Thursday, June 5, 2014

ACO Multimedia: An International Perspective on Food Photography

“I want to take pictures to show people what they’re missing. We don’t see any more.”

The Art of Hotel Management
As a teenager in Mexico City, Alberto Cortés was surrounded by art. He grew up in Coyoacán, one of Mexico City’s oldest neighbourhoods, just a few blocks from Frida Kahlo’s house. There was beautiful architecture, street performers, small cafes, and restaurants.

Alberto loved to draw and told his parents that he wanted to be an artist, but they advised against it, saying he wouldn’t be able to make a living. His next thought was to become an architect, but his friends said there were already too many. Eventually, he decided to take a course in hotel management as he liked architecture and food: “I love looking at nice food, and Mexican food is so colourful.”

Alberto has now spent almost 30 years in hotel management in 8 to 10 different cities. He has always had a camera in hand, taking shots around the hotels of food, art, and flowers. His love of art intensified when he did some consulting work that involved menu designs (photographs and drawings). He also worked for Encyclopedia Brittanica on the pages with illustrations in Mexico’s Book of the Year.

Desktop publishing gave him the opportunity to “paint with his computer,” and he loved it. And his drawing skills might be rusty, but he could take photographs.

Turning Point
When Alberto turned 50, he decided it was time to start a photography business and do what he really liked doing. “I want to be able to use my heart and brains and hands,” he explains.

Alberto has chosen to focus his attention on commercial photography in order to provide excellent service in a few select areas rather than trying to do everything. ACO Multimedia specializes in food, architecture, and flower photography.

“I want to showcase real food coming from the kitchen – food you can actually eat,” he says. If possible, he will use natural light. “I don’t want to show fake food, glistening with oil. It has to look like it will when it’s served to customers.”

Alberto also produces short timelapse videos to illustrate the process of cooking, or an event in progress, or a house being built. Customers will be able to post them on their websites, Alberto explains.

Alberto also offers 360 degree photos, mainly for selling houses, which can be in the form of a video or a tour.

Examples of Alberto’s work can be found on ACO Multimedia’s website and Facebook page.

Like Father, Like Son
“Disney is the best,” Alberto says, and he has copies of all the Disney movies. His son, Antonio, started watching them when he was less than 3 years old. He would run to fetch a pencil and paper so he could draw while he watched. Antonio is now producing animated movies and has his own YouTube account.

“He’s only 16. His movies are amazing for his age,” Alberto exclaims. “Nobody trained him.”

5 Quick Tips for Food Photography
“Food dishes are beautiful. I want people to really look at them before they start eating.”

Here are some helpful tips from Alberto to help you improve your food photography.

1. Put your favorite dish in the best light setting you can.
2. Try out different angles and select the best angle for that particular dish.
3. Focus your camera on your point of interest (the entire dish or one specific area).
4. Select the proper camera settings (aperture, time and ISO).
5. Take the picture and.... enjoy your dish!

Of course, you could go one step further and hire Alberto! Let him know that you follow Wanderlust and Words, and you’ll be eligible for a discount in June and July of 2014.

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