Rising Light: Yael Pachino and the Art of Food Portraiture | Profoto (SE)

Rising Light: Yael Pachino and the Art of Food Portraiture

22 June, 2016

Written by: Jens-Linus Lundgren-Widén

Rising Light is an article series highlighting promising photography students from all over the world. This month we introduce Yael Pachino, at Hallmark Institute of Photography, Massachusetts, and her mouth-watering photography.

Baltimore native Yael Pachino is big on food. Not eating food per se, though she does admit to it, but photographing food. And she’s good at it. Very good.

Yael is currently a student at the Hallmark Institute of Photography in Turners Falls, Massachusetts. She fell in love with Hallmark after spending a day touring the facilities. In particular she was impressed with the number of portrait and still-life studios the school maintained along with an incredibly well supplied set of cameras, lenses, and lighting that was hers to utilize. Add to that an amazing faculty to get encouraged from while learning how to capture pictures of food that make you want to eat the page.


For inspiration Yael refers to some of the well-known portrait photographers of our times. In addition to studying the work of prominent food photographers, it’s classic portrait photographers such as Irving Penn and Greg Heisler, with whom she recently spent 2-hours Skyping with, whose senses of style and compositions she instinctually resonates with. These are Yael Pachino’s heroes.


Yael Pachino is particularly fastidious when it comes to lighting. Her sense of composition is impeccable, but it’s her innate sense of lighting that catches your eye. Her selective lighting style can best be described as theatrical stage lighting on a small scale.


Rather than resorting to the soft, even walls of light you get from umbrellas or softboxes, Yael prefers to light her sets using one or more hard lights.


Her photograph of the rum glass, is a classic example of her lighting methodology. The the main subject is lit from behind using a Profoto Acute2 Generator and AcuteD4 Head with a Profoto Zoom Reflector and BarnDoors that contain the light field around the glass. The balance of the elements within the frame are lit separately and indirectly by bouncing the light through a maze of reflectors and baffles. It’s pure stage lighting.


The accompanying photographs were taken with a Canon EOS 5D MK III and Canon EF 24-70mm/f2.8L. Most of her images are composed at the longer end of the focal range and typically at wider apertures if not totally wide open.


As for future plans Ms. Pachino would like to see more of the world and learn about the foods people in different cultures.

“Food is a special part of life and I want to see where my love for food takes me.”

For starters she plans on spending time with family in Israel, learning more about middle-eastern foods, and taking mouth-watering pictures of whatever foods come her way.


Photographer: Yael Pachino
School: Hallmark Institute of Photography, , Massachusetts
Profoto gear of choice: Profoto Acute2 Generator
Visit her website: www.ypachinophotography.com

Written by: Jens-Linus Lundgren-Widén