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Barbecue Picanha by Charlotte Tolhurst

1 April 2023

I was commissioned by Olive magazine for a day’s shoot in which I photographed nine recipe images. On a day such as this it was important to pace the day so that we didn’t go over the studio hire hours, whilst not rushing the shoot and making sure each image was worthy of publication in a national magazine. For this particular set of images (there were three in this set) the art director asked for a sunny day and dappled light effect.

Each image required firstly that the props were in the right place to allow for copy over the image. I emailed a low res to the art director so she could load it straight into her page layout and check it was all working nicely. Next I added the lighting and made sure we were all happy with the shadows and highlight areas. We then signalled to the food stylist we were ready for the food.

We added the sauce to the bowl in the image, then placed the hero, the meat, in shot. It was then a matter of shooting quickly before the food lost its gloss and freshness and the meat started to ooze blood. Once the meat was in the right place we added the sauce over the meat and I took several frames varying the dappled light so we could choose where it hit the food in the most flattering or eye catching way. Once we were happy the food was covered, we filled up the glasses with beer and again snapped several frames to get the right froth and bubbles. The beer frames are then comped into the best food image in post production.

Food photography is a process of building up an image so that things can always be added or taken away if they don’t work or spoil. I hugely enjoy working with a team such as this - food stylist, prop stylist and art director. Images created through collaboration are often stronger than working on one's own.

To see the image in the final article (and get the recipe!) - see Olive Magazine- BBQ Picanha

Charlotte Tolhurst is a freelance photographer based in Bristol. As well as food she specializes in portrait and lifestyle photography, often shooting food and people together. Her commissions are from magazines, PR, design and advertising agencies and directly from clients. This work ranges from creative images of prepared recipes to more technical imagery of packaging and products.

See more work by Charlotte Tolhurst

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