28th of January saw the start of the Chinese New Year. This year is the year of the rooster.
In China, the celebrations also known as the Spring Festival last about 23 days. You may see some homes decorated with red posters, Chinese lanterns and poetic verses on their doors. Many people will be setting off fireworks and firecrackers to scare off the bad luck and allow the good luck in.
We like to think we played our own small part by shooting a variety of images for Uncle Ben’s which formed a tool box of promotional material to be used nationally and internationally. Some of the images you can see below.
There are 12 different animals, one of which represents each year. You can find out which is yours on the chart below.
Rat: 2008, 1996, 1984, 1972, 1960
Ox: 2009, 1997, 1985, 1973, 1961
Tiger: 2010, 1998, 1986, 1974, 1962
Rabbit: 2011, 1999, 1987, 1975, 1963
Dragon: 2012, 2000, 1988, 1976, 1964
Snake: 2013, 2001, 1989, 1977, 1965
Horse: 2014, 2002, 1990, 1978, 1966
Sheep: 2015, 2003, 1991, 1979, 1967
Monkey: 2016, 2004, 1992, 1980, 1968
Rooster: 2017, 2005, 1993, 1981, 1969
Dog: 2018, 2006, 1994, 1982, 1970
Pig: 2019, 2007, 1995, 1983, 1971
People born in the Chinese year of the rooster are thought to be honest, intelligent, energetic and confident, yet despite this, your sign years are also believed to be the most unlucky years of your life.
Those who know me, know I'm a great advocate of vegan and vegetarian foods. despite being a meat eater I do feel we generally eat far too much as a nation and am happy to have meat only on rarer occasions and when it's particularly good.
Consequently, I'm particularly excited when I get the chance to work on a specific vegan or vegetarian ranges. If there's chocolate involved, then so much the better, as in this project for a new startup, Saintly Foods, that I'm sure will prove to be highly successful in the near future.
Saintly foods produce high-quality desserts which are not only delicious but also ethical. Talking to Vanessa, the company CEO and founder, she tells me that she wanted to produce foods that you could just buy without having to read all the small print, to make sure the company isn't using any dodgy ingredients or sourcing anything unethically. What you get is good honest and trustworthy food, that you're happy to eat. All very reassuring, in my book.
Here are some of the photos we took, for use in general marketing and then lower down the page, for the product packaging.
Highly indulgent chocolate tart..You wouldn't know it was vegan, as with any of these fab 5.
Raspberry tart with franzipan and coconut yoghurt
Delicious moist tarte au citron
Apple tartlet, with cinnamon
Lemon meringue made with aquafaba
As well as the lifestyle images above we also shot the food photography for the packaging.
Pack Shots, pre artwork
Final Packs, all ready for listing
If you need any further information or advice on your food photography, please feel free to get in touch, via my contact page
As a London based food photographer, Michael has been shooting food professionally now for over 30 years. His vast knowledge of food and photography will help you get the best for your food photography requirements.
When working with chefs instead of a food stylist, I sometimes get a little nervous. While chefs create some delicious food, they often don't quite get the level of detail needed with the food when it is being photographed. Having worked with these guys for several years now, they totally do get it. These guys being top London catering company, Jackson Gilmour, who produce some beautiful food, art on a plate in fact, and I love working with them.
Needless to say, lunch is always amazing!
We shot a series of images for website and general marketing use. Using beautiful props, and simple lighting, in fact, I was testing some new LED lights in this case, I wanted the food to be the centre of attention.
So here are a few of the images we shot for them
This fabulous dish features pistachio crusted roast lamb, apricot rosemary jus, romanesco and butternut squash purée, dauphinoise potatoes, courgette, carrot and asparagus.
On a side note, it tasted amazing, I should know, it was my lunch.
The best way, in my opinion, to eat tuna. Seared on the outside, and rare in the middle. That way, you get the best of both.
The vegetarians don't get left out, and with Jackson Gilmour, they definitely don't. That applies to vegans too, so watch this space.
This twist on Falafel Scotch egg was the first I've ever seen. A very clever change from the traditional meat scotch egg which in my humble opinion, tasted just as good.
This shot was used to promote the clients wedding range. Not often I use black perspex and this was something that was used many years ago.
What goes around, comes around. This could be the beginning of a new fad...and works particularly well with the reflections of the bright colourful food.
While still on our black perspex theme, we have some great reflections with these canapes. This was a bit of a balancing act for sure, with the canapes staying lined up and garnish leaves still looking perky, but we got there in the end.
Of course, we had to finish with a delicious dessert. this one's a peanut caramel shortcake with honeycomb ice cream and pear compote.
Can you guess how the chocolate was shaped that way. Please email me for the answer.
While most of my work is for design and advertising agencies, I do occasionally get the opportunity to work for the odd restaurant, cafe or food startup, which I absolutely love.
Unlike working to a tight brief from an agency, the smaller businesses are often far more flexible on their requirement which gives us a greater opportunity for freedom in how we shoot the food.
Don't get me wrong, working to a tight brief with a full-on creative team is fabulous too and I also love the technical nitty-gritty of getting every little detail spot on.
Here's a case in point. I was recommended to shoot for a new Cafe in Baker Street, central London, called "Sweet Liberty" It's a fabulous location very close to the Sherlock Holmes museum and as it's on a corner plot, it has a lovely light feel to it.
Being new, and with plenty of wall space, the owner was keen to get some framed images of their beautiful food up on the wall and to use for their own marketing purposes. There's a little history to the owner of his place too, it's owned by the brother of none other, than the legendary boxer, John Conteh. Someone I clearly remember from my childhood and who was recently knighted.
If you need a reminder of what he looks like, here he is, sporting a fabulous tan, receiving his MBE.
So here's a selection of some of the shots we took.
This beautiful Sundae was extremely tricky to shoot. There wasn't quite enough product supplied but thanks to the skills of my food stylist, Trish Hurel, we got there in the end with this super colourful shot. Normally we would have dry ice for a shot like this but unfortunately, the delivery was delayed and we had to manage without. Just to be clear, no mashed potato was used in the making of this dish. It's all real.
While still in the cold, we thought we would push our luck and go for this raspberry sorbet too. again, very little product was supplied and this was our last attempt to get this to work before we run out. I particularly like the minimal number of colours in the shot, just 3 really, and that's if you include the grey.
One of the tastiest I have tried. If you get a chance, pop in and try one for yourself.
Another tasty treat, tart and sweet at the same time. Delicious!
We finish off with a savoury, a delicious grilled sandwich, all vege too.
If you are in the process of needing some food photography, please drop me a line or give me a call.
My studio is in Central London, very easy to get to by both public transport or car so easy access to all clients. Plus you have a vast choice of props and backgrounds to make your life easier, and not to mention, over 30 years of experience, specialising in making your food look delicious.
It's always great to be working with start ups. They are often quite innovative with their foods and full of enthusiasm, which I love.
Also, they are generally more open to suggestions and more open minded about their photography. What is there not to like about that.
So shooting some food photography recently at my studio in London for Raphia foods was a lot of fun and also enlightened me to some delicious Moroccan/French foods Which I hadn't come across before, like these rose flavoured chocolate delights filled with rose fondant and coated in a crispy aromatic dry rose petal outer. They tasted like no other chocolate I've ever tasted before. Superb!
Of course, we couldn't just have one sole lonely chocolate all by itself, so here's the beautiful box it came from with other beauties to keep it company.
For the dark chocolate lovers out there, was this stunning selection.
Last but not least, was this gorgeous slab, coated in nuts and candied cherries.
Calissous are another new addition to my repertoire. These petal shaped sweets are made of a fine mix of almond and candied fruit with a fruity royal icing top.
Fortunately, this cinnamon honey was one of the lovely treats left at my studio and works wonders with my porridge in the mornings.
Sliced seeded oranges are layered in a jar with the best honey and then left to soften, almost like a marmalade and has a similar bitter sweet flavour.
Another favorite when chopped on my morning porridge or yoghurt.
Last but not least, these fabulous almonds have a sweet crust which is then tossed in various seeds.
Not easy to just eat the one.
Until next time..Happy feasting
Don't forget, if you're in the process of looking for a food photographer to add value to your food products, please give me a call or get in touch via my contact page here.
Michael Michaels is a specialist food photographer in London.
For food photography in London and the surrounding areas please contact Michael using the details above.
We shoot food photography for advertising, packaging and marketing purposes and are conveniently located in West Central London.
Shooting some more editorial style food photography at my London studio recently made for a great photo session and working with an upmarket Indian restaurant was a great joy. With some delicious food photography to be had, I couldn't wait for the Team from Viceroy Indian restaurant to arrive with their talented chef, all the way from Staffordshire.
One of the best things about working on modern food is that there is so much competition, with many chefs trying to get their food to stand out form the crowd. This is particularly evident with new restaurants and event caterers where the end customer is always looking to be wowed. Hence the chefs going the extra mile in the preparation and final appearance of the food. For a food photographer, that is music to our ears.
While shooting some desserts in the studio recently, these gorgeous plums were pulled out the oven and looked too good to ignore. This often happens when there is an opportunity of shooting a lovely shot but it was never planned. It could just be when the food stylist is unpacking her food props for the food photography session and there are some beautiful beetroots or radishes, fresh from the market, lovingly tied with a little string and the opportuinity to photograph them is just too good to ignore.
So as the plum season has just started, these roasted plums were being part baked for a crumble, see below.
If you're a plum fan, get out there and enjoy. Simply cut the plums in half and roast in a medium hot oven for about 20 minutes, with a light sprinkling of muscovado or demerara sugar. They are then ready for dropping into something else, in this case, a delicious crumble, or cook for a little longer and enjoy with a spoon of cream, creme fraiche or in our case, good old fashioned custard, a good quality home made one of course.
If you're looking to make your crumble a little more interesting, try mixing a nut muesli into the mix, for extra crunch and nutty flavour.
The best desserts are always the comfort, and in my case, take me back to the days of proper school dinners, when schools had dinner ladies trained to cook and make real food.