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Archive for the ‘Photography’ Category

Playing with my food… food photography that is!

Wednesday, June 27th, 2012

My very generous husband got me a new camera for Christmas.  I love my old school film SLR, but I must say, that I really love the new digital camera.  Since my present arrived, I’ve been playing around with all the features, from taking black and white photos to the landscape and macro settings.

The thing I love most about this camera, though, is the instant gratification of seeing what lighting setting looks best.  I don’t have to worry about wasting expensive film, and I don’t have to wait weeks or, I’m not going to lie, in some cases, years to see my masterpieces.

I’m going to call this my study in tomatoes.

Not to sound like Goldilocks, but one of these is too light, one is too dark, and one is just right.  The one on the left is what I’m calling just right.  You get the nice red color of these cherry tomatoes.

That being said, there are two things I don’t like about this photo.  First of all, it was taken at night.  I read an article a while back about how much of a difference natural light makes in food photography.  Looking back at these photos now, since they were taken back in February, I can see the difference.

Second, I don’t like the white balance in the cutting board.  The cutting board looks a little yellowish, which I don’t think is very appetizing.  Other articles I’ve read about food photography note how important a white background is.  While I don’t think it’s essential (I personally love the photography on Smitten Kitchen, and she rarely uses a white background), if you’re going to use a white background, it needs to be really white.  I will not be using this cutting board as a background again anytime soon.

So, what have I learned from this exercise?

  1. Using a tripod makes a huge difference.  You are better able to control the lighting by allowing for longer exposure times without worrying about the camera shaking.
  2. Play around with the height of the tripod.  I almost always had the legs fully extended. As a result, I was always shooting at a downwards angle.  I recently tried not extending the legs completely and instead extended, what I’m calling, the neck.  The difference was astounding and will change how I shoot going forward.
  3. Just like plating in a restaurant, the background of your photos makes a huge difference.  Pay attention to what the food looks like against the surface you’re shooting it against.
  4. Natural lighting helps make your photos look more vibrant.  Even if you’re playing with the light readings on your camera, natural light is much more pleasing in the final photos.
  5. Composition matters.  Use the rule of thirds.
  6. Pay attention to how food on your favorite blogs is shot.  You’ll learn a lot just from looking at other people’s photos.


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