Tough photo shoot today

Had to shoot in a movie theater today where they serve gourmet food during the film showing. First shoot was in the concession area where the lighting was a mix of incandescent, florescent and LEDs. Light bouncing all over the place and made hotter by the glass candy display cases. Had to put a 750watt strobe on full power and dial up the white balance to Kelvin 5200 just to get it all to balance.

The image of two chefs — the gourmet guy, John Ingalls, from the attached Palmer’s restaurant, and the popcorn guy, Harold Blank — comparing their respective menu items (pork slices with side dish versus five bags of popcorn — came out fine after a long sweat. Then it was into the screening room to shoot four models at a table with the movie-theater gourmet fare — mostly sliders and shrimp cocktails with wine glasses on the table.

Nate, the movie manager, helped by heading for the projection room and running the film trailer, then stopping it as a still frame so that I could use a slower shutter speed. I first tried the strobes but they washed out the screen and turned it white. So I had to resort to a time exposure coupled with a modeling light turned up to full power for the food and people. Ended up using five- and six-second exposures that put the food in the foreground in focus, made the people somewhat softer, and the movie on the screen still recognizable. One of the hardest things with a time exposure that involves people is explaining they must remain absolutely still in order for me to capture the scene. Seems five seconds is a very long time for some folks to stop moving and talking. But they did it.

Also shot Ingalls in the kitchen of Palmer’s, cooking with plenty of flame in the pan on the stove. Had to boost the ISO to 800 to get that without a flash. Kitchen was small and super busy, so bringing in a tripod with strobe wasn’t feasible. Lots of drama in the flame shot, which also shows the liquid hitting the pan.