Monday, September 03, 2007

Shooting Mango

Back from England friday evening and straight down the bar, bags and all. Truthfully I wanted to go home but work, even low paid for the experience and folio work, is work.

I was asked to take some photos of a local bar by my friend, Atsuko, a freelance designer. Each time she goes to a new place for a drink she gets asked to re-design their name cards, their posters or their signs. Everybody wants something doing if they think about it, but most seem not to think about it unless there is a designer in front of them.

Because of the Obon holiday we weren't able to do the photos before I left for the U.K. We arranged to take them the day after I arrived back, before I started school. Friday's meeting was to arrange what and in what way the photos were to be taken. Very simply, 3 drinks and a bar shot, with an 'evening' feel. Sounds easy. Wasn't.

I asked my friend Alex to come and help. My experience in the studio gave us some advantages and Alex came with experience of his tools and a lot of reading behind it. Between us we almost did a great job. Below is the rough version of the poster from Saturday's shoot, forwarded to me by Atsuko.
The beer, which we thought would be difficult because the head settles quickly, was the easiest of the lot. Just kept topping the head until we got the creamy texture we wanted. We used Japanese barley tea as a substitute for the bourbon because it was cheaper to re-fill, but the final shot used real bourbon, which kept its colour better even when the ice melted a little. The wine, which we thought would be the easiest was the the most difficult. We had to dilute it to get the colour of wine and still keep the the glass at the correct exposure. The wine reflected everything infront of it. We wanted to keep the rosey red highlight at the bottom right of the glass but had to balance it with the reflection.

Anybody who does the same style of work might remember their first time trying to take appealing photos of drinks and food and smile. It isn't easy, but we did o.k and kept to the agreed time limit (something that my cameraman is fanatical about). I will show the photos from Saturday to my cameraman and on the basis of those, he may (or may not) feel confident in giving me more freelance work. Fingers crossed.


Damon said...

Having photographed food in situations where I was unable to play with lights and take a lot of time I know how difficult it is to make it look edible let alone tasty. That beer looks refreshing. Nice clear images Nick, you should feel proud.
Thanks for the comment. The love Hotel sign made me laugh. I was there stock shooting...I did Not go inside..alone...or with anyone. I most certainly did not take picture of the dungeon room, the menu of vibrators, the the school girl uniforms in the cooler wardrobe cum vending machine in the corridor. (why would you want to wear chilled clothes anyway?)
Nearby there is Tokyos`s if not Japan`s most famous love hotel: you know the one that looks like the QE2. I have yet to get out there and shoot it though but aren`t they great; and if you ever arrive anywhere late they are easily the cheapest, most luxurious (in a cicular, tiger skin print bed of massive acreage and pornography sort of way) hotels in Japan!
Talk to you soon Damon

Nick Benwell said...

Darn tootin' they are! Cheapest place for two to crash for a night if stuck in the city (we have done 3 in a not so celubrious palace).

We used a speedlight on a stand, bounced off the ceiling to keep the light even, and Alex proved his worth by using a black board to one side of the drinks that helped to bring a little more definition to otherwise transparent glass.

Damn good fun! Showed the poster to my cameraman today and he chuckled a bit but no crits.