Sunday, November 30, 2014

3 tips I learned on food photography from Milano Torino

“Too many good restaurants put up bad photos”, Dario Milano, our instructor, food stylist and photographer says to us at a food photography class I attended on Saturday morning at his newly opened restaurant, Milano Torino in Rosebery, NSW. That’s true. I know when I’ve done ‘not too bad a job’ at my food photography when my readers leave comments on my Instagram posts like “Your pics make my tummy rumble” (Instagram: @mattng) or one follower recently left a comment that left me glowing, “Your photos look sooo delicious that I literally want to take a bite out of my phone every time I see one (Instagram: @matthewjphotos)”.

Dario Milano, with his Northern Italian background and a chef has a new creative concept of food photography. Dario conducted his food photography classes in his new restaurant just opened in Rosebery to share not only his love for food photography but also his love of his food straight from the kitchen of his establishment. I attended Dario’s class as I wanted to refine my food photography skills to ensure consistency. I find restaurants that are not well lit the most difficult locations for good food photography. That’s probably why some photography posted on social media don’t do justice to some good restaurants. This is something that I definitely have room to improve on. After attending Dario’s classes, I also learnt new tips on taking photos during daylight.

Located on the busy Epsom Road in Rosebery, Milano Turino is both a restaurant and a studio for food photography. As you walk in, you will notice it is a well lit open plan space, with the kitchen area to the right and the bar and dining area to the left. You can also see well manicured gardens at the back from the entrance with a fish pond containing carps that are also ‘foodies’ as they will follow you as you stroll up and down the pond. By the windowsill facing south near the kitchen space is a rustic table set up along with vintage and antique homeware utensils that can be used as props to beautifully display and style the food we were to photograph. Dario sources these props for food styling all over the place around the world from flea markets and antique stores. Using good props for food styling always adds a little bit more character to the food, letting you imagine the setting in which you are dining in.

3 tips I learnt to create exceptional food photography include:

#1 Good lighting is everything. The food should be positioned by a window sill facing south to create soft even light that’s not harsh.

#2 If you are in a restaurant in the evening that is not well lit, use a spot light to create the equivalent of natural light. Don’t shine the spot light directly on the food otherwise you will have one side that is bright and another side with shadows. Try and find a wall (preferable white) where the spot light can bounce the flash light onto the food, creating softer lighting.

#3 Carry a grey card (which you can get from camera stores) so you know where mid grey is to ensure your whitebalance of your photos are correct.

It pays to get your photos right the first time and minimise post photo processing time. Food photography should be appetising and make your stomach grumble the second you glance at it, shouting out “eat me”. It is also a lot more rewarding where you have posted a photo you have taken rather than regramming someone else’s photo (with appropriate credit of course). Your followers will appreciate you for it. This will shine through in the number of people who are engaged with your posts.

Dario Milano, Photographer & Food Stylist
0411 566 264

Milano Torino
2/33 Epsom Road
Rosebery NSW


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