Monday, December 6, 2010

What is that, exactly?

Some people really can't take a hint. That "gourmet" restaurant's Facebook page really is a great learning experience for photos and plating, since it really shows what to avoid. The top photo looked so bad that people made comments like "not for me!" and "Me, neither!". The restaurant got all defensive and told them they couldn't have any since it was all gone - they could have said something nice, but I guess posting, "it's not as disgusting as it appears in the photo!" would have admitted their incompetence. Presumably the dish looked better in real life, although the plating in the photo seemed like three mollusks attacking a giant piece of slime mold.

The top sketch was their photo. Underexposed, with a big stain of a dark colored sauce that looked like someone microwaved a slug and strained the results. The sauce had no sheen, no glimmer, no highlight. It didn't even look especially wet. The other morsels were unidentifiable. Overall, the plating reminded me of something from microbiology: "This is a cell undergoing bacterial attack. Note the three vacuoles surrounding an extended endoplasmic reticulum..." No wonder people commented on the edibility of the plate!

The lower sketch is my plating/shooting diagram. Two diffused light sources illuminate the plate from above and to the side, and exposes correctly to compensate for a white plate. The sauce is drizzled over the plate before the food is put down, and accented with something fresh and green, like chives or strips of blanched green onions. The whole image gets more color by placing it on a place mat or even a nice piece of Canson paper.

Sorry to say, this sketch looks a lot better than their photo. If you ever run across their Facebook photos, you'll see why. A white plate is not an 18% gray plate!

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