food photography | vin antico

Marin Food Photographer

I recently had the pleasure of taking some photos for a farm to table restaurant  in Marin County, specializing in local ingredients and local wine (wonderful considering Napa Valley is only a stone’s throw away). The restaurant has a very warm and cozy feel to it, and the staff supports local artists, whose work adorns the walls of the restaurant and changes monthly. I had a really enjoyable time on this assignment — the staff were extremely friendly, and you could definitely tell they are passionate and love their craft!

I took almost all the photos using natural light (aside from the restaurant lights), and set-up near a large window in the front of the restaurant.  It was really fun seeing people walk by outside of the window, peeking in with their faces pressed against the window out of curiosity (without realizing I could see them). The food looked and tasted absolutely delicious, and it was hard trying to resist not taking a bite in between shots!  Here are a sample of some of my favourites. Others can be seen on my Food Photography page.  

Marin Food Photographer

Marin Food Photographer

Marin Food Photographer

Marin Food Photographer

Marin Food Photographer

Marin Food Photographer

Marin Food Photographer

Marin Food Photographer

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  1. You do some of the best food photography I’ve ever seen in my life! Soooo stunning! :) I wish I could do that!

    • Thank you so much, Pierre! I was really trying to capture the essence and feel of the restaurant — not just the food. I’m glad I was able to convey that — thanks again!

  2. Faced with such beautiful and delicious looking food, I would be off the vegan wagon too! Bacon…yum. Great shots Neely!

    • I was wondering if these restaurants, or wherever your photos take place know you are photographing them. I would think they’d want to buy some from you because your photography is so excellent and great marketing pieces! I want to eat there for sure!

  3. Neely, I noticed that you took the photos when the sun has already set…probably during dinner. I find it really hard to take pictures at restaurants at this time because there is not enough natural light and the restaurant lights are either too harsh or too dim (making them very warm tinted). Any suggestions for me next time I take pictures at dinner? i was thinking of getting an external flash…but think it might look too weird in a dimly lit restaurant. btw, your photos look absolutely amazing!!

    • Thank you!! Actually, I took these photos on two occasions — once during the day when the restaurant was not open (all the food shots), and once at night when the restaurant was filled (the patron shots). Night shots are really hard unless you have a tripod, which I did, but if I wasn’t on assignment, I wouldn’t normally carry a tripod around with me in a restaurant :). If you wanted to take some night shots, you could possibly rest the camera on a surface, like the table or a book, and use your timer in order to not have motion blur. Some of the food shots were taken in the kitchen and there wasn’t much light, so I just had to raise my ISO higher than I would have liked, but I will willing to sacrifice noise for sharpness. I just recently bought an external flash, and it definitely helps with providing more light, but I still love the look of natural light during the day. You might also have to fiddle with your white balance in post-processing if you use a flash. Do you do much work in post?

      • OH! this was so helpful! Thank yoU! I just subscribed to cs6 and have lightroom. I do touch up pictures but would not say I’m at all good at it. I cant seem to get the white balance right in photoshop if i’m shooting at night in a restaurant. Any tips there? My pictures always look too blue or yellow even after trying to balance it in photoshop. Is there a trick i just dont know about?

        I agree with the natural lighting. it always looks better. But now that the sun sets so early, I am hardly taking pictures at dinner time!

        • You’re very welcome! One thing you can do to help with white balance is to use the eyedropper tool in lightroom and adobe camera raw (part of photoshop) and select something in your photo that would be considered a neutral shade of grey. This will give you a custom white balance. You can experiment by clicking on different parts of your picture and seeing how the white balance changes depending on what you eyedropper views as grey from what you selected. Hope that helps!

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