Jojie Certeza Sydney Food and Landscape Photographer

I was a co-owner of a bistro. We operated inside Campbelltown City Hotel. The business was doomed to fail right even before we started it—my gut feeling told me not to go in business with this guy because I saw first hand how he handled business—it was simply too shifty to my liking. People were taken for granted and were left high and dry. I noticed that when I was doing a photo shoot at his cafe. Even I got shafted during the assignment. Many of us Filipinos living here in Australia would say don't trust a Filipino when going to business. There's just something about them that's just not right when it comes to money. You'd get ripped off. Of course, I am a Filipino myself and if I say that, then I'm not exempted right? The point is though, like all businesses, you need to know who you are dealing with. I have friends who are successful in business and they are trustworthy. I just happened jump into partnership who was not so trustworthy. In the end, it was my fault. A business learning experience.

After that fell apart, myself and Chris who was the other co-owner of the business kept going—with drained resources from our previous shifty partner who basically burnt us. Chris being a chef himself, changed the menu and made it more simpler—we served burgers, steaks and pasta instead. This venture went on for few more months. This also failed and mainly because of our location. Our premises was hot—the air conditioning wasn't working properly and it was in a location where it was bit closed off. In the end it all failed. Few years later the whole of City Hotel also closed down.

Taking Photos

We had a western theme for our bistro with barrels, cowboy and cowgirl hats, wall painted to match a somewhat country feeling. I used all these as part of my set up.

Jojie Certeza Sydney Food and Landscape Photographer

Lighting

Initially I started off with (affiliate link) strobe photography. I ran into problems such as high lights were blown out—so that the background would be in the picture, or the food on the plate and the set-up around it would turn out fine, but the background was too dark. These got all sorted out of course after few experimentation of light.

Whilst trying to get the right settings, I remembered, watching on youtube about long exposures used to take product shots, in this case food photography being in focus. So I thought I'd try that out. The function area or the dining area of Campbelltown City Hotel has glass panes which allows available light. During morning, the light would pierce through the window panes and onto the carpet. I could have placed my set up right where the sun would hit the food. But earlier, I came across this problem using the artificial light where the highlights were all blown to bits. I opted to move my table far away from the direct sunlight and let the light seep through from long exposure. This worked rather well and it was the shot that I used to display on our counter and website.

Most of my food photography are done with 2 light set up. This was a personal project for the bistro that we ran. I was not restricted for this assignment and I thought, I would play around using natural light. At first, I could not tell much difference though to my final photo between the natural light setting and the artificial setting. But at closer look, I could tell a slight difference and the natural light was my keeper.

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Jojie Certeza is a Sydney based photographer. His passion for photography started in 2007 after being introduced by a friend who is also passionate about photography. I have two websites; asimplecreationcom which primarily focuses on food photography and ozpinoy.com for everything else, including landscape and life in Australia—more like an online diary of just about anything that I might share to the rest of the world.

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