This is a shot of a piece of grilled salmon sitting in foil on a really hot grill. NOT!
Yes there is a piece of salmon on foil, but the truth ends right there. This was an image for the back panel of a steak sauce bottle.
This was a fun time for me. We rented Doug FInley's studio so he was there and helped me a lot. I had an assistant named Steve Berg who was responsible for the nice flames. We had a food stylist, Eline the hand model, a client and me.
Alyssa worked on this shot. We did both salmon and a big chicken leg, both with and without a model brushing on steak sauce. While the food is almost always cold when we are shooting, things like water on vegetables and oil on fish and meat make them look hot and yummy.
The top grill grate is about 3x4 feet in size, and is sitting on saw horses. Below that is a smaller grill which is covered with charcoal briquettes which have been lightly sprayed with white paint to look charred. Below that is a few layers of gel and a strobe head pointing up. But what about the flames?
Here is how we did them:
It was all about Steve Berg. As Steve and I were driving to the studio, we were discussing the shot. Steve, who is a photographer now but was my assistant back then said; "stop at Kmart. I need to pick up some rubber cement. This will blow your mind." He was right. After we had the whole shot, food and all, set up, Steve painted rubber cement on a few of the briquettes and lit them up with a cigarette lighter! The flame was limited and very controlled, and we played around until the flames were just where we needed them for the shot. That was a new one for me and I stored it away so I could look smart at a later date. So that's it. A fresnel spot overhead for sunshine, and you have a hot looking grill including flames, in the studio!