Category: Thoughts

The Art of Dining Out

As a photographer, I am keenly interested in how images help persuade me when, where and how to spend my hard earned cash.

I travel on a regular basis and I like my food. Unfortunately, the two rarely mix well , so I’m continually searching for great locations for dining out. If practical, I’ll ask a friend or colleague for a referral and often, I’ll brave searching my favoured online advisers. Once I have my dining out shortlist, I almost always visit each restaurant’s website to get directions, check the menu and scan the prices so that I won’t be too surprised when presented with the bill!

So why do I choose one restaurant over another?

In order of preference, I would say…
1. Value for money
2. Perception of quality (Referrals/Reviews/Website)
3. My food preference
4. The location

Of course, everyone’s priorities differ! With that in mind, I have included links to several relevant articles that I found interesting and I hope you will too.

40 Tasty Restaurant Websites to Inspire You
Since the main content of a restaurant is their food – or at least it should be – there is no better thing to do than show beautiful images of the food…

An Excellent Series of Marketing Articles
From “Strategies to Help Google Find Your Restaurant” to “How to Incorporate Your Restaurant Website into Your Customer’s Experience”

The Art of Food Photography
They say a picture paints a thousand words. But it can also tempt the appetites of millions of hungry customers…

Restaurant Marketing: What Do You Need?
This is the second article in a five-part series that details exactly what you need to market your restaurant and make it a success.

Triggering Taste Buds Through Imagery
Considering the incredibly competitive nature of the restaurant industry, maintaining a steady flow of foot traffic can be a tall order, especially since the dining experience begins long before a customer walks through a restaurant’s doors.

Restaurant Statistics
Find out some interesting (and not so interesting) stats about the restaurant industry, you may be surprised!

Just one thing.  How would you say  in an image?

Moreover, how can you convey a wide-ranging concept such as ‘just one thing’ that is both immediately understood and eye-catching?  For me, it’s starting with the creation of a list of descriptive words – writing down what pops into my head. Getting ideas out onto paper without restriction, not concerning myself with whether it is right or wrong. Just five minutes later I had well over a hundred words in front of me… a great starting point.  To simplify the list, I put them into vague groups such as emotion, movement, color, senses and so on.  Now that I had this organised in front of me, I was starting to add more words as ideas feed on ideas.

Just One Thing

Just One Thing – Spark

Click!!! My brain made a connection

I quickly came to the conclusion that I wanted to depict movement and instantly ‘speed’ sprung to mind. Speed is fairly easy to simulate with a blur streaking across the image but it seemed too obvious and certainly would limit my creativity… Click!!! My brain made a connection.  If using a single word to express just one thing was limiting, then I should not restrict myself. to single words – the one thing I portray and the one thing the viewer sees can and will be different.  Now we are getting somewhere I smiled to myself, then continued to consider the many ways we relate to and share the wonders of language.

Red is not just a color, it’s the blush of embarrassment, the mist of anger or the ripeness of fruit. The bringing together of hands can be translated as applause, prayer, respect or dominance. Seeing new relationships form between my loosely grouped words, I could begin to visualize and combine… my concept was coming together, solidifying.  Now to put these ideas into action…now to say just one thing in an image.

Hands are expressive, add impact to words and often communicate in a common language… A perfect subject!

Yesterday, one of my friends mentioned ‘the lost hero’.

Suddenly, it was clear; I had lost sight of the reason for creating a particular image over my desire to create a well composed image. Here’s what I see, hopefully you get the feeling from my sketching. The left shows my final, nicely composed image and the right an attempt that seems more like it’s been thrown together:

lost heroIn both images, the lost hero is the baseball.  It is not immediately obvious, and this is further impacted my my use of an eye-catching but slightly inappropriate prop… The popcorn of course!  I have since found that popcorn does not bring back memories of the big baseball game in the same way that peanuts do – my US friends immediately connected with the right image.

I will be re-shooting a series of these images as a mini-project,…

…so getting back on track (thanks to my US friends) is very important to me.

Here’s one of my other ideas for the series, it needs work but the hero certainly stands out.

lost heroI’m aiming to complete this project within the next couple of weeks where the lost hero will be found. If you are interested, then please choose the option “Notify me of new posts by email” and post a comment at the bottom of this article.

If you would like to view my current work, please visit my Projects page


Cover image by David Price.

There are some people who have a natural skill at communication…

…whereas I struggle, this is where Manager Tools and DiSC have helped me.

I consider myself a problem solver, a techie type who is able to apply logic to pull things apart and put them back together again.  On the creative front, I’m okay. I believe I have an eye for colour and composition, and I can use my problem solving skills to supplement my shortfalls.  I am also a people person; I was taught to be polite, I like people and I care about their feelings. In the past, I couldn’t understand why these traits didn’t always help me to effectively communicate with everyone.

About Me - manager tools and disc

I want to share how DiSC helped work alongside a group of people I’d never met face to face before. In fact, we spent five days together on the road, tightly crammed into a minibus. As the miles sped by, we covered a multitude of topics. One subject I brought up was about DiSC profiling. It’s been described as “an instrument for focusing on behaviour”. The model suggests there are four types of behavioural style in which we all have differing levels of each. I have found DiSC useful for modifying my style to better interact with different people… this could include customers, colleagues and friends alike.

The road trip proved to be one of the most challenging opportunities to test my ability to apply the principles of DiSC. The methods are not perfect, you can’t (and shouldn’t) be constantly aware of how you and others behave, but overall, it was helpful in allowing me to better understand and respond appropriately to each of my new found group of friends.

For this reason, I highly recommend purchasing the DISC profile as well as listening to the many freely available Manager Tools podcasts on the subject.

While on the subject of DiSC, a friend recently stated “…there is a lot of detail and complexity and I wonder how easy is it observe the traits of others and then act on these observations”.  I agreed, it is difficult. Much like anything, such as learning photography, it takes time and dedication to understand, see and apply the nuances of a new skill. I find that I concentrate on a small element, practice it, see if it works and then move onto the next.


This week’s P52 assignment calls for an image that screams texture. The challenge for me is to find a suitable subject. There’s a variety of textures all around us but how to make them interesting? My starting point actually has nothing to do with texture, but more to do with an off-hand comment regarding still-life subjects “they don’t talk back”. This made me pause for thought, I enjoy portraiture but rarely spare the genre the time and effort afforded to my more patient models of Cognac, Bourbon and perfume bottles. My new challenge, how to find texture in portraits!

The first task is to set the lighting, I make such a great stand-in-dummy with my far off “what’s that coming over the hill” stare Texture in portraits - Self Portrait The second task is to find some appropriate texture-rich attire to help frame my intended victim model. Finally, I must motivate my intended model to don said clothing, stand just so, position eyes/head right there… I think it worked. It seems that these posts are becoming a chronicle of my P52 assignments. While it’s great to chart my progress, it’s clear that I need to find a personal project; a project that puts this new found knowledge to use. It’s not just the taking of photos, but the interacting with people outside my usual circle of friends, family and colleagues – in other words, experiencing the big (not so bad) world in the guise of a more rounded photographer. Texture in portraits - Woman Wearing Scarf and Fur Lined Hood