One of the biggest challenges, even for the most experienced food photographer, is to photograph pizza. I recently put myself to the test, when I was hired to photograph the new Da Mario Italian restaurant and pizza shop, in Sydney. The restaurant fitting is a nice mix of rustic and modern, the wooden fired pizza oven ( weighing 3 tons ) came all the way from Napoli, in Italy, and the pizza is….. well, Pizza with the capital P.
I wanted to avoid the obvious bird’s eye view approach, in the first place, so i set myself up, at a relatively low angle, in front of the pizza oven, which made for an interesting background and helped telling the story of the place. And i included some ingredients as props for my shots to highlight the freshness of the produce, which is the real key to Da Mario’s success.
Do you know how long a pizza takes to cook? About a minute ! And it should be enjoyed straight after, while it’s hot.
Pizza is simple food and it was my intention to kinda make it a statement with my images. No food styling here, and not much photo retouching either. Of course I would have adopted a completely different strategy if the client had been Domino’s Pizza or Pizza Hut…. but that’s a different story.
In this case I preferred to capture some ” action ” shots, rather than trying to make the pizza look perfect; it is what it is, and it’s good the way it is.
From a photography point of view, all these images are artificially lit with flash, but it is done so it looks like they are taken with natural light; the spot where the oven is located just wouldn’t give me much choice….
On the other hand, I was able to photograph some of the other dishes on the menu, by a window situated in the seating area; I tried to match these images to the light and mood I had set for the pizza shots – you be the judge in saying if i did a good job.
Dario Milano is a professional food photographer and food stylist, based in Sydney and servicing predominantly advertising and commercial clients, restaurants and the food packaging industry.
He also teaches regular food photography and food styling workshop in Sydney, as well as in Melbourne and Brisbane.
To get in contact, email firstname.lastname@example.org