Monday, March 11, 2013

Four Hours with Noah Fecks

Wow! I just spent four hours with the incredible Noah Fecks- photographer extraordinaire! I was part of a group of foodies anxious to learn more about food photography. The event was organized by Melinda Strauss ( Founder of Kosher Food Bloggers Conference, Kitchen Tested Blog, Director of Special Events for Joy of Kosher…)Not only was there inspiration for the mind but individual pastries were  generously provided by Sapienza Bake Shop: But now back to photography-
Noah opened his tutorial with unpacking his equipment. He not only explained each piece but also told us how much we should spend on it-constantly counseling us that we can be sure that we will break or lose some piece of equipment at some time; so we should be able to realistically replace it. Here is a list of the more important items a photographer should have: Small and medium clamps, light stand, extra small umbrella (Noah prefers them to have shiny silver lining), speed ring and soft box, Elenchrom D-Lite 4 with modeling light, monoblock with 7 inch reflector with grid, bounce cards in black and white (double sided matte board that is cut so that it is bendable), nifty 50 lens and 100 lens, arctic butterfly for cleaning lens, Gorilla Pod, and last but not least- blotting papers for wiping grease off people’s faces.
Advice: No wind or heat on the equipment
    No zoom ever!
The bigger the light source, the closer the image will appear. The smaller the light source, the farther away the image will appear.
Shoot brighter than you think you need. You can adjust it later.
Did you know that pillow cases are the right size for placing under many food items.  Noah said napkins were usually too small-and that if those wrinkles bother you, iron the pillow case before taking the pictures!  Make sure you have flatware, plastic squares/frogs to lift or tilt your plate- basically any assortment of props you think you’ll need. Advance prep cuts down your work in the end. A man after my own heart!
Most shocking statement of the morning: Don’t use natural light. It doesn’t last long and you can’t depend on it. Set up your lighting yourself and backlight.
Noah keeps THREE copies of all his work in fire proof boxes!!!
Can I promise you better pix on my part? Noah told me to switch from my iPhone to my Canon point and shoot; and I promised I would try. At least I don’t have to adjust all the shutter speeds etc. that many of the other participants were doing with much better and more complicated cameras. I will go out and buy the bounce cards so I can have better control of shadows- and maybe even the clamps and gorilla pod! I understand a lot more than I did before. If my pix don’t improve, it is not the fault of the teacher. Noah is the consummate professional. He is charming, not intimidating, and has a great sense of humor.  Noah clearly loves what he does and is eager to inspire others. His students at Parsons are lucky indeed.

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