Assisting Angus McDonald

by am109145

Day 1: Assisting Angus McDonald

Brief background:

Angus McDonald is a Leeds based professional photographer who works with a food stylist and art director to create advert-style-images for clients such as Morrison’s, Asda and similar food-based companies. Angus also has a range of clients including Adidas, Russell Hobbs, Cadburys and many more. The following link leads to his website:

Getting in contact:

I sent a brief email as shown below to Angus to ask him whether there was any chance I could come along and help out by assisting:

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He responded within 15 minutes saying he would love for me to come down and help out:

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I arranged to visit Angus’s Leeds-based studio on Wednesday 8th October where I met his co-worker Ben who works alongside Angus as his Food stylist. Me and Angus had a sit down and had a chat and he was more than happy to have me assist and grasped what that I what I wanted to achieve from being here and assisting him. Luckily Angus and Ben were working on some shots for Morrison’s that afternoon so I stayed and began my role as a assistant right away (with the first task of making tea of course).

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En route to Angus McDonalds studio.


The initial set up we put together to shoot the Bombay pies. The interesting thing about food photography is the initial prep thats put into taking the shot. Firstly we choose the props, secondly we put these on the shooting table and aligned them in accordance with the camera that Angus uses. The camera is self is not like a normal SLR instead this camera reflects the object from all angles giving a better frequency of control. In terms of the functionality of the camera Angus told me that the usage is fairly complicated however using the camera with the light source and altering the F-stops on both help create the image. The camera was set up to the Angus’s main computer station, after choosing the props approbate for the style of dish se moved onto a initial capture of the objects, we then looked at them on screen to see whether the composition was correct.


Angu’s work station, a you can see the set up is connected directly to the computer and is automatically dropped onto the template of the image that has been sent my Morrison’s. The actual pressing of the button is a very small part of the actual process of taking food photographs, infact what was learnt is that it is the most insignificant part of the whole process.



After deciding where and and how he food will be placed Angus and Ben then talked about which pies would be best to photograph based on there aesthetic. I then asked Ben:

Me: ‘How do you know when the food is ready’?

Ben: ‘99% of the time all photographs of food are undercooked, the key to styling is to make the food looks as appetising as possible even if it means undercooking and using a paintbrushes to add or subtract moisture’.

Ben then prep’ed the food and starting to place the food on the area that me and Angus had set up. We took many many shots! Almost over a 100 before Angus and Ben were happy with the outcome. Within the four hours that I spent with Angus and Ben we managed to complete two shots (both for Morrisons).



Angus and Ben making minor adjustments on the software ‘Capture’ and retouching the final image before Angus sent the image to the client.

Additional notes made from Day 1 of Assisting: