The Similarities between Steaks & Photography
I enjoy taking photos, but cooking is another one of my passions, especially when I get to prepare meals for my friends and family during summer BBQs. Just something about a juicy, perfectly cooked steak is so satisfying! Interestingly, delivering professional-grade wedding photos for my clients is similar to the effort required to craft a mouthwatering steak dish. Here are the steps I followed to make sure both turned out fantastic:
1: Aiming for the Best Quality and not Mediocrity:
When it comes to serving steak, I always prefer the highest quality cuts of beef, such as striploin, tenderloin, or filet mignon, for my guests. I avoid using lower-quality meats, like top blades or sirloin tips. As a professional photographer, my primary goal is to capture only the best possible shots during weddings. I strive to create well-composed, stunning, and flattering photos that highlight the day's special moments. I never settle for mediocre or bland-looking photos that go against my principles. Ultimately, I am committed to delivering images that leave me excited and blown away.
2: Editing Process...trimming out the excess:
After capturing thousands of shots during a wedding, I meticulously go through them, carefully selecting the best ones and discarding the rest. It's like being a butcher, selecting only the most succulent and tender cuts of meat like the filet mignon. Once the best photos are chosen, I spend about a week retouching them for the Wedding Highlights. The second-best edits are given to clients about two months later. These particular edits are like the Striploin or Tenderloin cuts of steak - they are still fantastic but not as perfect as the filet mignon.
3: Seasoning and Retouching:
This is the stage where the real magic happens. I spend an entire week meticulously retouching each photo until it is flawless. This involves adjusting the skin tone, removing any blemishes, and ensuring that the subject(s) stands out from the background by adjusting the lighting exposure. I usually limit my daily retouching time to a few hours to take my time and do a good job. Similarly, properly seasoning a high-quality steak requires lots of care and patience. The first step is to pat the meat dry with a paper towel, generously sprinkle kosher salt and freshly ground pepper on both sides of the meat, and then wrap it in saran wrap and place it in the fridge overnight or for up to 24 hours. This allows the seasoning to thoroughly soak into the meat and create a savoury crust that seals in the flavour.
4: Like cooking, processing photos requires lots of Care & Attention:
Once you've seasoned your steaks to perfection, take them out of the fridge and let them sit at room temperature for at least 30 minutes. This ensures the steak cooks evenly. Use a paper towel to pat the steak dry again during this time to prevent steam from ruining the searing process. During the grilling process, ensure that one side of the grill is at a temperature of 450 to 550 Fahrenheit while the other side is turned off for indirect cooking afterward. Grill each side of the steak for about 3 to 4 minutes. Once both sides are grilled, place them on the other side for indirect cooking. Even though the steak is no longer on the hot grill, it continues to cook on the inside, so check the internal temperature. For the perfect balance of juice, flavour, and tenderness, cook the steak to a medium-rare temperature of around 130 degrees Fahrenheit. After taking the steak off the grill, put it on a warm plate covered in foil and let it rest for 5 minutes to distribute the juice evenly throughout the meat. Then, serve the steak soon afterward. Similarly, when doing the final checks on edited wedding photos, I ensure that all retouches are done professionally and that there is consistent quality throughout.