Creating the Photograph: Bill Wisser’s “Cheese Course Breakfast”


Creating the Photograph is an original series where we interview photographers about a photo that they shot and how it was achieved. The results are some knowledge passed on to you. Want to be featured? Email chrisgampat[at]thephoblographer[dot]com.

When photographer Bill Wisser creates food photography that will not only make you hungry, but also make your jaw drop. What many don’t realize is that even though food photography is everywhere, very good food photography is a heck of a lot of work.

Bill Wisser is an advertising and editorial photographer based in Miami Beach, who in recent years has specialized in photographing food, chefs, restaurants and resorts. His work has gained him the recognition of Daniel Boulud’s db Bistro Moderne, General Foods, Bon Appetit, Miami New Times, the Fisher Island resort and the Greater Miami Convention and Visitors Bureau. In the last five years, he’s photographed more than 270 restaurants.

But his award-winning days started many years ago as a photojournalist up here in New York. He did investigative reporting and freelance photographing in Pakistan and India. Bill has kept up with the times and showcases lots of his work on Instagram and Twitter.

As we looked through his portfolio, he told us about the image called Cheese Course Breakfast and just how complicated the lighting was behind the photo.

Here’s Bill’s story.

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Review: Zeiss 25mm f2 Batis (Sony FE)

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Zeiss 25mm f2 Batis lens product image (1 of 1)ISO 4001-40 sec at f - 3.5

The Zeiss 25mm f2 Batis is one of the company’s lenses designed for the full frame Sony E-mount (FE), but unlike the Loxia lenses, the Batis line has autofocus. Beyond this, they have a new and very unconventional feature: a HUD on top of the lens that displays information in the right situations.

With 10 elements in 8 groups and a minimum focusing distance of just under eight inches, the lens is one that many photographers can keep in their kit for a variety of reasons. Food? Cool, use it! Architecture? Sure! Adventure! You got it! And what makes this all possible is Zeiss’s stamp of approval when it comes to being more resistant to abuse and the elements.

And if you’re a Sony user, you’re bound to become smitten with the colors.

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Creating the Photograph: Edward Boe’s “Fig Trio”


Creating the Photograph is an original series where we interview photographers about a photo that they shot and how it was achieved. The results are some knowledge passed on to you. Want to be featured? Email chrisgampat[at]thephoblographer[dot]com.

Photographer Edward Boe is a photographer and cinematographer based in Chicago, IL. When we recently put out a call to our readers about food photography, he answered us with some excellent images  that have really intriguing lighting. Ed specializes in macro and food photography and tries to present his clients with a new vision that is unique every time he works. He attributes this to his dual interesting in food and nature in that each allows him to cast light on something that is easily overlooked.

So when he pitched his idea of figs lit in a new and interesting way–we were quite interested to see how he gave them a bit of spotlight.

Here’s his story, but also be sure to check him out on Instagram and Flickr.

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The Basics of Bouncing a Flash’s Light Output

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Sigma 24-35mm f2 food photos (1 of 2)ISO 2001-60 sec at f - 2.8

When photographers first start working with flashes, they initially learn to create light by bouncing the flash head’s output off of surfaces. The more experienced shooters will tell you to simply just bounce it but they never explain the concept and reasoning as to why one would do this. Flashes also have different settings that help you get different results and that can work with your camera settings to render a whole load of different looks.

Here’s how to understand the basics of bouncing a flash’s light output.

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How Photo Hobbyists Can Improve Their Website

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Fujifilm Xt10 review photos (20 of 27)ISO 8001-80 sec at f - 2.5

Fairly often, we have calls to our audience to show us your websites and present your best photos to us. What most people don’t know though is just how tough it can really be to navigate and find something on a site–and this comes with organization and design knowledge. One of the best ways to make it simpler for someone to navigate a website is to think of it like music. Your iTunes or Spotify library has artists then splits those into albums. To go even deeper, you’ve got songs.

This is the basic understanding behind how a photo hobbyist can create and organize a better website.

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This is How You Make Chocolate Look Interesting

Screenshot taken from the video

Screenshot taken from the video

Profoto recently shared a video where they collaborated with photographer Finn Beales on one of his shoots. Finn was charged with the task of making chocolate look incredible. For those of us that are foodies with a sweet tooth we know that this isn’t tough to do at all. But what Finn did was stepped up his game and got very creative.

Finn took melted chocolate sauce and splashed in around onto fruit and other things. Then by using Profoto lights was able to stop the motion. The video shows him shooting lots of frames over and over again–which is a testament to quick recycle time of the lights. But another way that they could have done this is with a long shutter speed and nothing else but a flash with a super fast flash duration. Profoto lights are very capable of doing this.

The images are artistic and technical masterpieces and go to show what some extra creativity can do for you. The video is after the jump.

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The Photography Gene – Do You Have It?


I know the title may sound a little sensational, but I’d love to get to the bottom of this. Please consider this article more as a discussion and food for thought than a definite answer to the initial question.

While pursuing my Master’s degree in Psychology at University of Twente in the Netherlands, one of the most heated discussions was always regarding the nature versus nurture debate. In case you haven’t heard of it, it revolves around how much of your innate qualities are genetic and how much are based on your experiences. Are you smart because you have the genetic material to be smart or did you simply become smart by what you’ve done and how you were brought up? To this day there’s no definite answer to these questions and many researchers propose that the debate should be retired.

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The Business of Party and Event Photography


All images by Jay Electro Blum. Used with permission.

Photographer Jay Electro Blum lives the life that so many photographers want: he shoots parties, interacts with some of the coolest people, and gets to express his creativity by interacting with people and capturing moments as they happen. Jay was a graphic designer who wanted a big change in life, and so he started shooting parties. At first, the pay wasn’t so great but eventually it got better.

What Jay realized more than anything though is that party photography requires a photographer to have some of the best people skills out there. And those people skills translate well when it comes to getting new business.

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Combo Photos: Creatively Merging Two Things Into One

Processed with VSCOcam with a5 preset

Processed with VSCOcam with a5 preset

All images by Stephen McMennamy. Used with permission

“When this all began, there was no goal, i just need a creative outlet, but as things have taken off i’ve been thinking more about the possibility of a book.” says photographer Stephen McMennamy about his Combo Photos project. “There seems to be a lot of interest from friends on Instagram for something like that, but i’m not sure if the general public would be as interested. i’m just happy to have supportive people out there. It’s mainly therapeutic for me, so i’m just glad to have something to keep me entertained.”

Stephen is the genius behind the cool and creative project. Most of it involves food, and that’s partially where he draws inspiration from. Otherwise, Stephen tells us that he randomly looks around and combines things. His appreciation for photography started when he was young back in the 1970’s. Now he works in advertising, and works with loads of other photographers–so he is always surrounded by what he calls the limitless possibilities of photography.

“Initially my curiosity was piqued by photo apps that enable you to post multiple photos at once (specifically on Instagram).” says Stephen in an interview via email with us. “I’d seen a few people post photo collages with no seam (or removing the border) and I really appreciated the clean nature of that aesthetic. from there I started playing around with that same effect, but one time in particular I tried connecting images for a more fluid effect. Specifically combining my daughters head with a birthday balloon.” That’s how he started looking around for objects he could merge together. It started with the birthday balloon image and the Empire State Building/Banana images that you’ll see after the jump.

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Raymond Hau’s Captivating City and Landscapes

Couds Roll in

All images by Raymond Hau. Used with permission.

Raymond Hau is a Chartered Accountant from the United Kingdom now living in Hong Kong. He does not consider himself a photographer but enjoys taking photos–which he does incredibly well. His typical subjects are landscapes, cityscapes and building though he tends to add a mix of people, food, etc.

The photography bug bit him back in high school when he used to work in the darkroom after shooting with his Contax SLR and a 50mm lens. Like many artists, the photo enthusiast within him stayed dormant in college for other priorities to take over. When he got out, it reawakened within him.

So what makes Raymond so special? His incredible sense of symmetry, composition, and the scenes that he captures with a unique perspective.

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Karl Grenet: Documenting Sex Trafficking in Northern Thailand

Poverty is a major issue for the residents of Ban Mae Sam Laeb, as villagers are only able to conduct business within their own village and are not permitted to leave to seek greater opportunities in larger towns.  In most cases, a family's home is also their workplace - in this household, three generations of women make roof pieces from leaves for local houses.

Poverty is a major issue for the residents of Ban Mae Sam Laeb, as villagers are only able to conduct business within their own village and are not permitted to leave to seek greater opportunities in larger towns. In most cases, a family’s home is also their workplace – in this household, three generations of women make roof pieces from leaves for local houses.

All images by Karl Grenet. Used with permission.

Photographer Karl Grenet is an Australian documentary and street photographer with a deep love of traveling to remote areas, especially in Asia. He’s a late starter and picked up a camera at 27. Soon afterward, he realized that what he wanted to do was tell stories with his camera instead of trying to captivate a person with a landscape. This year, he was a Sony World Photography Awards winner. Part of this spurred him to travel to Thailand and do a project on sex workers. In Thailand, it’s common for a family to sell their children into the work because it can bring in income for the family.

“For the past year, I have been based in Chiang Mai, Northwestern Thailand, focusing my time on a range of projects throughout Southeast Asia and in India.” says Karl. We talked to him about getting access for a story like this and his intentions with the project.

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Why Should Someone Pay For Your Images?

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Canon PIXMA iP2850 printer review product photos (4 of 10)ISO 4001-50 sec at f - 3.2

Rights grabs, payments, and more have been the talk of the town for the past couple of days. But this all brings up an even bigger question that deserves a very big answer:

Why, in 2015, with the prevalence of so many images being taken each and every minute, should someone pay for your images?

Now, let’s put some specific emphasis on this sentence and get right to the meat of the problem:

Why should someone pay for your images?

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On the Intimidation Factor of Bigger Cameras

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Sony A37 review Mermaid Day Parade (9 of 17)ISO 100_PerfectlyClear_0001

“You’ve got a great camera and it takes awesome images.”

A person I met yesterday happened to say this to me; and I retorted with the fact that when you go to a restaurant you only get the quality of food that you eat because of the oven. In some cases that’s true such as with a clay oven or brick oven, but in other cases it’s purely non-sense.

At another point in the day (I was at the Mermaid Day Parade here in Brooklyn) another friend told me that the reason why people were so obliging to have their portrait taken was because of my camera. At the moment, I was using a Nikon D810; but I assured him that it’s absolute non-sense.

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On Companies Wanting to Use Your Images for Free

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Leica Q camera sample images (57 of 62)ISO 1001-10 sec at f - 1.7

Let’s be honest here: your images and the work that you do should be compensated for if they’re going to be used commercially. While that doesn’t necessarily mean monetary payment, there should be some sort of fair barter. But with that in mind, you should always remember that specific term: fair barter.

When a company asks to use your images for free, you should carefully consider exactly what they’re doing. If you’re going to be part of some big campaign that they’re announcing, then they’re probably trying to take you for a ride. But if it doesn’t sound like such a big project, then they probably don’t care a lot about it and I’d suggest that you carefully consider that because you may not want to be part of a project that they put very little effort into. When you show that off in your portfolio or tearsheets, then potential new clients may not care about it very much.

Think about it this way: if a restaurant wants you to do a photography gig (shooting their food) for free, then you should barter accordingly. This is most likely a lot of work for you, and you should get paid for it. Let’s say that your rate is $350 for the first two hours and $50/hr after that, and let’s the actual shoot is three hours. Then you need to weed through your images and do the necessary work in post, and the job may end up being 12 hours of work overall. First off, you should consider whether 12 hours of work is worth $400 for you, which comes out to around $33/hr. But then if they want you to shoot for free then they need to find a way to compensate you for $400 worth of work.

You could try to get a running agreement with them because the company may really just not have the budget, but then in that case you two should really be held closely to that agreement. So, they should compensate you with $400 worth of free meals. That will mean that you’ve got some running store credit with them.

It also depends on how high end the company is: a local newspaper may try to take you for granted while the NYTimes is more likely to pay a photographer because they understand that good work should be compensated. Further, if you don’t deliver then they can make you redo it.

Either way, remember the barter system and if it sounds like you’re being used, then have more self-respect.

50 Inspirational Quotes About Photography

day 40: decisions, decisions

The photographers behind some of the greatest images also had some wise words about the craft. We thought we’d put together 50 of our favorite quotes that move us, and in turn, we hope they move you. Reading what they have to say can prove particularly useful when you’re in a creative slump. Read on for some food for thought.

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Should You Barter a Trade for Your Photography Services?

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Phottix Indra500TTL Images portraits with Amanda (6 of 11)ISO 1001-4000 sec at f - 1.6


No–that’s the answer that every photographer will tell you as you read this and think about it. To be more precise, the photographers that do this for a living will tell you this. To be fair and respectfully so, the photographers that do this for a living are probably a lot better than many people are. However, lots of artists tend to barter with one another to do fair and equal trades. With that said, it’s about something like: “Hey, I’ll shoot for you and you can give me the equivalent amount of X to be fair.”

A big emphasis on fair trade here.

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Review: CineStill 800T film

Cinestill photo

If you had asked me years ago if I would be reviewing film in the year 2015, I probably would have laughed in your face. There is no way that a couple of years ago that any editor would have thought that a company would be making new film products. But indeed, there have been. CineStill, founded by the Brothers Wright photography team, have repacked Kodak cinema film by taking off a layer that makes it safe for typical C-41 processing. For CineStill 800T, the company gave us ISO 800 film that is Tungsten balanced–which means that it’s best used with a flash or daylight.

In my personal experience, ISO 800 film has been very grainy except when it’s Kodak Portra and pushed a stop. But in this case, CineStill has given us the finest grain 800 film I’ve ever seen.

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Making the Best of a 35mm Lens

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Zeiss 35mm f2 review product images (6 of 6)ISO 8001-50 sec at f - 3.9

The 35mm lens is one of the most classic and popular focal lengths that many photographers work with. We often see lots of posts on how to make the most of 50mm lenses, but there aren’t enough with 35mm lenses. The 35mm lens is arguably more akin to the human perspective since it focuses not only on what’s directly in front of you but also includes your peripheral vision. It’s too wide for portraits and we’d even argue that 50mm lenses are also too wide for portraits but they can work if you’re not shooting very close up and include a least half of the subject in the shot.

35mm lenses are also excellent for weddings, food, street photography and lots more. Here’s how to make the most of this iconic lens.

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Six Ways to Draw The Eye to a Specific Subject in a Photo


You know all about the rule of thirds already, and in general it works. Sometimes, however, rules are meant to be broken. The way to draw someone’s eyes into an image isn’t extremely tough, as it has to do with what people already do when they look at scenes–try to make sense of them. Because of this, there are so many different ways of making someone pay attention to a specific subject in your photos.

Here’s how to draw someone’s eyes onto your specific subject.

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