Pasties and Pints (of Cider)

Hi all,

Food. It's good stuff right!

Well, photographing the stuff is obviously a key ingredient (pun totally intended) in the marketing of any business that's involved with it!

Dan, a friend of mine in Cologne has been quietly growing his business selling Cornish Pasties to the locals, along with a few other tasty products from the homeland. He's been in the process of moving to a new, larger location, and asked for my help with some photos of his products.

Of course, I was happy to be involved, for anything else, the opportunity of free food. Oh, and english Cider - alcohol is also currency after all!

Now, photographing food isn't something i've done an awful lot of. Photographers all go through the phase of deciding we're going to make a fortune from micro-stock photography and start photographing the entire contents of our kitchens. Even i'm guilty of that one - i'm sure there are still one or two pictures of chopped-up garlic cloves knocking around on shutterstock!

Here's the set-up. It's pretty rudimentary, and although i had an arsenal of lighting kit with me, decided to use just one bare flash, bouncing off the ceiling behind (and point away from) the camera.

Yes, i know that tripod is totally unsuitable for the weight it's holding (feel free to gift me a new one)!

Yes, i know that tripod is totally unsuitable for the weight it's holding (feel free to gift me a new one)!

The plank of wood we ended using as our background was part of a seat outside the shop. It needed a bit of a clean, but ended up looking pretty nice!

I got wood

I got wood

We had decided that we wanted to shoot with a pretty narrow depth of field. In the end, perhaps a little too narrow. So narrow that only part of the front of the pasties was bang sharp. It still looked good though, for sure. Maybe something to think about in the future. Although, like i said, it was what and how we decided to shoot from the start.



We had a bunch of different pasties to shoot, and shot 6 in the end. You can imagine how much we ate during that shoot!

And the best thing was, we shot on a second day - this time CAKE!

The new shop is due to open today (June 1st), and a couple of days ago the images returned from the printers and were mounted in the windows. More will follow for inside the shop, and we do have another shoot planned when Dan gets round to polishing up the next chunk of wood!

Looking tasty (pasty)

Looking tasty (pasty)

Check out Dan's website here - and if you get the chance, pop by the new shop at Mauenheimer Str. 28, 50733 Cologne!

I'm off now to start my new (latest) diet.

Ant x 


Shooting Product

Ever wondered how online sellers get their products to look almost like they've been CGI'd on to a white background, almost like they're floating?

Well, here's an example of how it really happens!

This image appears on a friends online shop:

The above image is directly out of the camera - no Photoshop, no sorcery (except for the text of course!).

...and here is how the magic happens...

This is what i used to achieve this image:

2 pieces of white card, 1 piece of glass from an old A4 picture frame, 3 speedlights, some transparent wire (fishing wire or something similar), a table and something to hold the wire. Of course, you need the camera, tripod and product itself!!

Here's the set-up, complete with 15 month old assistant:

So, there you have it! Not as technical as you'd probably think!

The biggest challenge is eliminating shadows. But that can usually be achieved by blowing your background out with flash. If however, you're not working with a white background, then it's going to be a bit more of a challenge! But, like in this situation, once you have you scene and your settings right you can wheel product after product in front of the camera and shoot away!

The main thing is - have fun!!


Until next time!

On Track


A couple of weeks ago, i was assigned the task of shooting some fast driving at close quarters. A second assignment for me from Fiat took me to a disused air-force base, where a select group of customers had been invited to put some Arbarth and Alfa 4C's through their paces.

From a technical point of view, action photography is pretty straight forward - as fast a shutter speed as you can manage for the exposure conditions. I had a bright sunny day, so most of the time i was never below 1/1200th Sec, keeping the iso on 400 just to give me a bit of protection. Heat distortion was a bit of an issue early in the day - it was pretty hot! And with hot engines, the distortion just got worse. I'm pretty sure that the nearby airport didn't get many spotters in that weather! They would have been suffering the same problems as i was.

Things get a little more complicated with panning shots; getting the background to show motion-blur while keeping the car in focus. For this technique you need to bring your shutter-speed to below 1/120 sec, and track the car with the camera as it passes. Sometimes it's a hit, sometimes it's a miss. Practice makes perfect!

The afternoon though saw some cloud arrive, and with that, a serious reduction in the amount of heat-distortion coming from the tarmac and the cars! 

All in all, a successful shoot!

ALL pictures © Ant Palmer/Ape.Photos. Use ONLY with permission.


When Opportunity Arrives

When opportunity arrives, it can arrive in a number of ways. A chance meeting. An old acquaintance. A former client thats gone solo. You get the drift.

For me, a recent opportunity arrived in the post.

I received an invitation from a car manufacturer, via a local car dealership to attend the launch of a new model. The manufacture involved here was Alfa Romeo, which goes under the umbrella of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles. 

In addition to the fact that the invitation was to enjoy an evening of free food and drink, I thought it also a nice opportunity for me to photograph something new. I called the RSVP number, and got through to a lovely lady who when I asked if i would be able to bring a camera with me responded with 'oh, i don't think we have a photographer coming!'

Here was the opportunity.

The lady i spoke to at Fiat put me in touch with the Marketing Agency that was organising the event. She was right - there was no photographer planned.

I spoke to the guy who was organising the event, and agreed that I would come along with my camera kit and we'd share the pictures. I wouldn't be paid for the work, but money was never in my plans here anyway - i simply wanted to take some pictures of the new car and the event in general.

Anyway, to cut a long story a little shorter - the agency and manufacture were happy with the pictures a shot. An error on my part was that i concentrated my shooting purely on the car, and not all the happy guests enjoying the hospitality. Lesson learnt there. Anyway, as i was saying, the pictures went down well enough that Fiat Chrysler have since brought me in again to do paid work at one of their events. Awesome! 

The company have a full calendar of events for next year, so hopefully this is the start of great relationship - let's see how things develop in 2017!