Posts by Phillip Pilkington:
I have been working on a food photography shoot with George Foreman and I wanted to show some of the results here. The shoot took place in Manchester inside the building where the George Foreman marketing offices are based, there was a team of people on shoot, me the food photographer, Tom the food stylist, creative director from Pondarossa creative agency and 3 marketing executives from George Foreman.
We all had a part to play and worked as a team to create content for the brand. There was a pre-planned arrangement to what we were going to be shooting, I think it was 6 meals in various different locations or looks. The theme of the shoot was to show the versatility of the type of food that can be cooked on the Grill.
The results are very pleasing, some of my best work as a food photographer. Most food photography uses a shallow depth of field to make the food stand out and show lots of detail, the food is the star and the background setting can lead into out of focus.
I hope you like the photography I have shown here. If you want to hear more about a particular shoot or a a type of photography please send me a message and I will try and work on it. Also check out and follow my Instagram.
To the shock of many photographers I have started to make some video production pieces, this video I have to show is a short video made for the Charity ‘Woof’. It is a charity dog walk raising money for Cancer Research UK. The event took place on 23rd September 2018, lots of nice dogs and dog owners took the dogs on a walk around the famous Heaton Park. There was also a competition for best dog. The park is a great place to hold events such as this one, it’s massive, well looked after and very scenic.
I wanted to raise my skills in video production so I volunteered my services for the good cause. I live near Heaton Park which was helpful, I only got to spend about 45 minutes filming as I had other commitments but I will be working on more videos such as this one in future. I hope you like the video, if you feel compelled to help out with the cause please contact the Woof facebook page.
I have some images to show, these are images of hair dryers and they are to be used on Remington packaging covers to show off the products to their full potential. All 3 images have very different lighting used which can be seen in the reflections on these shiny products.
It takes a lot of studio lighting skill and techniques to make the reflections look as good as these. Every photographer has their own way of working and controlling the reflections through lighting. I have as used some image stacking which is to make sure the whole product is in focus. If you don’t know then I will tell you that lots of photographers who get a shot in one photo may be leaving parts of the product out of focus, not that noticeable but could be an issue if the image is printed large. Than some technical details are more visible.
If you want to me to post about anything in particular then please let me know. I hope you enjoyed reading about my product photography.
I was asked to photograph hull university as they have had lots of renovation work done to their building and a new wing to the campus including an auditorium. As soon as I saw the interior I new their was massive potential for some great interior photography. I had just ordered a new lens which is the Tamron 16-30mm f2.8 VR ultra wide angle zoom lens which was the perfect kens for this type of shoot.
The colours and the design and the standard of work that the builders and contractors had done looked amazing, I got my tripod out and over the next 5 hours took around 400 images of the great Hull university. One reason why I took so many images is because I was bracketing, this means I would take a shot that was under-exposed (too dark), then I would take a shot at the correct exposure, followed by a shot that was over-exposed (too bright) and by combining these shots in photoshop I would have control over the images and what looks best. This process does take a fair amount of time but it is how to get some technically brilliant results.
The new lens performed so well, the clients were very impressed by the work and used my photography services several more times. If your business needs new interior photography you can always talk to me about a high end photography service. If there are any topics which you would like to see on my photography blog please send an email to let me know.
Thanks for reading,
I shoot lots of products, a fair amount of electrical products. Sometimes I can be challenged to make products look great, this shoot wan not one of them. The pink toaster with chrome trim is just a good looking product. I wouldn’t have one in my own kitchen but the images look so cool. I did some of my normal techniques like shooting multiple lighting set-ups and combining the shots in post-production using Photoshop. These photography techniques is the main reason the product shots look so good.
If you are from the UK and you are wondering what the piece of kit on top of the toaster is, this is a bun warmer. Sold in Europe only to warm up buns and croissants on top of the toaster, I know what your thinking, I want one. Well in the UK you can’t have one. Europe only…. doh.
For these type of product shots which get used on the packaging cover I will do a range of shots, this main image is the ‘hero’ shot, this is the image that the brand will use the most. It has to match other product shots in look, camera angle, product angle, etc. Colour consistency is also important because there is likely to be a range of products which all match in colour, here is the toaster and the is also a matching kettle, maybe they will have a coffee maker to match also?
If there is any more details about product photography you would like to know please let me know and I will be happy to answer your questions and maybe even do a write up on the photography blog?
I am going to talk about photography that I have worked on for Restaurants and the way I work for best photographs that show the food in their best light. Get ready for the best tips to help you shoot better images for restaurants.
- Start with the natural. One of the issues with photographing food in restaurants is the lighting. The lighting normally is set up to create a ambience for the customers who want a romantic meal. Most restaurants are dark with some window light, some side lights. Other restaurants don’t have any window light. I really like to include natural light when shooting food.
- Balance the light. When I can I will use long exposure settings on the camera for food photography. This lets the daylight show on the food shots but being careful to balance the light with the flash. If the exposure is too long the daylight will appear too bright, the shot might look OK but some details of the food might disappear and become white areas with no detail. Best keep camera exposure to around 1/2 second and try using different power settings of the flash to get the correct exposure you are looking for.
- Use a tripod. Nobody can hold a camera still enough for 1/2 sec, the image will appear to be slightly blurry. If you are doing long exposure shots the photographer will need to use a tripod.
- Use a long lens. When I say long lens I am referring to the focal length, I would recommend using in-between 70-200 mm. It just so happens most lens manufacturers make this very type of Lens. I use a Nikkor 70-200 mm lens, an even better option would be using prime lenses. Prime lenses are the ones that don’t zoom, they have a fixed focal range, they usually produce a better image quality. The more noticeable difference is the quality of out-of-focus areas of the image, a good lens to use would be a 85 mm or 100 mm lens.
- How shallow. Most food photography is taken at fairly close range as this helps the viewers to see the detail of the food. As a result, the background of the image will be blurred although this is not a bag thing it helps the look of the image. How much to blur the background or even the food is up to the photographer. It helps to add style to the image but if you blur the image too much the food itself may hardly be in focus and the clients can’t see the food clearly. The way the depth of field (blur) is controlled is by the F stops. I don’t recommend using an F stop as low as F/2.8 as I think a good balance is around F/8 to F/11. It does depend on how close you are to the food as the closer you are the more blur will appear. If you go too high with the F stop control, say F/16 or above, I think you are seeing too much of the background coming into focus.
- ISO. Most photographers will know this but for better quality images the ISO should be as low as possible. My camera’s lowest ISO is ISO 100, some cameras can go lower than this. By using ISO 100 the image created will have little or no digital grain which usually looks bad. You can shoot on ISO 400 but I don’t recommend going higher than this.
- Go Ultra wide. When shooting for restaurants, in my experience, the photographer is not only there to create images of the food but of the kitchen and dining area too. To make the interior look its best, I would use a ultra wide angle lens for this. It makes the room look bigger and it helps the look of the interior by adding a dynamic element.
- Look for the unique. If there is anything unique about the restaurant make sure you get images of it. The restaurant industry is one of the most competitive industries there is aside from the photography industry…. Restaurants normally have something about them to help them stand out from the crowd. It could be features of the building, cocktail drinks that only they serve etc. I once captured a staff member because he got his accordion out and started playing for the customers.
If you follow these tips you will have some great results from photo-shoots at restaurants If these tips have helped please let me know and even share images with me so I can put them on my blog to show others.
Whatever floats your boat.
This weeks blog I show some examples of a studio photoshoot I did in Bolton where I make the products float, or just a part of the product. With the right tools and the right know-how it isn’t too difficult to do, but to make it look good is some only a skilled professional Photographer/Retoucher can pull off.
The main example I have here is a shot of a Remington Mens shaver, to create this image I would set up all equipment, camera, lighting in the Bolton Studio. I would then take a photograph of the complete product as normal, the shaver head is still attached at this point, I would then take another shot of the product but this time the head has been removed. I would then bring all images into Photoshop to start the Retouching work, I start by cutting out the product with the pen tool. I do the same for both images, I then use these two images on the same page where they will appear on different layers. I can now cut out the shaver head off the complete shaver image and use it on the other image where the product head has been removed. It is that simple, we are done, finished….
It can become more complex depending on the product.
The image below is slightly different. I used fishing wire to suspend the coffee hopper out of the coffee machine, I then took the same image without the suspended hopper and masked out the fishing wire. Using this technique there are lots of options to do special effects photography without too much difficulty.
The shoot in Bolton went well with some great product photography to show for it, if there are other studio photography techniques you would like to hear about please get in touch and I can work on my next blog post with your ideas in mind.
Tell me what floats your boat….
Thank you for visiting my photography blog. I am going to show you a photography service I have been working on for over a year now. That is 360 spin photography, most of my work is product photography and this is very useful for that area of imagery too. Firstly let me tell you how it is done.
I set -up lights and camera in the studio, I use a white spinning turntable which helps to create an even spin, if you don’t use a proper turntable then the spin won’t be a smooth spin. With the turntable I shoot one full spin with 72 still images, I then bring all images into Photoshop and retouch any issues with the product, I then use Photoshop timeline to create either a video or a gif with the still images. Once the video has been render I then use Adobe After Effects to make the spin look even smoother.
To create one full spin does take a lot of work, the process including set-up, the shoot and the post-production is 1 full day for 1 product. The benefits are a very nice 360 product video, and a high res still of the product from any angle from the cameras single view point. This is a great asset for any business to show off high quality products. If you require a 360 photography service please get in touch and we can chat about your image needs.
This weeks photography blog post is showing a product shoot I did not too long ago in bury. It is a cover image for Russell Hobbs packaging of their red textures kettle, it is a nice looking kettle and the highlight is it mixes smooth and textured plastic surface. I think it is a nice touch to help the look of the product.
It was a bit of a challenge to show off the different textures when photographing the product in the studio, When you use softboxes and diffusion sheets for the correct lighting techniques the textured surface starts to look too soft, the lighting technique for textured materials is to use a harsh lights without any diffusion. I do usually use multiple different lighting setups for a packaging type product shoot but this one was just harder to work on. I then need to blend multiple shots together in Photoshop which is a high level skill all on it’s own. I did find the right set-up to showoff the different textures and the end result is pleasing to the eye. If you are looking for a specialist product photographer then lets talk and I will be able to show off your products in the same way.