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The Food Photography Topic


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#31 dcarch

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Posted 06 September 2013 - 11:24 AM

As requested, this is my very sophisticated photo and lighting setup.

 

The light is always in the closet with the broken plastic container, and the camera is always mounted on a tripod in the same closet.

 

Picture time - hang light on a hook, open tripod, one top view of the dish and one side view. Done in less than a minute. No composition, no creative dramatic angles. The camera is on auto focus and auto exposure, there is nothing for me to do except "click, click".

 

Why is all this too complicated and too time consuming?

 

dcarch

 

light2_zpsbb96a4d4.jpg

 

light_zpsde512821.jpg

 

 


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#32 pastameshugana

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Posted 06 September 2013 - 12:29 PM

Brilliant. I don't think there's a person who doesn't know you that would connect the pic of your setup and the shots of your food.

 

Just more evidence that you can make beautiful pictures with basic setups.


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#33 OliverB

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Posted 06 September 2013 - 03:26 PM

"real" food photography is a whole different animal than taking photos of what we made or ordered in a restaurant, involves chefs, food stylists, lights, assistants, etc etc. And often the food is not real or edible, i.e. mashed potatoes used for ice cream, acrylic ice cubes, glycerin spray instead of condensation on glass, etc. The photos in MC are a top of the line example and certainly cross over into the art segment of photography as well.

But putting a little effort into snapping pictures of our food is really quick and easy, and yes, works just as well with an iphone. Camera is just a tool, one needs to know what it's capable of and use it well. It's a lot of fun, I often snap a quick iphone picture of food I made or am making, I don't like having my real cameras in the kitchen, I use them when I set up a little studio setting e.g. after a good harvest at the farmers market. I use my phone or a waterproof P&S in the kitchen.

To me it sounds like Meredith likes to set a nice table and just be able to sit down with her fiance after a long day of work, and I think that's great. It's more chaotic in my house, most of time I serve the kids first, then my wife and then myself. They start eating before I even have a crumb on my plate. I tried the serve all and sit down many times before, but the "can I start, I'm soooo hungry" whining got more on my nerves than sitting down when they're already half done, LOL

So sometimes I spend a couple extra seconds on my plate and snap a couple photos, doesn't disrupt and the kids watch what I'm doing (trying to feed them some love of photography with dinner I guess). I don't have room in a closet to have a mini setup ready all the time, great idea though!

Those photos are mostly for me to document what I did and trigger ideas down the road. I rarely cook exactly the same thing twice, and even if it's the same dish I play with stuff and change quantities all the time. Fun to see something I made two years ago.

There are a handful of great (and some not so great) books on this topic, of course geared to the professional or "real" food photography, used in advertisements, magazines, etc. I also have a fun book on food styling that I use for ideas when I set up my mini studio.

It really depends on what the purpose of a foto is too, a quick shot to memorize something great in a restaurant or at home, a shot for a blog (where one might spend a bit longer with light/composing), something arty to print and hang up in the kitchen, etc.

For mini studio setup I use one or two flashes off camera with small softboxes, both either on stands or placed elsewhere to throw the light I want. Or I might work outside in the shade or close to a window. Sometimes I also use a small light table used for drawing to illuminate food from behind or underneath, fun to experiment.

You need decent light and a somewhat capable camera, but you also need to know a bit about composition, play with angles, turn the food this or that way. Can be done very quick and once you get the hang of it and find your couple different approaches you like it gets even faster. Since we're not on a photography forum here, I don't think it makes sense to get too technical and certainly makes no sense to diss phone or P&S cameras, great food photography has been done with anything from pinhole cameras to $40k rigs in million dollar studios. Not sure why things need to get personal here, what's the point of that? People will just leave the thread and it'll die.


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#34 Holly Moore

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Posted 06 September 2013 - 04:23 PM

In terms of a "capable camera" that OliverB mentioned, consider the Sony RX-100.  There is a new model out, the RX-200, but I'm so happy with my RX-100 that I see no reason to change.

 

What makes the camera exceptional, compared to other pocket cameras, is its 1" sensor.  Not as big as a single lens reflex, but twice or more as large as other compact cameras. From the dpreview.com review, "A large sensor is one of the most significant factors in terms of providing good image quality. The larger area simply means that, compared to a smaller sensor camera, it will be exposed to more light during any exposure with the same settings (ISO, shutter speed and F-number). And more light means a better signal-to-noise ratio." It also has a Zeiss lens, which probably helps.

 

The dpreview.com review concludes, "The RX100 is probably the most capable compact camera on the market today, combining the image quality benefits of a mid-sized sensor with the proportions of a conventional compact. Extensive, though not flawless, manual controls make the RX100 a great second camera for DSLR shooters."

 

I can just go by results. Since I switched, my pictures are much sharper with much truer color. I can also snap a decent picture in low available light. I have a Nikon SLR, but the quality of the RX-100 is so good for web site resolution, that I only lug my SLR out for state occasions.


Edited by Holly Moore, 06 September 2013 - 04:25 PM.

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#35 Meredith380

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Posted 06 September 2013 - 06:27 PM

...I'm shocked to learn that I'm just a 'new member'... :(

I never reduced anyone to being 'just' a new member.
I also apologize, as I should have prefaced my post by stating that I am disappointed with egullets inability to work with new technology. I can't upload a picture from my iPhone or iPad. I pretty much never use my Mac book as I prefer my multipurpose tablet. I think if egullet worked on making posting pictures easier, a lot more people would do so.

#36 Anna N

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Posted 06 September 2013 - 07:11 PM

...I'm shocked to learn that I'm just a 'new member'... :(

I never reduced anyone to being 'just' a new member.
I also apologize, as I should have prefaced my post by stating that I am disappointed with egullets inability to work with new technology. I can't upload a picture from my iPhone or iPad. I pretty much never use my Mac book as I prefer my multipurpose tablet. I think if egullet worked on making posting pictures easier, a lot more people would do so.

Meredith, like you I rarely use anything but my i-Pad or i-Phone any more. My laptop sits collecting dust and I hang on to it only because It will play DVDs! I upload photos from my i-Pad to eGullet with little difficulty. It requires the free app Tap-a-talk and there is a short learning curve but it is very doable. I am not tech-savvy so if I can master it I'm betting you would quickly leave me in your slip stream. There are loads of members who would be more than happy to talk you through it if you ask. Best, Anna
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#37 OliverB

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Posted 06 September 2013 - 09:00 PM

the sony 100 is a great camera, I think the new model is just called 100 II though, not 200. It will probably replace my G12 soon. My father in law, who has tons of canon gear (which is why I went canon, free rental store) uses it, he's very anal about picture quality and loves it, the new one is even better in low light, costs 100 more or so. Great little thing to have handy.

Picture uploading here is a bit of a pain, I first have to save it as a small enough jpg etc, more than I want to do to just quickly upload a photo. Might look at tapatalk, but most my pix are in LR and out of my DSLRs or my G12, i.e. RAW format. Wish there'd be a LR plugin.

 

I'm going to work on a couple thousand pix from this summer soon, maybe I'll upload some here anyway, aside of working with models in the studio, food photography is one of my top favorites :-)


"And don't forget music - music in the kitchen is an essential ingredient!"
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Diablo Kitchen, my food blog

#38 pastameshugana

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Posted 06 September 2013 - 09:06 PM

the sony 100 is a great camera, I think the new model is just called 100 II though, not 200. It will probably replace my G12 soon. My father in law, who has tons of canon gear (which is why I went canon, free rental store) uses it, he's very anal about picture quality and loves it, the new one is even better in low light, costs 100 more or so. Great little thing to have handy.

Picture uploading here is a bit of a pain, I first have to save it as a small enough jpg etc, more than I want to do to just quickly upload a photo. Might look at tapatalk, but most my pix are in LR and out of my DSLRs or my G12, i.e. RAW format. Wish there'd be a LR plugin.

 

I'm going to work on a couple thousand pix from this summer soon, maybe I'll upload some here anyway, aside of working with models in the studio, food photography is one of my top favorites :-)

 

An easy 'hack' to upload pictures via tapatalk that aren't in your iPad or iPhone already (for iOS users): If you use a PC, you can install photostream from Apple (iCloud panel). It allows you to keep a copy of your pics from your cell phone cam/ipad etc on your PC, but you can turn that option off. It also provides an 'uploads' folder. Dragging any picture into that folder will copy it into photostream, and will shortly appear on your iPad/iphone or other devices connected to that account.

 

Wait a couple minutes, open Tapatalk on iPad and upload your pics.

 

OR any other syncing app like dropbox will work. The big advantage is that tapatalk automatically resizes the pictures, eliminating a PITB step.


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#39 DiggingDogFarm

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Posted 06 September 2013 - 09:18 PM

I've researched for weeks and I'm leaning toward a Samsung NX1000

A great value ~$332.00.

 

http://www.amazon.co...m/dp/B007XJG42E


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#40 teonzo

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Posted 06 September 2013 - 11:24 PM

There are a handful of great (and some not so great) books on this topic, of course geared to the professional or "real" food photography, used in advertisements, magazines, etc. I also have a fun book on food styling that I use for ideas when I set up my mini studio.

 

Can you name some titles, please?

 

 

 

Teo


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#41 pastameshugana

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Posted 07 September 2013 - 04:44 AM

Teo,

 

Not food-specific, but a good all-rounder is Tony Northrup's DSLR Book. It helps to understand the basics, and the eBook version includes some videos that are helpful.


PastaMeshugana
"The roar of the greasepaint, the smell of the crowd."
"What's hunger got to do with anything?" - My Father
My eG Food Blog (2011)

#42 dcarch

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Posted 07 September 2013 - 05:06 AM

There are more features in a digital camera than you can use, but the most useful for me are these two:

 

A big view screen that can be flipped backwards.

 

A remote control.

 

Tip:

 

Buy an extra rechargeable battery and store the battery in you refrigerator. It takes no room. All batteries have limited rechargeable cycle, and they get very weak or expire after a few years of use. In a few years, some special replacement batteries can get extremely expensive. For my simple Coolpix, it is $70 to $100 now.

 

dcarch


Edited by dcarch, 07 September 2013 - 05:12 AM.


#43 pastameshugana

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Posted 07 September 2013 - 07:28 AM

On the subject of replacement batteries - I've been purchasing Wasabe power (from Amazon) replacements. They usually come in sets of two with a charger (including car adapter) for $30-50. I've got a set for each of my Canon's and also my GoPro Hero. They work like champs and function like OEM, no issues at all.

 

I'm not sure how they're so cheap, or why the others are so expensive - maybe it's magic unicorn dust - but I love them!


PastaMeshugana
"The roar of the greasepaint, the smell of the crowd."
"What's hunger got to do with anything?" - My Father
My eG Food Blog (2011)

#44 Keith_W

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Posted 07 September 2013 - 07:52 AM

I also apologize, as I should have prefaced my post by stating that I am disappointed with egullets inability to work with new technology. I can't upload a picture from my iPhone or iPad. I pretty much never use my Mac book as I prefer my multipurpose tablet. I think if egullet worked on making posting pictures easier, a lot more people would do so.

That's more your iPhone/iPad's fault than eGullet's. Apple, in their infinite wisdom, has denied you access to the file system. So you can only share photos with certain apps, and I am pretty certain that Safari and Tapatalk aren't on the list.
There is no love more sincere than the love of food - George Bernard Shaw

#45 OliverB

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Posted 07 September 2013 - 01:41 PM

for book titles, I'm currently reading Food Photography and Lightning, so far I like it quite a bit. Author is a pro and has one of the largest food photography studios (that I want to move into). Geared towards pro work for advertising etc.

Others I like are:
Plate to Pixel
Digital Food Photography
Food Photography, from snapshot to great shots (I think)

 

The Food Stylists Handbook, which as the title says is more about the tricks on how to make things look good under studio conditions.

There are other books too, best if you go and look at them first. Some don't appeal to me at all for the displayed photos and they target a bit of different levels of knowledge. Some of them might have look inside on amazon or maybe their own website.


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Diablo Kitchen, my food blog

#46 pastameshugana

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Posted 07 September 2013 - 09:44 PM

I also apologize, as I should have prefaced my post by stating that I am disappointed with egullets inability to work with new technology. I can't upload a picture from my iPhone or iPad. I pretty much never use my Mac book as I prefer my multipurpose tablet. I think if egullet worked on making posting pictures easier, a lot more people would do so.

That's more your iPhone/iPad's fault than eGullet's. Apple, in their infinite wisdom, has denied you access to the file system. So you can only share photos with certain apps, and I am pretty certain that Safari and Tapatalk aren't on the list.

 

Keith - I can say for certain that tapatalk on iPad lets you upload photos from your camera roll.


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#47 Dakki

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Posted 08 September 2013 - 04:15 AM

Photobucket has apps to work directly with most mobile devices, including Apple products. Consolidating your photos on a service like this also allows you to manage them across the board, which is useful if you crosspost pics on multiple forums.


This is my skillet. There are many like it, but this one is mine. My skillet is my best friend. It is my life. I must master it, as I must master my life. Without me my skillet is useless. Without my skillet, I am useless. I must season my skillet well. I will. Before God I swear this creed. My skillet and myself are the makers of my meal. We are the masters of our kitchen. So be it, until there are no ingredients, but dinner. Amen.

#48 Keith_W

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Posted 08 September 2013 - 05:40 AM

Keith - I can say for certain that tapatalk on iPad lets you upload photos from your camera roll.

Thank you for the correction! Meredith, that's your answer. If you want to upload photos to eG from your iPad, use Tapatalk.
There is no love more sincere than the love of food - George Bernard Shaw

#49 liuzhou

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Posted 09 September 2013 - 03:01 AM

Photobucket has apps to work directly with most mobile devices, including Apple products. 

 
Photobucket have lost several of my pictures.
 
Imageshack was even worse. They lost most then denied it, They even sent me two emails the same day, from two different people in their complaints dept, one apologising for having lost a whole bunch of photos and the other utterly denying that they had ever lost a photograph in the entire existence of the company and threatening me with all sorts of retribution.
 
Lesson learned: always keep copies and don't trust image storing sites.

Edited by liuzhou, 09 September 2013 - 03:05 AM.


#50 Dakki

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Posted 09 September 2013 - 06:47 AM

I've never had a problem with that particular product/service, so if anyone else has that's obviously their fault.

 

(That's a joke, btw)

 

Yeah, there's no guarantee photobucket or dropbox or eG for that matter are going to be in business next month, nevermind keep your precious files safe. I agree you should keep copies of anything that you care about on your PC, preferably in a RAID or similar. I suggest photobucket and similar image hosting services because they make it much easier to share pics across multiple forums, allowing you to share an existing link instead of uploading to each one individually, which many forums don't even allow.

 

Having those links ready also encourages you to share stuff when you might not have taken the trouble otherwise. This is a stray I picked up. Isn't he cute?!

 

IMG_13551.jpg


This is my skillet. There are many like it, but this one is mine. My skillet is my best friend. It is my life. I must master it, as I must master my life. Without me my skillet is useless. Without my skillet, I am useless. I must season my skillet well. I will. Before God I swear this creed. My skillet and myself are the makers of my meal. We are the masters of our kitchen. So be it, until there are no ingredients, but dinner. Amen.

#51 dcarch

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Posted 10 September 2013 - 04:41 AM

I have said you don't need expensive equipment, a lot of space or a lot of time to take very good food photos, but there are some easy things you can do to go beyond just "very good".

 

You have noticed that professionals use lens shade for their cameras, that is because even multi-coated lenses have internal reflections which can cause lost of contrast and saturation of color, or lens glare.

 

You can buy your lens a lens shade or you can make one with an empty medicine bottle. Cheap and easy.

 

To determine the exact shape to cut, just mount the bottle on the lens and mark the inside of the bottle with a marker while looking thru the view finder.

 

dcarch

 

 

shade5.jpg

 

shade2.jpg

 

shade.jpg



#52 dcarch

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Posted 16 September 2013 - 06:19 PM

Don't underestimate your little cell phone camera. It can do interesting things.

 

Scotch tape a magnifying glass in front of the lens, and you can take amazing macro shots.

 

dcarch

 

Grains of wild rice, on white rice

wildricea2.jpg

 

White and black seasme seeds

Cellphone3.jpg

 

One grain of brown rice

Cellphone.jpg

 

A seed on a strawberry

Cellphone2.jpg


Edited by dcarch, 16 September 2013 - 06:20 PM.

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#53 lesliec

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Posted 16 September 2013 - 06:39 PM

I'm not generally one to use fashionable, social media-type TLAs, but darch - OMG!  Those shots are amazing.  Can you provide a little more detail?  Is the magnifying glass hard against the phone/camera lens, or do you need to build in some space?

 

Sony has recently announced a new phone in their Xperia line (Z1, I think it's called) which, along with a staggering number of megapixels, seems to have a reasonably decent lens anyway PLUS the ability to attach external Zeiss lenses.  That might be worth looking out for.  I think I read the external lenses will fit on other phones as well.

 

 

Edited to add bit about other phones.


Edited by lesliec, 16 September 2013 - 07:00 PM.

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#54 Dakki

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Posted 16 September 2013 - 06:52 PM

dcarch, your photos are stunning as always. I would never have guessed they weren't done without some highly specialized and expensive gear.


This is my skillet. There are many like it, but this one is mine. My skillet is my best friend. It is my life. I must master it, as I must master my life. Without me my skillet is useless. Without my skillet, I am useless. I must season my skillet well. I will. Before God I swear this creed. My skillet and myself are the makers of my meal. We are the masters of our kitchen. So be it, until there are no ingredients, but dinner. Amen.

#55 pastameshugana

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Posted 16 September 2013 - 10:14 PM

That's fascinating, dcarch. I love the process of creating and modifying tools. I'm currently in the process of building an arduino controlled dolly slider for my video rig.
PastaMeshugana
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"What's hunger got to do with anything?" - My Father
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#56 Keith_W

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Posted 17 September 2013 - 04:01 AM

Amazing shots, dcarch!!!
 

OMG!  Those shots are amazing.  Can you provide a little more detail?

More detail? He needs to figure out a way to duct tape a microscope to his phone cam :)
There is no love more sincere than the love of food - George Bernard Shaw

#57 dcarch

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Posted 17 September 2013 - 05:00 AM

-------------- but darch - OMG!  Those shots are amazing.  Can you provide a little more detail?  Is the magnifying glass hard against the phone/camera lens, or do you need to build in some space?

 

---------------------

 

There is no way to attach external lens on most cell phone cameras, Scotch tape, or duct tape, is the only way. Not very elegant, but -------.

 

Only thing with having fun doing this is to keep very steady, any vibration will mess up the photo.

 

dcarch



#58 dcarch

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Posted 17 September 2013 - 05:13 AM

That's fascinating, dcarch. I love the process of creating and modifying tools. I'm currently in the process of building an arduino controlled dolly slider for my video rig.

 

Something like that is used in many commercial TV studios, robotic cameras.

 

dcarch



#59 teonzo

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Posted 18 September 2013 - 02:19 PM

for book titles, I'm currently reading Food Photography and Lightning, so far I like it quite a bit. Author is a pro and has one of the largest food photography studios (that I want to move into). Geared towards pro work for advertising etc.

Others I like are:
Plate to Pixel
Digital Food Photography
Food Photography, from snapshot to great shots (I think)

 

 

Thanks! Which one would you suggest to a total newbie?

 

 

 

Teo


My new blog: http://www.teonzo.com/

#60 pastameshugana

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Posted 19 September 2013 - 08:30 AM

Teo,

Tony Northrup has a book on kindle/iPad/print that is good. Not food related but gives a good general understanding of principles and equipment. I think it's called stunning digital photography but you can search by his name.
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PastaMeshugana
"The roar of the greasepaint, the smell of the crowd."
"What's hunger got to do with anything?" - My Father
My eG Food Blog (2011)