Frequently asked questions

Do you use additional equipment when shooting?


I don't travel light! For most shoots I have a fair amount of equipment. This includes several lenses, a couple of cameras, accessories, a tripod, reflectors, lighting (flash and/or LED) and props, if needed. For both interior and food/drink photography, I usually use extra lighting. This can range from a couple of LED lights to fill in some dark shadows/highlight details (usually needed for interior shots) to a full flash set-up (for food and drinks). If you think this might be a problem please speak to me before the shoot as I might not be the photographer for you. When shooting in an area open to public, I will always try to be as contained as I can to have as little impact on the day-to-day running of the venue as possible. Using an assistant is recommended when public are around partly for safety reasons but also to get as much shot as possible as moving and setting up equipment around the public can take up quite a bit of time. It usually takes longer to get each shot when venues are open as we have to wait for people to clear the frame etc.




How do you shoot interiors?


The way I work often changes for each venue as each will have it's own challenges and unique features but this should give you a rough idea of what you can expect from the shoot. Please note that I'm not a photographer who will shoot handheld and in-and-out within a couple of hours. To achieve the kind of images you can see on my portfolio, I photograph interiors using a method of shooting several bracketed exposures which are then combined together in Photoshop to create an even exposure, avoiding over-exposed lights, windows, under-exposed shadows. Whilst this can take some time to shoot, the results are significantly better than a single exposure. I have added a couple of before/after examples at the bottom of this page to illustrate what I mean. Generally, interiors will benefit from additional lighting. I use a combination of LED lights and/or flash heads. If needed, I can try to avoid flash if the venue is open to the public to have as little impact as possible on the day-to-day running of the venue. This is why I usually ask to shoot before the venue is open to the public. Before pressing the shutter both myself and my assistant will make sure the interior is looking at its best. This can include aligning chairs, fluffing pillows etc. If you require more thorough styling I can use a recommended stylist for the shoot.




How do you shoot food and drink?


My approach to F&B photograph is tailored to each brief and budget but ultimately will work in similar ways whether we are shooting on location or in a studio, with flash or daylight. I will discuss with the client before the shoot day about styles, budgets, mood boards, location etc so we can work out the best way to shoot and so that we are on the same page and getting the shots needed. We can shoot at a restaurant/bar, on location or in a food photography studio. Most commonly, I shoot using flash or a mixture of flash and ambient lighting as it means I can control the light and it remains consistant throughout the shoot. I can work exclusivly with natural daylight, if needed, but this only really works if we have access to a good daylight source (window). Depending on the shoot, I can also style the dishes/drinks, if needed. This can range from a little tweak to using my styling kit for condensation on cocktail glasses, artificial ice, creating vapour/smoke, assembling burgers in-situ etc. Again, we can discuss this before the shoot. Please note, if I need to style the dishes/drinks, this can take up quite a bit of time. If you think a seperate food/drinks stylist would be useful, this can also be arranged.




How long will the shoot take?


Obviously, this is hard to say as it depends on so many variables (shot-list, venue size, style of images, if the venue is open etc). For some clients we might only focus on getting a couple of hero shots but for others showing a large range of the menu might be more important, for example. For an average restaurant interior/food & drink shoot I usually recommend at least one full day (up to 8 hours) to make sure we get a range of shots. The way I work, using multiple exposures for interiors and detailed flash lighting for food/drink, takes time. This is important to say as photographers work different ways and I'm very much of the style of 'quality over quantity'. To give you an idea of the kind of thing you might expect on a full days shoot for an average restaurant/bar: 2 - 4 overall wide shots 2 - 3 exterior shots 4 - 6 detail/close-up shots 4 - 5 dishes 3 - 4 drinks That this is a very rough estimate as each venue is unique and it can take a lot longer to set up in one venue compared to another. Also, high-end venues, for example, may only get a couple of set-ups a day as each interior shot may be made up of 20+ exposures and require very detailed styling and lighting. I have done shoots where we have spent all day just to get 1 shot and some when we have worked very quickly to get 30+ shots. It very much depends on the client/budget/venue. For a more accurate quote please speak to me about your shoot. Ultimately, each shoot I do is tailored to each client.




How many shots will I get?


This can vary quite dramatically for different shoots. For example, a high-end hotel might only want a maximum of 2-3 'hero' shots which can take a lot of time to shoot (set-up, lighting, styling, waiting for the right time of day for sunlight etc) but then another venue might need to get 40 final images in a day showing the whole venue and maybe a few food and drink shots. Once I know the kind of images your are after I can advise on what you might expect. To give you an idea of an average bar/restaurant shoot you could expect the following from a full days shoot: 2 - 4 overall wide shots 2 - 3 exterior shots 4 - 6 detail/close-up shots 4 - 6 dishes 3 - 4 drinks That this is a very rough estimate as each venue is unique and it can take a lot longer to set up in one venue compared to another. Also, high-end venues, for example, may only get a couple of set-ups a day as each interior shot may be made up of 20+ exposures and require very detailed styling and lighting. I have done shoots where we have spent all day just to get 1 shot and some when we have worked very quickly to get 40 shots. It very much depends on the client/budget/venue. For a more accurate quote please speak to me about your shoot. Ultimately, each shoot I do is tailored to each client.




How do you select the final shots?


After the shoot, you have two options of how to get the final shots: I can either select and edit the shots myself so you get a good range of images. This tends to be the quickest and most popular way to get the final images. Alternatively, I can upload the unedited shots to my online client gallery and you can select which final shots you'd like fully edited. Usually, there will be a couple of slightly different angles to choose from but you will ultimately get roughly the same amount of images as if I were to just edit them straight away. Please note, that I do not give clients the unedited images which are selected as most of my images are built up of several different exposures. If you want all the shots then they will have to be edited and this might mean an additional fee for editing. Please speak to Ben if you are interested in this.




How long will it be before I get the images?


My standard process is up to 14 days but it is usually much shorter than this. If you have a deadline then please let let me know and I can let you know if that is possible. Sometimes there may be an additional rush fee if you need a faster turnaround. I also work with highly skilled retouchers who can edit shoots when a faster turnaround is needed or more detailed retouching than the included basic edit. If you want to select which shots you'd like edited then the gallery will be sent within 7 days and the edit will be within 14 days after you have made your selection. Again, it usually takes less time than this and if you have a deadline let me know before the shoot and I can work out if this would be possible. I ask that if you have requested a gallery link to select your own shots, please make the selection within 7 days to avoid a build up of unedited shoots as this can cause delays in the editing process for both yourself and other clients.




What kind of touch-up/Photoshop do you do?


Included in my day rate is an additional day (up to 8 hours) for editing the shots. This editing includes correcting exposure, colour temperature, removing small blemishes (marks on walls etc) but nothing major like replacing whole dead hanging baskets (it's been asked before on a shoot!) or object removal. If detailed editing is required then I can use my retoucher but there will be an additional charge for this. Please note, for interior images that have been shot using bracketed exposures, it can take between 30 minutes - 2 hours to edit each shot - this is why you don't get the shots straight away and why you will not be given unedited shots as each image is made up of several exposures.




Is there anything the venue can do to prepare for an interior shoot?


There are a few things which can be done before the shoot to help the day run smoother. I ask the venue/client to check the following things: Bulbs - please ensure all light bulbs are working and are the same wattage/brand/colour temperature (different bulbs will look differently when photographed). Linen – all linen/tablecloths/bedding etc should be ironed as creases can look really obvious in shots and can difficult/time-consuming to get rid of in post-production. Cleaned – seems obvious I know, but I’ve been to many venues that haven’t been cleaned properly! Please make sure someone has had a good look over the venue and approves the set-up before we start shooting. Furniture – please make sure everything is clean and in a good state of repair. If you need to move furniture then please do this before the shoot. Bars – should be stocked up and ready to go. No cling film on bottles or beer pumps. No clutter on bars (bars can collect a lot of paperwork on top of fridges etc!). If there is anything you don’t want in the shots then please remove them before we arrive. Flowers – if you have flowers anywhere in your venue please ensure they are fresh. Exteriors – anything you don’t want in shots (e.g bins, signs, seasonal advertisements, ashtrays etc) please remove before the shoot. Gardens – cut grass, alive flowers etc. I have been asked before to photoshop in healthy looking flowers into hanging baskets (this is something that isn't included in my day rate!).




Do you have food/drink props?


I have a selection of props for food and drink shoots which are free to use for shoots. This includes: Backgrounds Glassware Cutlery Dinnerware Bar accessories Linen Bakeware For shoots that require props I will discuss with the client before the shoot what is needed and bring along anything appropriate to the shoot. I can also use various prop hire houses if we need more specific props or arrange for custom made backgrounds to be made, if required. If a prop/interior/food/drink stylist is needed then I can recommend several who I have worked with over the years.




Do you photograph people?


Odd question, I know, but obviously you don’t often see people in my images! I do shoot portraits of chefs/staff members or bartenders making cocktails, for example. Usually this involves flash so it’s not as simple as a quick snap but this can be added to a shoot, if required. If you are looking for something more creative or unusual in style then drop me a line with your ideas. For interiors, I very rarely shoot with people in shot. This is for a number of reasons: Unless you are using models it can be very difficult to get nice looking shots with members of public. Most of the time, I am shooting to show off the interiors/venue and having people in shot can often look messy (coats on the back of seats, people mid mouthful, clientele that aren’t necessarily the target market etc). Also, I usually shoot interiors using a slow shutter speed so people will be appear blurred. Sometimes this blurred effect can look nice, for example a waiter walking across the room with tray of drinks, but an interior full of people can look too messy and won't do the venue any justice. If you are wanting people in images please speak to me about the kind of shots you need and I can let you know if this is something I would be able to shoot for you as we might need to use flash or models.





To give you an idea of the bracketed exposure method I shoot here is a before and after shot (more examples coming soon):

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© 2020 by Ben Carpenter