Juanita's Kitchen, Food and Product Photography

ISO 1000, f5, 1/75sec.

Imagery is a necessary and important component of building brand resonance and brand equity. We want our imagery to tell a story, to express brand meaning and engage with our consumers to solidify brand relationships. Photos are a huge part of brand imagery so it's integral that they suit the brand. 

Juanita's Kitchen's brand imagery feels homestyle and rustic, so I needed to take photos and process them to fit that aesthetic. I'm going to go through a few of my Lightroom settings to show how I processed the photos to get the look and feel I was after. 

Gear used for the shoot: X-Pro2 + XF35mm f1.4 (50mm FF equiv.), Lightroom CC 6, VSCO Film Pack 1. 

I used the VSCO film preset Kodak Portra 800++ (sometimes 800 HC) as a starting point and made tweaks after applying the preset. However, the stock preset settings look like this:

 
 
 
 

This preset works well for a number of reasons: 

  • The slight decrease in highlights prevent the light from being too white on the food and blowing out the detail 
  • The increase in shadows brings out detail on textures from tortillas 
  • The slight bump in saturation pulls out a little more green from parsley or lime

Also, looking at the tone curve, we are lifting the blacks to give it that tiny bit of film-like haze. In other words, the blacks aren't totally black, more like a very dark brown. 

One of my favourite things about the Kodak Portra presets is the grain. As most of the photos were taken between 1-4PM on a cloudy Melbourne day using only natural light, I was already on ISO 800-1000. X-Trans sensors are very clean high ISO performers, so I wasn't going to get that nice Fujifilm grain. Without the grain, I felt the photos looked a little too clean. The addition of the grain from the presets looked great and really added a lot of texture to the polished stone table, food, and glossy jars. I found that adding grain to glossy textures really helps to move away from a clean and polished look. Juanita's Kitchen is homestyle cooking, I didn't want the photos to feel like they were trying to be fine dining. 

ISO 1000, f5, 1/60sec.

ISO 1000, f5, 1/110sec.

The leaf imprints in the stone table really made the product shots more interesting. ISO 1000, f3.2, 1/80sec.

ISO 1000, f5.6, 1/20sec (not hand held).

I also had a few photos that I wanted to put on Instagram right as they were leaving the kitchen during service. Not having enough time to process in Lightroom, I Instead transferred the photos from the X-Pro2 to my phone, and using the VSCO cam app I picked a filter, made some cropping tweaks, a few colour adjustments and they were ready for social media in a couple of seconds.

ISO 2000, f4, 1/70sec. C2 filter on the VSCO cam app. 

ISO 2000, f1.4, 1/680sec. C2 filter on the VSCO cam app. Was in a rush to get the photo so settings were far from optimal, could've been much sharper. Definitely didn't need to shoot this at f1.4 or 1/680sec, but it still looks great on Instagram! 

The shoot was a great learning experience as I have never really shot products before. Getting photos in the kitchen during a service was also a very interesting experience. Next time I would really like to experiment with some studio lighting just for more control. 

ISO 800, f3.6, 1/70sec.

ISO 800, f4, 1/70sec. 

ISO 800, f4, 1/70sec.