Globetrotting lifestyle journalist, photographer and beer expert Dennis Malcolm Byron aka Ale Sharpton provides an as-told on shooting cuisine.
I have been blessed with the opportunity to document some of the most wondrous things God has provided worldwide via writing, video, and one of my favorite hobbies, photography. I mostly shoot interiors of buildings, people, beer, cars, landscapes…you name it. However, perhaps my favorite subject is food. Coming from a lineage of chefs in my family, being a proud Cornell University Hotelier, and having an overall appreciation for fare, I passionately capture the colors, textures, and various compositions a dish can exhibit. My goal is to make the viewer want to bite the screen it’s displayed on, and to do that, I follow a few guidelines.
First, the plating has to be artistic in form or positioned in a way where it looks appetizing; like holding up a burger or ice cream cone.
Second, I do not use artificial lighting 95 percent of the time. That’s just my thing. I try to have the food look as genuine as possible; the way I see it when it’s first presented. If the lighting is not great, I am never shy to take it somewhere in the venue where there is substantial illumination.
Third, I get right up on the subject and shoot it. I want my audience to almost be able to smell what I capture. Yes, that close.
And last, try not to take too long. The food might look good, but it won’t taste it’s best getting cold or hot, so selfishly keep that in mind if you are eating it. If it’s just for show, it can look dull after a while and dry out. As a trick if you are shooting commercially, or for maybe Instagram, a brush of vegetable oil enhances the food’s luster. Speaking of the latter, check out #gangstereats; about 90 percent of the shots on there are mine.
Follow me on Instagram, my blog at AleSharpton.com, on numerous websites, and various publications with my government name or of course, Ale Sharpton.
Here are some photos from the now nationally acclaimed brewpub Hopstix in the burgeoning neighborhood of Chamblee. Besides the array of phenomenal beer that Owner and Brewmaster Andy Tan crafts, they serve up simply awesome Asian-inspired fare—especially rooted from his homeland of Indonesia. As a plus, Hopstix also takes pride in presentation. Be ready to drool!