Saturday, October 12, 2013

Building A Sandwich

So I've been wanting to build a sandwich lately... You'll notice I said 'build' rather than 'make'. By 'build' I mean I needed to construct a sandwich that was photogenic enough to be pictured. If you want your food to look good on camera, you must must must have it Food Styled. (Yes, there is such a word). Read more about it on the Wikipedia definition here: (Link)

In order to have your food styled, you'll need a food stylist. A food stylist works hand in hand with the photographer in taking care of the technical culinary details involved in preparing the food for the camera. (Example: Food Stylist takes care of the cooking, plating and props, Food Photographer takes care of the lighting, camera settings, picture taking, etc.)

A food stylist must be trained in the art of cooking as well as know the basics of photography in order to jive with the food photographer. He or she is absolutely essential to a food photography shoot.

But unfortunately for me, I don't know any food stylists around Bacolod so I had to be my very own stylist-slash-photographer. I really would prefer working with a stylist since running back and forth from the kitchen to the shooting area is tedious. Not to mention oil or food stains that can contaminate your camera from handling the food. Anyway, since this is just a pet project of mine, I dabbled and practiced my food styling as well. It was pretty fun! But a bit frustrating nonetheless. I need a more experienced food stylist to teach me the ropes if I ever hope to continue playing dual roles at one time.

Just to give you an idea of the process of food styling, I'll be posting a bit more about it later.

So to finish off this lengthy intro, allow me to introduce you to my manwich.

This baby is a Ham-Salami sandwich composed of a freshly baked loaf of whole wheat mixed grains, an immaculate bed of fresh organic lettuce and tomatoes, creamy cheddar cheese, gracious slices of Milano Salami and Farmer's ham, seasoned with horseradish (not in picture) and black olives. Served with a side of your regular Lays Sour and Cream chips and a huge bottle of Tsingtao beer. (I should've gone for a German beer [maybe Erdinger] but hey, that was the only thing in the ref.)

So here's the process that this sandwich underwent:

So you start off with a chopping board and a white background. I chose a wooden board for this since I wanted a more 'natural' treatment.

You toast and place your whole wheat mixed grains bread. Also place a piece of corkboard under the slice of bread for added elevation.

Add the Lays Chips via the use of a tweezer for greater accuracy.

Grab some fresh organic lettuce (make sure you put it in the chiller right away after you get home as this preserves the color). Dunk the lettuce in ice cold water, wipe it off, then place it on the bread. Make sure to spray some water droplets on the lettuce after placing to connote freshness. 

Note: Placed a corkboard under the lettuce for added elevation. 

Add some tomatoes. Also make sure to spray water droplets on them .

Add some of the cheese. I wanted the cheese to stand out here so I took one whole piece of cheese and sliced it into four parts so that I could make them overlap. (Note: cheese is hard to work with as it sticks on porcelain and has a tendency to break into pieces. Workaround: a cheese board perhaps? I don't really know)

Tried to add a corkboard to the cheese for added elevation. Didn't work out. Removed.

Arranged the cheese in an overlapping manner.

Added the Farmer's ham. Cut one piece into two slices, overlapping.

Added the Milano Salami.

Note: Brushed both the Ham and the Salami with cooking oil in order to make it glisten more. Connoting freshness.

Added the sliced and pitted black olives via tweezer.

Placed 2 toothpicks on top of the salami for foundation then added the bread.

Added one more tooth pic in order to elevate the top layer of bread.

Placed the green olive with tootpick above for added aesthetic value. 

Chopped some parsley into fine bits then garnished on the sandwich. Adjusted using tweezers.

Now to add the props. Took out a green beer bottle (Tsingtao) Added to the background. 

Added table napkin with contrasting color pattern to the foreground to fill empty space. Voila! Finished.

Here's what the setup looked like:

Items Used:
1. Foldable Light Tent - Perfect for small dishes and very portable.
2. Nikon SB-700 with lightstand and bracket for main light.
3. Tweezers - for moving small objects around.
4. Scissors
5. Toothpicks - for holding things into place with soft foods (like bread)
6. Corkboard - for elevation.
7. Swiss Army Knife - never leave home without it. In this case, used as a paper weight lol
8. Small Standing Mirror - as a mini reflector.
9. Reflective paper - stuck to the side of the light tent with adhesive.
10. Modeling Knife - to precisely cut small foods (like cheese)
11. Toolbox - to keep the rest of your magic tricks.
12. Bowl with Brush and Cooking Oil - apply cooking oil to meat via brush to add the glisten that connotes freshness.
13. Blower with Brush - to get rid of small specs of dust on the set.
14. Painter's Spatula - to spread sauces.

Exif Data:
Nikon D7000 with Nikon 17-55mm f/2.8 @ f/8, 1/125, ISO 100
Also used Nikon 40mm f/2.8 Micro

Post Processing Data:
Minor tweaks in Lightroom. One focus stacking done with Photoshop.

Whew. Well that's that! Haha