French fries are an infrequent visitor to my table. I just cannot justify the calories added to my diet, and while I love the warm goodness that is inherent in properly done frites, I have to swear them off. Still, this morning demanded the exact opposite: a potato slicer needs fries like a car needs gas. The plan was to set the slicer up, perfect the lighting and then begin a fry-up in a Paderno stainless steel pot with about a pound of fresh lard. Three potatoes and an hour later, we had a solid shot that shows exactly what the product can do. Sadly, I had to taste about one pound of frites with garlic aioli to ensure the product props were perfect. Riiiggghhht.
Perhaps that is the whole point to food photography for products: the food has to be real, brilliant and cookable by the average person. French fries are one of those easy foods to prep at least as good as any restaurant. With a little focus you can easily chop up a potato, heat your oil in a deep pot, and then fry. Once the potato is at your desired brownness the secret is to remove the frites with a slotted steel spoon, and toss the hot frites with sea salt, a few fresh herbs like thyme and parsley. The experience is highly rewarding – just do not eat more than a potato yourself – you want to leave your body wanting more.
The day’s work ended with a citrus juicer that used lemons as the background prop against a granite board and Egyptian lined background in slate grey. My Profoto lights and 3×4 Softbox were definitely a wise purchase three years ago. For these types of shoots I tend to simply use the modelling lights versus flash so that I can lean my apertures on the Hasselblad lenses wide open. Too much focus removes the romantic feel the lenses give to the shot; and the hero shot is all about the romance – the white backgrounds receive a digital, full flash approach that is tack sharp.
Tomorrow should have me working with wine and cakes…