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The Food Photography Topic


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#61 foodphotography.in

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Posted 29 September 2013 - 06:43 AM

My vote goes to: "Teri Campbell" [has] a brilliant book on food photography. Teri is a great food photographer and more importantly a wonderful chap too.

 

Food Photography & Lighting: A Commercial Photographer's Guide to Creating Irresistible Images

The book describes both his journey and the process of various food shoots. His lighting style is super simple and is a snap to re-create. As a food photographer for 15 years myself I thoroughly enjoyed the book and am quite sure even newbies will not have trouble with it.

The Kindle version when viewed on an iPad or Fire is brilliant, but go for the printed version if you prefer that.


Edited by foodphotography.in, 29 September 2013 - 06:44 AM.

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#62 dcarch

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Posted 30 September 2013 - 06:35 PM

I have said that there are simple things you can do which doesn't entail a great deal of time and money to give you more options to achieve disirable photo effects.

 

One of the annoying thing with picture taking is unwanted reflections. You can buy a polarizing filter for your lens and significantly eliminate them. The filter is not expensive from $5.00 to $20. just find one that fits your lens screw mount.

 

The following side-by-side photos show  identical lighting, exposure, and angle of shot for the pictures. By changing the rotation of the filter, you can cut out a significant amount of unwanted reflections. This can give you better saturation of colors and sharper definition of you subject.

 

dcarch

 

reflection2_zps7aa8427e.jpg

reflection_zps1f1668c7.jpg

 

reflection6_zps05937c11.jpg

reflection5_zps529c2b51.jpg

 

reflection4_zps2d2bb8ed.jpg

reflection3_zps07c0ce0c.jpg



#63 Keith_W

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Posted 01 October 2013 - 01:00 AM

I should add, polarizing filters come in two types. Linear polarizers and circular polarizers. Linear polarizers should probably not be used with modern cameras because it interferes with autofocus. No problem using it if you don't mind manual focus, or if you pre-focus the shot before you mount the polarizer. Circular polarizers do not interfere with AF, but are expensive :(
There is no love more sincere than the love of food - George Bernard Shaw

#64 Baselerd

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Posted 01 October 2013 - 07:40 AM

Unless you're using a lens that does not rotate during autofocus, such as most ultrasonic / piezo motor driven lenses.



#65 dcarch

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Posted 01 October 2013 - 07:59 AM

All good points regarding polarizing lens.

 

With photography as I said, you can spend a fortune and spend a life time and still have lots to learn.

 

OTOH, for those of you who suffer from Phood-photo-phobia, there are also the cheap, the simple and the quick to have something very decent. That's basically all I do with all my food photos that I have posted here on this forum.

 

Autofocus for digital cameras uses different techniques, and can have different effects if you use a polarizing filter. 

 

The pictures above, I used "The cheap" I actually used my $4.00 (Linear) drug store polarizer sunglasses, duct taped to my Nikon Coolpix 8400, set to autofocus.

 

In any case, if you have problems, food pictures look better set to manual anyway, to give you more interesting depth of field control.

 

dcarch



#66 OliverB

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Posted 01 October 2013 - 10:48 AM

can't really recommend a book w/o knowing what one wants to do and knows already. The ones I mentioned are all good IMO, some more geared to the pro or aspiring pro food photog, others more general. See if you can get them at a library, some might have the "look inside" option on Amazon. My first check with any photography book is, do I like the photos? Surprisingly, that's often not the case, there are books (not on food photog) that are filled with what I'd delete and reshoot.

With food, there are the more basic ones showing you how to set things up, use window light and maybe a reflector etc, and there are those that teach you how to prep the food, the dishes, supports, etc. Use mashed potatoes instead of ice cream, spray this or that art supply on glasses to make them look cold and fogged up, hairspray or what have you on the food, making it inedible, but so much prettier (kind of like working with a model and MUA). I love food and I love photography. The books I listed all have something in them that's of value to me, but it's very subjective.

Look at them in the store (my Barnes and Noble always has at least two or three of these) or get them from a library.

I find it hard to recommend any photography book w/o knowing the person asking. Some books start at the basics (not quite "this is a camera", but somewhere about there) and others jump right into what ever topic they are about. Some spend a lot of time on lights, reflectors, accessories, others are more bare bones available light etc.  Professional food photography can be very involved, needing assistants, stylists, maybe even the chef/cook on hand (add sauce just before shooting as it spreads, salad wilts, etc).

One book I looked at recently had not one single photo I liked in it, but it gets great reviews on Amazon.


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#67 teonzo

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Posted 01 October 2013 - 11:32 AM

You are right, I should have explained better my situation, my apologies. I'm a professional pastry cook (don't like being called chef even if my position should be that). I'm not working in this period, I'm making some experiments at home and putting them in my blog (linked below in the sign). I'm from Italy, so I can't find those books in libraries or stores.

About my photography experience, it's almost zero: I have a compact camera (Panasonic DMC-TZ6), I barely know how to turn it on and click to make a photo.

I'm not looking to become able to make high quality photos, it would take too much efforts than I'm willing to do. But I'd like to be able to make some decent photos, to understand how to get decent lightings, what "depth of field", "ISO" and so on mean (and how to set them). A bit of the basics to be able to correct my settings, knowing what I should do and how things would change.

I'm not looking for suggestions on how to plate beautiful but fake food (like some examples you made). I just would like to plate the dessert (the real deal, it's going to be eaten afterwards) and be able to take some decent photos without clicking randomly like now and wondering what the hell I should have to do to get a decent result.

Thanks.

 

 

 

Teo


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

#68 dcarch

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Posted 01 October 2013 - 11:38 AM

Teo,

 

There is a thread some place in this forum you can post pictures and ask the members to give you suggestions for improvement.

 

I am at work now, perhaps someone here can tell you where that thread is and you can start there.

 

dcarch



#69 heidih

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Posted 01 October 2013 - 01:48 PM

This is the current food photography topic. The prior topic can be found here.  



#70 Baselerd

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Posted 01 October 2013 - 02:51 PM

Teo - just a few quick points:

 

As you increase exposure time, you get a brighter image (more light hits the camera sensor), but the image will become blurry if the camera or subject move. Often times you can get away with using longer exposure times in food photography with use of a tripod.

 

As you increase aperture size (lower the f-number, also called the aperture stop), the image becomes brighter (more light hits the camera sensor), but depth of field is reduced. Each stop setting generally reduces the amount of light in the final image by half.

 

Increasing sensor gain (ISO setting, referring to film days where film sensitivity to light was sold according to International Standards Organization standards) will increase the exposure of your image, but will increase the noise in the image. Usually you want to keep this as low as possible to reduce the noise in the image, but this may not always be practical. 

 

Depth-of-field refers to the amount of space that appears sharp or in focus. This is related primarily to the aperture (f-number). As you increase the f-number (decrease the aperture size), the depth of field becomes deeper, allowing you to keep more of your subject in focus. Similarly, lowering the f-number allows you use the shallower depth of field to dramatic effect sometimes.

 

An important concept to think about is the camera sensor, which is made up of a 2-dimensional grid of light sensors. These sensors (pixels in the final image) can only produce meaningful measurements if the amount of light that hits it during an exposure is within its dynamic range (which can be altered with your ISO control). The whole goal of all of these settings (mainly exposure time and aperture) is to get most of the image details within that range so you can show contrast between the desired parts of the image. I'm sure you've seen overexposed photos before, which indicates so much light hit each of the pixels that they can no longer resolve any contrast between pixels. 


Edited by Baselerd, 01 October 2013 - 02:54 PM.

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#71 dcarch

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Posted 01 October 2013 - 03:08 PM

 

Depth-of-field refers to the amount of space that appears sharp or in focus. This is related primarily to the aperture (f-number). As you increase the f-number (decrease the aperture size), the depth of field becomes deeper, allowing you to keep more of your subject in focus. Similarly, lowering the f-number allows you use the shallower depth of field to dramatic effect sometimes.

 

 

Also, an easy way to understand this is, when you focus your eyes on something close to you, the objects in the distance become out of focus, and vice versa.

 

But if you look thru a pin hole, then everything close and far will be in focus.

 

dcarch


Edited by dcarch, 01 October 2013 - 03:16 PM.


#72 OliverB

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Posted 01 October 2013 - 03:22 PM

thanks for the clarification, did not know you're in italy. I'd suggest to google and youtube "food photography" and if your local sites don't turn up good results go to the .com version instead of .it. Most websites should show up fine for you in Italy, some youtube content might be restricted geographically, you'll just have to try. I just did the above and found several interesting looking sites and videos.

 

I don't know your camera, I'd suggest to get a tripod (can even be a table top one or something cheap) and then set up one piece of your food and try different things. Set up close to a window that does not have full sun.

Get something white, a box, a sheet, etc to use as a reflector on the non window side of your food, move it around, remove it, take photos. You should quickly see the difference that makes.

Get a large sheet of white strong paper (what they might sell to make posters etc) or a cheap poster of something and use the white backside.

Moving your table and the reflector around should quickly show you how the light changes. Maybe also use color backgrounds or surfaces, colors that complement your dish.

If you don't have a window or can only work when it's dark already (it's dark by 8pm here in California) then get a table lamp of some sort and try to find a daylight balanced bulb or better florescent bulb (they don't get that hot usually) and use that. If you're careful, you can maybe somehow tape some white paper or baking paper over it (don't set your house on fire!) to diffuse the light and make it softer.

Try different angles, from straight above to very low on the table. Focus on the "hero" part of your creation. Some of the other terms have been explained above.

Maybe also get a basic photography book if you're just starting out.

I also found a book called fotografia de alimentos de alta calidad on amazon.it, maybe that's something worth looking at? I don't speak much italian, can't tell from the description.

Also Wolfgang Petersen's book "Understaning Exposure" is available from amazon.it - a very good book. Also available for tablets/kindle on amazon.com

I hope that helps!

Have fun, play around. Use a black background (I sometimes just use a t-shirt) and also maybe use accessories, for example break a piece off a cup cake with a fork and have that and the fork in the photo, to show the inside texture of your creation.

 

 

ETA: just looked at your site, your food looks great! Do you have software to edit your photos? I use Adobe Lightroom, there are others. Your photos could maybe use some color correction and saturation increases (can't tell, since I did not see the original food), might be worth looking into using Lightroom or photoshop elements, neither are very expensive.


Edited by OliverB, 01 October 2013 - 03:25 PM.

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#73 quiet1

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Posted 01 October 2013 - 07:23 PM

You don't even need a proper tripod to start experimenting. You just need the camera to sit nice and stable where you put it. I've occasionally used a sandbag for a 'tripod' when I needed to get really low with the camera and I had one handy - a bag of rice or dried beans might work similarly. (Something where you can nestle the camera in a touch so it's more held than just perching on top. Although I've used fence posts as a makeshift tripod in the past also, so you really can make do with what you have.)

 

Don't get me wrong - a tripod is super helpful because of how stable it is and how easy it is to make adjustments and know that the camera is being held securely, but if you just want to experiment a bit without going out and buying anything new to start with, you can manage well enough with stuff you have around to decide if a tripod is going to be worth it for you or not.



#74 teonzo

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Posted 04 October 2013 - 12:09 PM

Baselerd: thanks for explaining some of the basics!

 

Oliver: thanks for appreciating the desserts I make. And thanks for the suggestions about the white sheets and so on. I'll look for a fluorescent bulb, since during winter natural light will be scarce. Maybe the best option should be buying a basic set-up with 2 lights with umbrellas (don't know how they are called in English), Amazon IT sells a set for about 100 euro. But I suppose the priority should be buying a reflex camera. I already have a cheap tripod.

I bought this book:

Food Photography: From Snapshots to Great Shots

it seems a good starting point for a noob like me, worst case I wasted 15 euro.

 

My main problem while taking photos is with plated desserts, especially the ones with ice-creams. The ideal thing would be setting up the plate, the camera and everything, so when I plate the ice-cream I just need to take few quick photos and done. But I need to get skilled about lights and so on. First time I tried to take a photo of a dessert with a one-spoon quenelle all the photos were crap (as I said, I just click random hoping to get something decent), I had to plate it three times before getting a decent photo. Now I freeze the ice-cream, so I have more time to take photos. But it's a problem, since one-spoon quenelles don't keep the shape well while freezing (they tend to sit on the spoon and flatten a bit). Plus you see the frost on the surface, while a good one-spoon quenelle should be polished and "shiny".

Here is an example:

http://www.teonzo.co...na_peperone.jpg

(another sign of my ignorance, I just don't know how the plate has blue shades, since it's perfectly white and there weren't blue things in the room)

 

Thanks for the suggestions about editing programs, now I'm using Gimp, but I can use just the basic options.

 

 

 

Teo


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

#75 Baselerd

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Posted 04 October 2013 - 01:05 PM

You have the idea right. If I'm taking pictures of what I'm cooking, I get the camera set up before I plate the food. If you're unsure of your photography skills, try even a few test shots on a non-food subject in the exact configuration you plan on taking the photos in. Once you get it right, plate the food and take the photos. The more photos you take, the higher chance you'll get one that works for you. 

 

As far as your lighting goes - are you shooting in automatic mode? What camera do you have? I would strongly recommend against using an on-camera flash without using some sort of reflector or diffuser. If you are taking your photos during the day, near a bright window would be a great spot to take photos. If you don't have access to natural lighting, get a flash unit (if your camera supports one). 

 

As far as the blue plate goes, this indicates your white balance is off. Most cameras have a white balance program feature (access it in your camera settings), which you generally use by photographing a plain white subject (a sheet of white paper) under your lighting conditions. The camera can then calibrate itself to the correct white balance. You can also correct the lighting in post-processing using photoshop, lightroom, gimp, etc.



#76 OliverB

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Posted 04 October 2013 - 03:34 PM

yes, the blue is most likely white balance (though you'd be surprised what a blue shirt or cook book cover etc can do) and is relatively easy to fix, depending on camera and software you use. Most of the time at least. What Baselerd said, take a picture of something white and find the white balance adjustment in your camera, adjust accordingly. I guess your camera only takes jpg images, if it can shoot RAW you can adjust the white balance later on the computer (easy, but an other topic).

As for your ice cream and other melting/flowing things, that's where you can use a stand in. Very often mashed potatoes are used for ice cream for example. Food coloring and a bit less liquid to keep it a bit 'crumbly' , for your purpose a mix with a similar color would be fine. Or just a ping pong ball or anything else that looks somewhat similar in shape and color. Once everything is set up (and you'll get fast with practice you'll know what to do and can maybe even skip that) you bring out the real dish, plate and photograph. I'd suggest making notes, printing the image you like on just a piece of paper and putting the notes with it, keep that in a binder or do it all on the computer. If you use lights, make a sketch of where they are to step back and take a photo of the setup. Also note where the window was, distances etc.) Little reflectors are easy to make yourself out of white board and you can use black board to reduce light (kind of an anti reflector). Maybe just set something up one day and play with these options, not changing the food, only the light, reflectors, camera position, etc.

If you really get into it you can get a DSLR, no need for anything super expensive and fancy. At least not for a while. And you're not looking into making posters or billboards. Or upgrade your pocket camera to something with more settings and options/controls.

The book you picked is pretty good, shows the basics, shows tricks, and touches on processing as well.

Once I visit Italy again I'll come by to taste some of those pretty things you make! :-D


Edited by OliverB, 04 October 2013 - 03:41 PM.

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#77 quiet1

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Posted 05 October 2013 - 02:16 AM

You can use flashlights and other home lighting in a lot of situations if you don't have a flash but need extra light on your subject, too. Just if you're using a flashlight try to figure out a way to rest it on something or clamp it to something - just so you don't have to juggle holding it just so and taking the picture at the same time.

 

One thing about white balance - if you're going to actually do a white balance test shot, make sure that your white sheet of paper/card/whatever is catching the same light source(s) that you expect your subjects to catch. That means you're best to put it basically where you'd be putting your subject, and then adjust camera position/framing accordingly so that it fills the frame, rather than moving the white thing closer to the camera. (We always had at least one kid who'd forget about this in film class, and you could tell that he'd white balanced with the card too close so it was only catching one kind of light because then as soon as you mix light sources (like sunlight and indoor fluorescents) the color would be all off unintentionally.



#78 dcarch

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Posted 05 October 2013 - 04:53 AM

Very good suggestions everyone. Just a few minor thoughts:

 

 

"---As for your ice cream and other melting/flowing things, that's where you can use a stand in. -----"

 

If you are planning to photograph ice cream, set up everything first, lights, tripod, etc. Most important, have thick  plate in the freezer long enough first to be freezing cold. It will keep your ice cream from melting for a long time.

 

"------You can use flashlights  ---"

 

Some LED flash lights may not work well. They do not produce good white color (LEDs cannot produce white color), furthermore, LEDs flicker and can be a problem for short exposures.

 

"--One thing about white balance--"

 

Our eyes do not see some whites the same way as the camera.

 

dcarch


Edited by dcarch, 05 October 2013 - 04:56 AM.


#79 quiet1

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Posted 06 October 2013 - 01:50 AM

Very good suggestions everyone. Just a few minor thoughts:

 

 

"---As for your ice cream and other melting/flowing things, that's where you can use a stand in. -----"

 

If you are planning to photograph ice cream, set up everything first, lights, tripod, etc. Most important, have thick  plate in the freezer long enough first to be freezing cold. It will keep your ice cream from melting for a long time.

 

"------You can use flashlights  ---"

 

Some LED flash lights may not work well. They do not produce good white color (LEDs cannot produce white color), furthermore, LEDs flicker and can be a problem for short exposures.

 

"--One thing about white balance--"

 

Our eyes do not see some whites the same way as the camera.

 

Right, best to do some experimental shots with the lighting you're hoping to use, particularly before trying to get a shot of something time-sensitive like ice cream. My point was just that often you can find things that will work that you already have, so you don't immediately need to run out and spend money on a flash unit or some other piece of specialty kit. I think people can get discouraged when they're just starting out with something new and they feel like they have to have all the bits and pieces before they can get started. Specialty stuff obviously has a place, but you can do a lot without it, and your experiments without will often help inform your decisions on what you actually do need to get next.

 

Very good point about the way our eyes see whites. Our brain compensates pretty effectively, so it can be a big surprise to take a photo or shoot some film in lighting that you think looks good and then you actually look at the photo or footage and it looks completely different. This is why it comes back to experimenting again - with digital cameras it's so much easier to take tons of photos to try out various options and settings since you don't have to worry about the cost of film or developing. Anyone wanting to improve their photography skills, even just for a specific purpose like food photography, should take advantage of that.



#80 pastameshugana

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Posted 10 October 2013 - 04:34 PM

...with digital cameras it's so much easier to take tons of photos to try out various options and settings since you don't have to worry about the cost of film or developing. Anyone wanting to improve their photography skills, even just for a specific purpose like food photography, should take advantage of that.

 

 

+1

 

Usually when I'm taking pictures of anything (just yesterday my 3yo outside who insisted I 'go take pictures' of her!), I'll take many, many pictures. It allows me lots of experimentation, more chances of getting a good shot, and it's a piece of cake to delete the excess later.


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#81 teonzo

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Posted 12 October 2013 - 11:11 AM

As for your ice cream and other melting/flowing things, that's where you can use a stand in. Very often mashed potatoes are used for ice cream for example. Food coloring and a bit less liquid to keep it a bit 'crumbly' , for your purpose a mix with a similar color would be fine. Or just a ping pong ball or anything else that looks somewhat similar in shape and color. Once everything is set up (and you'll get fast with practice you'll know what to do and can maybe even skip that) you bring out the real dish, plate and photograph

 

 

 

To be honest (and coming back to the opening post) my goal would be being able to make a realistic photo of the real dessert. I don't like any kind of faked stuff, I prefer to get a lower quality photo but depicting the real thing. Especially because I'm making these experiments while I'm at home, so I'm going to eat it after making the photo. I would like to be able to get a good shot after the first plating, without doing another one (as much as I like my desserts, I'm not happy to eat 2 of the same in a row). Plating a faked dessert would also lead to wasting some food, I try to avoid it as much as possible.

 

 

 

 

Once I visit Italy again I'll come by to taste some of those pretty things you make! :-D

 

 

You (plural meaning whoever is reading, not only you Oliver) are welcome! I live near Venice, if you come to visit Venice then feel free to drop me a pm to organize something.

 

Thanks to all the other users that explained the white balance and other details, much appreciated!

 

I received the book for noobs and started reading it. It's quite clear and I'm starting to understand how a digital camera works. I've bought a CFL bulb but I think I need a more powerful one (I bought a 15W one), so I'll go back to the store and ask for the most powerful one they have. I've also "built" a couple of reflectors using some cardboard and some kitchen aluminum foil (I suppose it reflects better than white paper). Next week I'll make a boatload of photos to get some experience and confidence, I'll try to use all the settings of my camera and see how the results change, so I'll get an idea of how they work and which are the best for my case.

 

 

 

Teo


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

#82 dcarch

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Posted 12 October 2013 - 11:32 AM

"-----I've bought a CFL bulb but I think I need a more powerful one (I bought a 15W one), ----"

 

That is not good enough. Get 50W to a lot more (Daylight balanced CFL). Stores do not have a very good selection. Go to eBay or Amazon. BTW, I am sure you realize, you need actual power wattage, not 50W equivalent bulbs.

 

Reflectors: Try looking into reflectors that you can fold to very small package and springs to full size. I don't know if there is a technical name for it. Also silver reflector umbrellas. Which also take very little room to store and quick to deploy.

 

BTW, fake ice cream is important for photo studios which use many thousand watt incandescent focused lights hot enough to BBQ. Not necessary for CFL bulbs.

 

dcarch



#83 teonzo

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Posted 20 October 2013 - 04:28 PM

That is not good enough. Get 50W to a lot more (Daylight balanced CFL). Stores do not have a very good selection. Go to eBay or Amazon.

 

 

I've ordered a LED globe (cool white, 5500-6000K) from an Amazon.it marketplace seller (costed 15 euro including shipping), hopefully I'll receive it in the next days.

 

 

 

 

Reflectors: Try looking into reflectors that you can fold to very small package and springs to full size. I don't know if there is a technical name for it. Also silver reflector umbrellas. Which also take very little room to store and quick to deploy.
 

 

 

Now I'm using just two pieces of cardboard with some aluminum foil taped over it, I'm keeping the cheap route to see what I'm able to learn and what results I'll get. While surfing on Amazon I've seen a set composed of 2 umbrellas (each one with a CFL bulb) and a big reflector screen (about 7 x 5 feet), it costs 120 euro. Maybe I'll consider it if I'll see I'm able to get quality pictures.

 

BTW, here is my last photo:

http://www.teonzo.co...e_favetonka.jpg

I made it this way:

- sunny day (one of the last until next spring I suppose), about 1 pm, table placed under a window facing South with a white curtain to diffuse the direct sunlight;

- placed a big sheet of white paper over the table, then set the white balance on the camera (luckily my cheap camera has this option);

- placed the pie on the paper (with something underneath to not be in direct contact, of course);

- placed the 2 homemade reflectors (if I consider South as 90° then I put them at 30° and 120°);

- put the tripod in place, set the camera at ISO 80, shutter speed 1/60, self-timer at 2 seconds (to avoid shatterings after clicking the button).

The only manipulation of the photo was resizing and saving it as jpg, I didn't change/touch anything else.

I'm quite happy with the result, now I need to find out if it was a lucky shot or if I'm really starting to learn.

 

If you wonder what the pie is, from bottom to top it's made of:

- Tonka bean flavoured shortcrust;

- sweet potato "jam" (don't know how to translate it in English);

- almond crumble.

 

 

 

Teo


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

#84 dcarch

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Posted 04 November 2013 - 05:32 AM

A quick tip:

 

If you photograph your food with very dark or black background, it will cost you a fortune in using up ink when you print your photos.

 

dcarch



#85 pastameshugana

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Posted 04 November 2013 - 06:01 AM

BTW, here is my last photo:

http://www.teonzo.co...e_favetonka.jpg

 

Great picture! Keep it up, you're on the right track.


PastaMeshugana
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"What's hunger got to do with anything?" - My Father
My eG Food Blog (2011)

#86 gfweb

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Posted 19 November 2013 - 10:31 AM

Martha Stewart is taking some pretty gross food pix and tweeting them.  Comically bad photos.

 

 

http://www.buzzfeed....-tweets-are-dis


Edited by gfweb, 19 November 2013 - 10:33 AM.


#87 tino27

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Posted 06 February 2014 - 03:06 PM

 

BTW, here is my last photo:

http://www.teonzo.co...e_favetonka.jpg

 

Great picture! Keep it up, you're on the right track.

 

 

I've read this entire thread with great interest. I, too, was a cellphone food picture taker for many, many years. It was because of several notoriously dark restaurants that I decided to "upgrade" to a Canon G12 point and shoot camera (which was an expensive upgrade at the time because it was brand new to the market) figuring that a more expensive camera would certainly produce better pictures. When I returned to said dark restaurant for round #2, I was disappointed to find out that all cameras, from your cellphone to a very expensive DSLR take crappy to mediocre pictures in challenging light. I also learned that regardless of how many features are built into the camera, good to great pictures are a result of the photographer taking a picture, evaluating the outcome, and adjusting the camera's setting to make the next picture more in-line with the vision you have in your mind. Taking the camera out of automatic is usually a very first good step.

 

Teonzo, your image has a lot going for it. You obviously understand the use of soft, diffused light and filling in shadow spots with reflectors. It's also nicely in focus. I'm assuming that the crostada has been dusted with powdered sugar ... which should be white. My only real criticism is that the image is underexposed. In this particular case (not knowing exactly what shooting mode your camera was in), try increasing the shutter speed from 1/60 of a second to 1/30 of a second. That would give you one stop more exposure and make the image brighter. This is the subjective part of photography. If 1/30th does get you where you want to be, try 1/15 of a second. I also checked out your website and noticed that several of your images there also suffer from the same issue.

 

It took me a LOOOOONG time to figure out what a properly exposed picture should look like. For the first six months, everything was way underexposed (whites appeared gray). Then I spent six months making everything hi key (white plates would disappear onto white backgrounds). I finally learned how to expose just by practicing and critiquing my own work and looking at the work of others.

 

Think of it this way ... when you are looking at the food, what should be white and what should be dark (or black)? Adjust the camera settings so that the same things are white and black in the final picture.

 

I know you are looking to keep things on the cheap, but if you ever find yourself with an extra US $100 laying about, check out the X-Rite Color Checker Passport (http://xritephoto.co...ew.aspx?id=1257). It contains a 24 patch color target (including white and black) that is awesome for setting proper exposure and a white balance card you can use to neutralize any color shifts in the lighting you are using. I find it invaluable in creating my images. It especially speeds up the process because you get all of the technical settings out of the way at the start and then all you need to do is just shoot the food.

 

Good luck!


Food Blog: Exploring Food My Way: Satisfying The Craving -- Exercising my epicurean muscles by eating my way through everything that is edible.
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Twitter: @tnoe27

#88 Blether

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Posted 06 February 2014 - 05:06 PM

As for books, there are also good resources online.  I'm sad to find Edwin Leong's Camera Hobby isn't around any more, but Philip Greenspun, founder of photo.net, has some good articles here and photo.net's learning section is here.


Edited by Blether, 06 February 2014 - 05:11 PM.