After making a couple of recce trips during the preceding weeks the big Catalan Chefs shoot day finally arrived and at 06:00am one balmy morning. My assistant and I carried my equipment down through Gaudi’s Parc Güell in Barcelona heading for the famous mosaic lizard ‘El Drac’ to set up the morning’s shoot for Turisme de Barcelona. Our subjects; over seventy of Catalonia’s top chefs including, amongst others, Ferran Adrià, Joan Roca, Carme Ruscalleda and Christian Escribà. Our Catalan chefs started arriving at around 07:00am, dressed in pristine chefs white jackets and black trousers, albeit a little bleary eyed.

Photographing Catalan Chefs

We set up the lighting which consisted of a front softbox next to my camera to light the faces and another flash head with an umbrella to the right and towards the back of the group. I then started arranging the catalan chefs up the staircase, with the most important ones at the bottom and closer to camera. I had to work quickly as the sun was rising fast and I didn’t want half the group in bright sunlight and the other half in shade.

Barcelona Press Arrive

Having been commissioned to do this shot by Turisme de Barcelona I thought that I’d be the only photographer there but oh no, I was informed by the client as we were setting up that I’d be joined by the press, who duly arrived and set themselves up around my laddered camera position. I asked them if they wouldn’t mind shooting what they needed before I started and then please pack up and head off. Sounded like a good plan but as I started working, one or two lenses below my ladder started creeping into the frame, a light slap to the back of the head and they soon receded!

Standing atop my ladder I tried to get everyone’s attention so they were all looking to camera at the same time, an easy task to accomplish you would have thought but, after checking all the frames later on, I found that there wasn’t one with everybody looking at me. So in Photoshop I had to transplant a few heads from different frames into the final shot. One chef actually turned up after we’d finished but as I hadn’t moved the camera I was able to take a snap of him and insert it into the group shot later.

All in all the shoot proved very successful and the client was more than happy, especially as all the company bigwigs had turned up ready to jump in for the final group shot with all the ‘famous’ Catalan Chefs!

Client: Turisme de Barcelona

Photographic Equipment used

  • Canon EOS-1Ds Mk III
  • Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L USM lens
  • 2 x Broncolor Grafit A4 generators
  • 2 x Pulso F4 flash heads
  • Softbox and white umbrella