Do you know those food commercials where the presented food is so beautiful and flawless that you start doubting if it is real or not? Well, most of the time, it is real. The process of capturing the perfect looking product is so carefully made that it requires several steps from cooking the food in question to perfectly placing it in front of the camera. It needs to look harmonious, tasty and appealing, in other words, the image needs to convey to the viewer the want to buy it.
It takes a lot of work to get the perfect photograph of a food. The photographer, such as Adrian Harrison, needs to work alongside the client and several other professionals such as a food stylist – yes, this job exists – to be able to capture the beauty of the food itself. Panels, solid backgrounds, various spots of lighting, among other needed props, will be used to create the perfect image or video that will attract new customers. Furthermore, the photographer will also place small hints throughout the propaganda to indicate what brand is currently being shown. Everything is important when photographing a food, nothing can be ignored because every small detail will weigh on how the final image will be.
It is important to emphasize that each and every step is important when photographing because everything needs to be in harmony. As for foods, it is common to see the client using the best ingredients and chefs to make a beautiful plate. However, if the food in question is susceptible to changes due to the heat or time, such as icecreams, it is also common to use props as a replacement. This technique is mostly used on long-terms shoots, ranging from commercials to movie productions, when the food is usually a part of the scenario. Therefore, it should look appealing yet realistic. However, as for commercials, the photographer needs to be careful to not deceive the eyes of the customer, because the client wants to sell a beautiful, yet not always perfect, product.
On the other hand, some commercials display such a perfect and flawless product that some customers can become displeased when presented with the real version of it. Therefore, to avoid such misunderstandings from happening, the brands prefer to put a disclaimer on the end, or throughout, the commercial, and, also, use real food. With that said, big brands, such as McDonald’s, have already taken a step forward and shown hardships behind the process of creating a new propaganda for each different media. Whether it is a public stunt or not, its purpose to show each and every step from the production of the food, the styling and then the photographing session, was successful.
The act of creating a high-quality image requires the photographer to have a great communication with the client and a clear understanding of what has to be done to achieve a certain goal. Therefore, after choosing the right path, the client has to trust the photographer to capture the perfect image to attract more revenue. However, it is of extreme importance that both of them keep in mind the purpose of the commercial and how the public will be affected by it. The quality of a food commercial is not decided by the brand or the photographer but by how the public reacts to it.
It is in the man’s nature to be willing to stop the moment. Or at least capture it and later on enjoy the memories over and over again. That is exactly what photography helps us do. But once you realize how rich the past of photography is, your mind will get blown.
Of course, the history of photography does not start with someone simply inventing a camera. Firstly, the main optical concept was developed. And only later it became the foundation for photography.
Camera obscura is an optical phenomenon that people have discovered…at least a couple of centuries BC! Camera obscura literally means ‘dark room’. Imagine, you have this pitch-black room. You make a tiny hole in the center of one of its walls. Wow! You can see a projection of what it outside the room on the wall opposite to the hole! Even though the image is upside-down, the effect is fascinating.
Certainly, you could not record images in such a way. But this became the first time in history, when a scenery was projected onto another surface.
The Greek philosopher Aristotle mentioned something close to a camera obscura in his writings. But it wasn’t until the 17th century, when camera obscura finally became small enough to be portable. Moreover, during that time the first lenses were introduced that helped elevate the quality of the projected image.
Joseph Nicéphore Niépce was the first man to produce a permanent image. He would place a sheet of paper coated with silver salts at the back of a camera obscura. The trick here is that silver salts become black, if exposed to daylight.
In 1816 the first ever image was produced. It was an image of nature that Niépce could see from his window. But the image soon vanished, because the man exposed it to daylight. That was the so-called ‘negative image’.
A lot of chemical experiments had to be conducted, before Niépce found out how to make the image stay.
When Niépce met Louis-Jacques-Mandé Daguerre real magic started to happen. Remember those old photographs where everyone looks extremely unhappy or even terrifying? Well, no wonder. In order to get a picture of themselves, people had to sit straight for around 15 minutes.
How did this whole thing work? Niépce and Daguerre found out that if you expose a copper plate coated with silver iodide to light and then fume it with mercury vapor and place that in a solution of common salt – a permanent image would appear.
Daguerreotypes were popular in the middle of the 19th century. Needless to say that such a work of art took quite a while to make and was expensive.
In the 1880s George Eastman created a flexible roll film. Now not only professionals could take photos! And you didn’t have to change the solid plates to capture a new image. Eastman came up with a self-contained camera that could hold 100 film exposures.
That certainly was a revolution in photography. Because any average person could now afford to capture priceless moments on something similar to our today’s disposable camera.
David Dean (http://daviddeanphotographic.co.uk) is the author of this article – he is a professional photographer based in Essex and as you can tell knows his stuff!Read More
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