viernes, 24 de diciembre de 2010

Como fotografiar la mesa en las fiestas, según el New York Times

Excelente artículo que sirve incluso, para otras celebraciones xD

Andrew Scrivani for The New York Times

Andrew Scrivani (@Andrew Scrivani) is a freelance photographer who contributes to The New York Times. He writes the blog Making Sunday Sauce.

The holidays are upon us and I know that you will be thinking about bringing your camera to your holiday gatherings. I encourage you to do that but not without a few guidelines to follow for making your environmental table shots special.

First off, people make funny faces when they eat. Mouths agape, eyes squinting or bugging out, tongues wagging, it’s not a pretty sight. If you want your relatives to ever speak to you again, you need to have the ability to capture those table moments just prior to food being consumed.

Your first goal should be to time your shots. Food can be on the table, even gently disturbed or beginning to be served, but you want to avoid the shot that looks like the scene in “A Christmas Story” when the dogs tore through the kitchen and ate the Christmas turkey.

Andrew Scrivani for The New York Times

Secondly, when shooting people it’s best to capture the moments where
they are interacting with food and the people they are dining with — but not actually eating. Gesturing with a fork, serving a loved one, laughing and smiling at the table always make charming images. People chowing down are hard shots to perfect and most of the really good eating shots you see on television or in print ads are staged, scripted and directed very carefully. You want to capture those real, candid moments that still have charm and class.

If you must have an eating shot, I suggest shooting the children. Children eating can be genuinely cute and funny. They are messy and awkward and it retains its appropriateness. Adults eating in freeze frame can just be plain disturbing at times. Years of shooting editorially, in restaurants, made me realize just how hard it can be to find a suitable picture for publication that would not embarrass your subjects.

As always I recommend avoiding flash photography, using high ISO ratings and open apertures to get as much shutter speed as you can and trying to get your subjects to ignore you and your camera. Ultimately beyond the technical, it all comes down to timing.

Andrew Scrivani for The New York Times

I would like to talk about another staple of holiday shooting, the table itself. This time of year it is dressed to the nines in the finest linens, the best china, flatware, candlesticks and dusted-off gravy boats, perfect for its close-up in your family album or even your portfolio.

First I try to get a full table shot in the available light of the room. Often the room is darker in low or even candle light, which means it’s an ideal time to break out the tripod and practice timed exposures.

Timed exposures give you the opportunity to maintain focus and detail. The tripod is an essential tool in the equation. You’ll also need to use a light meter; based on your ISO rating and your desired aperture, your light meter will let you know how long each exposure will need to be in the light that is available. I recommend a bit more depth of field for a long table shot in order to get more of your subject in focus. Experiment with an aperture of 5.6 for starters and work up from there depending upon just how much depth you need.

Apart from the long full table shot (with and without food) you may want to highlight some of the details, when food has been set on the table but not massacred by your guests. By focusing on small sections of the table, certain dishes and elements will help capture the mood. Certain shapes and colors may present themselves as more interesting than others and become the signature shot for that setting.

Andrew Scrivani for The New York Times

The more formal the table, the more variety of color, shape and height with which to play. Take photos with your camera held at table height, both closeup and pulled back, to capture the perspective of the table top rather than as a seated participant. This is an interesting way to show the table in a way most of us don’t see when we are eating the meal.

Finally, take the opportunity to take abstract shots. Not all of your shots need to be straight forward. The decorative nature can make for some interesting and artistic variations in your shots. Be playful and creative in your approach and I think you will enjoy the results.

Have a wonderful and safe holiday season.

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