Hudi Greenberger’s transition from foodie to food photographer was a natural one. “I love to cook. I’m not a professional chef, but I know my way around the kitchen.” He got started working with Mishpacha Magazine six years ago, after they invited him to shoot their food and recipe section. Nowadays, he designs elaborate food pairings out of fishing wire, Photoshop, and a bit of luck.
“If you had to define my style, I like drama,” says Greenberger, who creates his pairings out of a liquid and a solid, from cheese and wine to strawberries and cream. Shooting with a Nikon D750, he enhances the contrast of the food pairing with dramatic lighting and movement.
For his spectacular burger and beer tower, Greenberger suspended a deconstructed burger with fishing wire and two straight poles. “I actually shot the whole thing in one take,” he says. “Normally, I build these kinds of shots slowly in Photoshop. I take one shot at time and put them together in post.” He cooked the burger as a food stylist would: raw. “It’s to keep them plump and juicy. If you cook it, [the burger] loses half its size.” He took one shot to light the beer bottle, and then, “three, two, one, and pour it all over.” He suspended the bottle using a clamp, and took fourteen shots in rapid succession. Greenberger later matched up all the angles in post.
With all of his movement-intensive food pairings, Greenberger uses a very quick flash. “A strobe will flash for 1/200th of a second, and that’s actually a pretty long time. It’s not quick enough to freeze the motion.” Whereas, an Einstein Flash Unit fires at 1/8000th of a second, “so it really stops the action.”
Ultimately, however, Greenberger argues that all food photography, including his food pairings, is about “creating an emotional bond with the food,” and especially to evoke a story. “If we’re doing a breakfast theme, we want it to look like morning. I will have light streaming it, and it triggers something of having breakfast in bed. […] That’s how you create an emotional feel as an artist, and what you do to create stories.”