Food photography blog

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Orange County food photographer - Model Meals

Model Meals shoot
Food Beast kitchen - 4th Street Market, Santa Ana

Creating the “natural light” look with important visual continuity.

I had a great opportunity recently to work with a wonderful new company called Model Meals here in Orange County. They are a meal delivery business that had contacted me in order to improve their photo assets for both the web site, App and Social Media. They had already shot some previous photography over the last couple years but there was an inconsistency in the lighting and composition and a different look and feel. They now wanted to create new look and feel along with more continuity with all the photo assets so they decided to take it to the next level.

One of the things that I like to try and do with new clients from the first initial call, is to look at their old photography tried to determine perhaps what's been done right, or most likely what hasn't been done right, to see how we can improve on that and bring the visual assets in line with their brand’s structure. That can be done through lighting, different choices of composition, making decisions on props and styling. This will help create an overall and appropriate style for the images that are going to represent the brand accurately and speak to their demographic.


In this case with Model Meals, we wanted to create the look of very natural sunlight because the product eventually was going to end up in somebody's house or apartment or perhaps a business and we wanted to create a really nice approachable feel that's not to commercial. Approachable.

So to give the images a real nice natural organic field sunlight coming through a windows. So as if you were to order the meal, bring it home and put in your kitchen on a nice plate. Then you have this nice beautiful sunlight illuminating your dish, as opposed to a more commercial type of photo that would look beautiful and perfect but give more of a sterile feeling. Having looked like it was shot in in the studio or something.


So in this case, we set out and build some lighting that would mimic that. Previous photography had a very different look because they had actually utilized and shot with natural light that actually hurt the the images in a lot of ways because you had a lot of inconsistency in light direction, power, color temperature and shadows. This created some problems trying to take the images and put them in a very similar environment online and the ordering page, where continuity is very important. For a food app platform, you want to be able to quickly scan over the different dishes until something kind of pops out. You don't want to be distracted by why one photo is dark and other photos are too light. One photo is warm in one is cool and so on and so forth.

So we basically we set with that plan and shot about 15 items - two different angles for the app. One angle was at proximity 45 degrees which is very standard shot. And then we also did the overhead shot which allows the client to have two different shots to choose from. And because these are very high resolution photos, there is an opportunity to crop them tight for social media application. The client was happy and got all the shots they needed in the eight hours we were on location. 34 shots in total.


Orange County food photographer
Alan De Herrera

714 335-3252


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