Simone's Kitchen

On location – photography challenge #2 – 2013


As foodies we all go to markets. We all go to restaurants and we all go to any other place that has food on the agenda, right? And if you’re anything like me, you also love to take your camera with you and try and shoot the scenes as they pass before your eyes. However, as we’ve all found out, shooting on location can be challenging. First of all you have to cope with the existing light. That can be anything from harsh bright sunlight to fluorescent green lamps. The times that the lighting is spot on perfect for that one perfect shot is – well let’s face it – hard to find.

Having just come back from a trip across Laos and Cambodia which posed MANY lighting challenges along the way, I figured that would be a perfect theme for the new photography and styling challenge. Not so much styling involved this time around, although even when on location there are a couple of things you can do if your subject is willing. Incorporating a human element into your photos is fun and most of the times that gives you also a little bit more of a styling control then when shooting ready ingredients on a market. I don’t think the market stall owners would be too impressed if you start moving their merchandise around to suit your needs… πŸ˜‰

Adding a human element can be fun!

Adding a human element can be fun!

I know I get overwhelmed if I see so many things at once at markets or even in a restaurant, so try and ignore all the ‘noise’ and focus on the thing you find most appealing, shocking or colorful. Or look for artfully displayed items. Have you ever seen the gorgeous piles of food they create in the souqs in Morocco? Or the things they put on sticks in Asia? Those are all great subjects, but even the more mundane things like pretty herbs or rows of eggs stacked can be a fabulous item to shoot.


This challenge has virtually no end. The options are literally endless so roam around your town, explore the market or go to your local fishmonger and ask for a behind the scenes look. (my favorites!) Most of all try and do something outside of your comfort zone; go to an indoors market and see if you can handle the white balance. Or if you never shoot anything with people in it, try and make them part of your scene. In general people are proud of what they produce and will be more then willing to show you how they do it.

A few tips to get you going;

  1. If you’re shooting indoors (and no flash is allowed here!) don’t be afraid to increase your ISO.
  2. Don’t go around lugging a tripod with you. You will get in the way of people and you won’t be able to move around as much as you want to. Flexibility is key here.
  3. If you’re shooting outdoors an overcast day is ideal. Try and avoid heavy sunshine and heavy shadows although ANY rule is always worth to be broken if the occassion presents itself
  4. If you have a fast lens (such as a 50 mm 1.8 or 1.4) use that. You will find it works wonders in low light situations
  5. When shooting in a restaurant be sure not to bother any of the other customers. If in doubt ask for permission from the staff. I’ve never had anyone tell me not to photograph their food (although apparently it seems to happen in New York these days)
  6. If you can it’s great fun to ask for a peak into the kitchen so you could maybe shoot the chefs at work. Depending on the location this might very well be declined though.
  7. Keep in mind that your shutterspeed will need to be fast enough to capture both your subjects movement as well as your own movement. Although any creative blur can be quite interesting too.


And as usual here are the rules:

    1. Theme of the month is On location.
    2. No addition artificial lighting is allowed. Use whatever light is available on the location
    3. For location anything is allowed as long as it is not in your own home or in a friends home.. πŸ˜‰
    4. Post before the deadline of March 31st.
    5. Enter your link through the Linky Tool shown below and make sure to link back to this post in your blog entry
    6. If you do not have a blog you can still enter your photo for the challenge, as long as you make sure we can view your photo online somewhere
    7. Once you have entered please send me an email at
      with the name of your blog, your own name, the link to your post and your entry photo in the size of 500 px wide max.


Our judging panel consists of the lovely and talented ladies mentioned below and we will do our very best to post the end result of the challenge the first or second of the next month. No guarantees though! The results of the Homemade challenge will be posted later this week too.

Meeta from What’s for lunch Honey

Jenn from Jenncuisine

Kay from kayotickitchen



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  1. A great challenge! Your pictures are wonderful and make me dream.



  2. Simone these photos are incredible, I loove the fish!

  3. Looking forward to another challenge and I do love the last photograph of the fish in the basket! πŸ™‚

  4. Beautiful photos, and great shooting tips!

  5. What a great idea! And it is really tough shooting while travelling! I find it a challenge to talk to people and notice things in a short space of time while standing behind a camera, yet photographing while travelling is so rewardingly fun! πŸ™‚

  6. OMG the fish head photos are tremendous! You are such a great travel and life photographer… and it isn’t only the technical side of light, etc. I love how you show everything, make it inviting and tempting. Beautiful!

  7. Oh my gosh, your photos are stunning, Simone!!! Great job! Hmh… seriously have to think about the topic and maybe can take part this month.

  8. Great photos! When I shoot on location (and in the studio, really) I tend to be most interested in color, texture, pattern, and shadow. And you have wonderful examples of all four! Good stuff – thanks.

  9. Thanks for the photo tips.

  10. !!…This is going to be a real challenge…‘‘

  11. What a beautiful array of lovely pictures, Simone! I am happy that you are back! We missed your fantastic pictures! πŸ™‚

    I can’t wait to see what pictures other blogger’s come up too! πŸ™‚


  13. Hi Simone, just participated but can’t find your email address. The link isn’t working for me….sorry! Can you please give me your email so I can send you all the details? Thanks a lot in advance….
    Ciao, Letizia

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  15. What a fun challenge. I have traveled to Cambodia and Laos as well and have really enjoyed your photos from there.
    Can we enter your challenge more than once? It is so hard to pick just one. πŸ™‚

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