Behind-the-scenes of the Kazam shoot: Why I went with flashes despite the nice and bright natural light

Behind the scenes with my lone umbrella
Behind the scenes with my lone umbrella

So I had a shoot for Kazam Kebab House, one of the kebab and shawarma places near the house, yesterday afternoon. We had the shoot scheduled for the whole afternoon from 1:00-5:00 to shoot images for their menu. One of the first things that I noticed with the place when I first visited was that one whole side of the shop just opens up to the street which meant there was no real shortage of natural light. On the day of the shoot though, I decided to still shoot with my flashes due mainly to one key thing: the weather.

Before going further into why I shot this way, let me touch on my set up for the shoot. I shot tethered to my laptop shooting straight into Lightroom. One light in an umbrella and one styrofoam board for fill wherever I needed it. So on to the main part of this entry!

Opposite that nice, white wall was a bright orange one that could potentially prove troublesome in post
Opposite that nice, white wall was a bright orange one that could potentially prove troublesome in post

I noticed that the sky was pretty overcast when I arrived at the shop. This meant that with all that cloud cover moving in and out of the area, it was going to lead to inconsistencies for my exposure. The amount of sunlight I would get throughout the afternoon would vary greatly depending on how clear the sky is at certain parts of the day. This, however, would not be the only cause for concern for the images. Varying cloud cover would also mean that my white balance could fluctuate from sunlight to slightly cool shade. Add to that the fact that one of the walls in the shop was painted bright orange, colour control was really key.

Kazam's Chicken Kebab
Kazam’s Chicken Kebab

So the choice was pretty straightforward for me, my flashes would be brought out. What I didn’t want to lose though was the natural look of the images if I had decided to make use of the abundant natural light. How I decided to approach this was by bringing the umbrella in really close, the spokes of which would already be kissing the edge of the table. This effectively made my single, technically small light source look relatively bigger versus what we were trying to light. It also helped that the client really wanted close up shots of their food which meant that the only space I had to really be mindful of would be the size of a plate.

Kazam's Felafel Plate
Kazam’s Felafel Plate

The only thing I had to do with this set up is to now bring in some fill care of my white illustration board. I also have some shots without the fill and these provided pretty nice directional light. As to what set up you should use for your own shots, that would depend on the type of feel that you want to give. I’ve found that the shots with less fill tend to feel more moody that those with the heavier fill.

Kazam's Special Chelo Ghafghazi: Chicken and tenderloin kebab served with buttered rice and grilled tomatoes and onions.
Kazam’s Special Chelo Ghafghazi: Chicken and tenderloin kebab served with buttered rice and grilled tomatoes and onions.

If you are in the Maginhawa area in Quezon City, do check them out at 162 Maginhawa Street, Sikatuna Village. They’re also on Facebook as Kazam Kebab House – Maginhawa. Cheers!

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2 thoughts on “Behind-the-scenes of the Kazam shoot: Why I went with flashes despite the nice and bright natural light

    1. Glad you appreciated this, Jonno! I’ve been trying to write more about what I shoot and what I cook. Figured I might as well help other people learn AND get some feedback on how to improve as well. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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