I had someone ask about the lighting setup in my recent Barbeque Restaurant stock photo shoot.  So I thought today would be a good day for a few behind the scenes images which can better illustrate, than me talking about it.

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I shot this series specifically to go into my portfolio on the new stock photo site, Stocksy .  There has been a directed aesthetic that we should try to lean more towards natural environmental lighting, even if this means bumping up the ISO on the camera.

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Now, for my past stock shoots, I always try to light the subjects so I can keep my ISO under 200, so as to minimize noise in the digital image.  This has been an essential part of “microstock” images/workflow, sometimes to the point of hindering the creative juices.  Stocksy presents a new directive – worry about the fun, emotional and creative aspects of the content creation, even if the result includes some noise or motion blur or other technical “flaw” that might get a great image rejected on your typical microstock agency.  So, for this session, I pushed the ISO up to 500, so as to take advantage of the great back and side lighting coming in from the huge windows.

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This did provide a pretty blown out window as a backdrop, but there wasn’t much out there to see anyways, aside from another brick wall and a street sign.  As well, the window wasn’t in every image, just a few, because of my shooting angles and composition.

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boy eating bbq ribs

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You can only see one strobe in that first image above.  I actually used three.  The one seen above was, essentially, to make another “window” on that side.  The other two, seen below, were just to provide some fill light, to keep shadows from getting too dark.  The overhead lighting wasn’t providing enough fill here.

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Speaking of composition, I’ve always kept the eye level of the camera in mind.  Low angles (first image), regular eye level, and even over head, all serve to provide different and interesting views of the same subject.  In this next image, you can see my 2nd camera with a wide angle lens, that I have mounted on the center pole of my tripod.  This way, I can hold it up over the table, and have it remotely triggered by my assistant.  The only problem is it’s kind of hard to aim.  Eventually I just got the best shots by standing tall on my stepladder and doing the same thing.  Below, I’m checking the lcd to see how I did.

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serving appetizers to customers

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On a side note, I had some images where the models were doing some food photography, a popular theme these days.  People are always whipping out a cell phone to shoot their meal.  Well, I actually ended up with quite a few food shots on my phone….

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woman shooting food on cell phone

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Lastly, yes, I did have an assistant at this shoot who was in charge of the model releases, shooting the behind the scenes images and remotely triggering my second camera when I was up on the ladder.  Here’s a picture of her at work 🙂 .

Thanks for stopping by today, and check out the rest of my work over at Stocksy !

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3 Responses to BBQ Shoot: Behind the Scenes

  1. Klsbear says:

    I always enjoy your “behind the scenes” posts. Your assistant looks like she’s very focused on the job at hand. I bet she’s the most costly part of your shooting budget!

  2. John Neff says:

    Thanks for sharing Sean and love the images!

  3. Kevin Pierce says:

    Thanks, LOVE these behind the scenes blogs ! I’m re-reading Light: Science & Magic now and understanding a little more this time. Call me crazy but stock is gonna be my new full time job as soon as i can sell off enough stuff of what i own to be able to do it, hopefully by next year or two … anybody wanna buy a turbocharged Porsche ???? 🙂

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