms

I met Michael Lamotte back in 1998, when I was looking for a photographer to shoot my first book, Room for Dessert. Because he had done several beautiful books with other Bay Area authors, I was really happy that I was able to work with him because I was a big fan. He did such a great job that he photographed my second book as well. I was a newbie back then and didn’t have much of a sense of what goes into a photo shoot for a cookbook, but I learned a lot working with him. And I also learned why he’s so successful; not only is he a great photographer, but he’s a terrific guy.

There are a lot of food photographers out there, but Michael has a particularly keen eye for food. Which is why I’m fascinated by his current project, From the Source, with images that are both haunting and magnificent, and make me look at everyday foods from a different perspective. I was curious why he chose to take his photography in this particular direction for this very personal project, focusing on local foods from the San Francisco Bay Area.

Michael is currently preparing an exhibition in San Francisco at the a.Muse art gallery (see end of interview for opening dates and related events) and since I was recently in San Francisco, I thought I’d ask him some questions about what he does, how he gets such amazing shots, and what motivated him to take on this project.

FTS B+W

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Aracena (Andalusia, Spain)

Spanish vegetables

Even though I only went to Spain with a half-empty carry-on, I came back with my luggage, and head, stuffed full. Not because of the in-flight oxygen, but from attending a food photography workshop with ace food photographer Tim Clinch. I’d met Tim a few years ago and he had been kind enough to try to give me some advice via Skype in my continuing quest to streamline the way I do things. Everyone who is everyone has told me that Lightroom would change/rock my world.

But when I open the editing program, my head goes into a tailspin. Partially it’s all those levers that promise to make your photos as top-notch as the pros, which are also so gosh-darn miniscule. (It’s like they designed them to purposely exclude anyone who has vision problems, as it’s a real challenge to hover my mouse over them to hit them precisely right.) I know there are all sorts of tutorials and books that promise to teach you everything you need to know.

Call me cranky, but I have enough things on my plate, like worrying about using “it’s” instead of “its” (can’t we just collectively decide to let them be interchangeable? – especially because my grammar-check keeps flagging the first “it’s” in this paragraph), and making sure I’ve got my photos tagged correctly; I goofed and posted a picture on my Facebook page that was incorrectly tagged, and after a visit to a lovely market, I came home and found a slew of less-than-pleasant words aimed in the direction of yours truly.

pastries

But now that I’m older and wiser – and believe me, after working in restaurant kitchens since I was 16, I’ve heard everything – I was happy to be able to just take a deep breath, and focus my efforts – and my trusty camera – on doing what makes me happy. And that was taking a trip to Andalusia to practice with a pro, and have some fun while we were at it. Because if it’s not fun – why do it?

Since everyone agrees that this Lightroom editing program is the best thing since sliced pan, off I went for a long weekend with Tim. I was also looking forward to learning from him how to see things differently, and taking pictures out of my comfort zone. So this post I’m kind of thinking of as my “homework.” There are a jumble of photos, sizes, styles and so forth. But what the heck.

jamón

And for sure, I’d rather be eating, tasting, and exploring new cities than going through technical manuals. So there.

(Although I did realize after I edited all the photos that I got the size wrong and had to rework ‘em. Can someone please advise me of when I will catch a break?)

arroz negro

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Food Photography for Bloggers: Interview with Matt Armendariz

Matt Armendariz is one of my favorite people and my biggest regret it that we live about 6000 miles apart. We’ve had fun trips to Provence and Mexico together, and he even invented a cocktail after me. Although I have to clarify that I invented it, but he gave it wings – and a name. But no one can take credit for the beautiful photography on his site except him. I’ve been incredibly fortunate to spend a few vacations with him, and we’ve also pulled up at the same table more times that I can count (and I’m not complaining!)

MattArmendariz

Matt is a self-taught photographer who made a name for himself by shooting light-filled photos of food, amazing portraits, and working with national magazines, major retail stores, and cookbook authors. He’s also been really helpful giving advice to a number of non-professionals (like me) about photography, and his advice is always spot-on and he’s especially good at explaining things that even I can understand. So I’m thrilled that he’s finally written it all up for everyone to benefit from in his book, Food Photography for Bloggers.

chocolate chip cookies 2 chocolate chip cookies

In addition to gorgeous photography (and a few not-so-gorgeous ones to help you see that you see how a subtle change can turn a mediocre photo into something sensational), there are tips about how to shoot food – and chefs – in restaurants, how you can get the best shot by moving the food you’re shooting to find the right light (which isn’t necessarily where we think it is, I learned from teh book), and a chapter on equipment subtitled “Using What Ya Got!” focusing on how to get better shots without buying any additional equipment. I loved reading and seeing in action how just by changing an angle or your perspective, you can dramatically improve the shot, and make the food look extra-enticing.

roasted chicken picture roast chicken

I wanted to ask Matt a few questions to share with you. So here we go…

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