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Our Thoughts on Food Photography, and how to make it a success in Singapore

Our company, I Shinora Pte Ltd (iShinora) is known for Singapore food photography. Our Singapore food photographers have shot for a range of clients, from high-end restaurants to hawkers or road-side stalls. We are capable to shoot large scale projects, like thousands of restaurants a month.

Our success is based on shoot planning. Here are our thoughts on success for Asian food photography:

Purpose of the professional shoot

You should let the photographer know the purpose of  the food photography. If you are looking for a Singapore professional photographer, you already understand that consumers today want to be enticed into your store. However, there are different styles of shooting depending on the purpose of the shoot. A menu image should be simpler, uncluttered, and not misleading. A promotional shot can be as creative as possible to attract customers. If you are shooting for an interview or restaurant feature, you will want to style the shots but also keep it realistic and also shoot the people well.

Deciding on the Scope

Deciding what items to shoot is very important for food photography and may involve specialized equipment. A full list of the food items to be shot should be provided to the photographer. An experienced professional photographer at iShinora will be able to tell you how long it will take for each item.

Generally iShinora can do a direct shoot in 90 minutes or less. He or she will also explain how to sequence the food preparation so that the shoot can be conducted in an efficient way. For example, hero shots or shots of a grouping of your dishes may be needed. Hence your chef should prepare those dishes first. Some dishes may look better while freshly prepared. These are all things to take note for successful food photography.

Schedule of the Shoot and Where to Shoot in your restaurant

As restaurants are our clients, we know to avoid peak hours. We will usually come before lunch or after lunch. We rarely shoot at night as the chef may be tired or the place less clean. Although we will do so on request. Usually you need to reserve a place in your restaurant for the shoot. It is usually a table with two tables’ space around it. You may use your own table cloth or we can provide artificial ones. We usually bring our own lighting and equipment but we will need some space with good natural light if possible.

Once the schedule is set, please do not postpone or cancel the appointment. Usually quite a number of people are waiting for the images, such as the post-editing team, the quality assurance people and of course your potential customers.

Equipment

Among other things, we will bring our professional cameras and specialized lenses. We will take overhead shots, forty-five degree shots and close-in shots of your food. Some of the shots may need someone to pour a sauce or gravy. But first we will set up our equipment. There will be a few pieces of lighting, a base table cloth and perhaps a backdrop. 

One crucial piece of “equipment” is your food. Please ensure that the food is prepared on time and in the right condition to shoot. To achieve the best effect, the restaurant needs to see the professional photographers as partners-in-crime.

Styling Items

Where possible, we seek to use in-house styling items, so that the images can stay with the customer. The customer can recognize the items and brand them together with the restaurant. We are happy to discuss with you in your kitchen on what to style with. Popular items are garnishes, pepper containers, sauces, display items like onions or cheeses, or even the raw ingredients of the dish. Where possible, the ingredients need to be in the best condition too. You might want to put aside the best looking fish or cheese for example.

Cleaning

The last thing to do after we have planned for the shoot and set up the equipment is to help you clean the area of the shoot and the styling items. While we can remove imperfections in editing, we want the images to look as best as possible for you. In Part 2, we will share with you what we do after the shoot.

Yours sincerely,

Adeline Mu

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