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Food Shutter Bug Club (Part 2)


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#1 Holly Moore

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Posted 11 June 2011 - 11:54 AM

[Moderator note: The original Food Shutter Bug Club topic became too large for our servers to handle efficiently, so we've divided it up; the preceding part of this discussion is here: Food Shutter Bug Club (Part 1)]

 

 

 

 

Got a question about framing/cropping food on a plate - how tight to go? I waiver between showing most or all of the plate or cropping in on the food. Three crops of the same pic - and maybe none are the best approach.

1 - Plate with the background.

Churchill-Full.jpg

2 - Tight on plate - framing right on the edge of the plate and below on the plate shadow.

Churchill-Mid.jpg

3 - Cropping all the way to the food, omitting most of the plate.

Churchill-Tite.jpg

Cropping to the food, emphasizes the food but can take it out of context. Curious how others approach cropping plated dishes.

Pic is of the Churchill Burger at Pub and Kitchen in Philadelphia.


Edited by Mjx, 27 July 2014 - 03:01 AM.
Host note added.

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#2 dcarch

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Posted 11 June 2011 - 12:49 PM

IMHO:

1. The profile (top) of the burger is obscured by the French fries.

2. There should be more French fries showing.

3. The way all the other objects are arranged do not add any drama to the picture, might as well eliminate them.

4. The table top wood design/pattern can be played up a little.

dcarch

Posted Image

#3 Holly Moore

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Posted 11 June 2011 - 01:18 PM

Thanks, dcarch, Are you saying you prefer the middle cropping, but with the changes you made? I often find cropping a plated dish difficult - whether to lose the overall feel to focus on the food.
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#4 Panaderia Canadiense

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Posted 11 June 2011 - 01:21 PM

Here's a crack at it from me. These are Ecuador's "sweet" spices.

Posted Image
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#5 Genkinaonna

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Posted 11 June 2011 - 03:48 PM

Panaderia-That is such a cool picture! Kudos!
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#6 nickrey

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Posted 11 June 2011 - 05:33 PM

Holly, I'm with dcarch on his suggestions: the plate probably needed to be rotated about 45 degrees clockwise to bring more of the fries into the shot. It would have balanced the picture more. Also where I've seen backgrounds used effectively is to give a sense of place to the food. In this case, it doesn't really so I'd go for a tighter crop with the turned plate and with the fries more in alignment with the grain of the table.

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#7 Blether

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Posted 12 June 2011 - 05:18 AM

Here's a crack at it from me. These are Ecuador's "sweet" spices...


That's a cracker.

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#8 Panaderia Canadiense

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Posted 12 June 2011 - 07:43 AM

What really gets me is that I know that the top right and bottom left spices come from the same tree.... Thanks, folks, for the boost!
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#9 dcarch

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Posted 12 June 2011 - 08:40 AM

Holly, I'm with dcarch on his suggestions: the plate probably needed to be rotated about 45 degrees clockwise to bring more of the fries into the shot. ---------


I can be very interesting rotating the same picture 45 degrees.

In this picture (which is very artistic chromatically and texturally), by rotating it 45 degrees, somehow all the ingredients becomes equaly important to the eyes.

dcarch


Before
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After
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#10 Panaderia Canadiense

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Posted 12 June 2011 - 08:46 AM

Huh. I'll be darned - it reduces the visual importance of the Canela bark, and brings the Ishpingos into balance with the Star Anise. I shall definitely use it diagonally on the website it was taken for..... Thanks, dcarch!

EDIT - for those who are curious, the original photo from top left contains: Star Anise, Whole Allspices, Ishpingo, Canela Bark, Anise, and Cloves.

Edited by Panaderia Canadiense, 12 June 2011 - 08:48 AM.

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#11 SobaAddict70

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Posted 12 June 2011 - 08:48 AM

Panaderia-That is such a cool picture! Kudos!



I agree.

Moopheus, that's actually a great shot. Black and white pix are harder to carry off than you might think, imho.

Here's one I took within the last two weeks that came out well, despite the busy-ness of the photo.

144.JPG
Smoked bacon and wild mushrooms, with sautéed spinach

#12 ChefCrash

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Posted 12 June 2011 - 10:20 AM

Hi Holly, nice looking burger. I agree with all the responses above and want to add that you should experiment with tilting your camera in either direction (off horizon). A horizontal plate leaves a lot of empty space.
It can be done in post:

post-14-0-54931300-1307818072.jpg

#13 Toliver

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Posted 13 June 2011 - 11:58 AM

2. There should be more French fries showing.
Posted Image

I agree with this french fries comment along with the comment in another post about the rotating of the plate to achieve this.
I'd love to take the top bun off the burger to better see what's under there but I'm inquisitive that way. The lighting is quite good, too.
If your goal is to show what you're eating, the tight shot is more appropriate. If you are also commenting on the restaurant itself, then perhaps the mid-range shot would be better to show off the table decor/setting.

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#14 dcarch

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Posted 13 June 2011 - 02:04 PM

Prawncrackers, those are excellent photos and plating. Since aesthetics is subjective, I would have done things slightly differently, but that does not mean what I have done is better than yours.

dcarch


Posted Image

Changed the perspective to remove edges of sink to have less distraction. Made crabs a tiny bit lighter so they can standout more.

Posted Image
-----------------------------------------------

Posted Image

Corrected color, made roes more translucent, made crab meat show up better, added more green sprinkles.

Posted Image
---------------------------------------------

Posted Image

Rotated picture 2 degrees clockwise. Took out bread in the back because it is unindentifiable, Made roes more translucent. Made greens fresher, and remove some brown at upper left hand corner. Also, made crab meat show up better.

Posted Image

Edited by dcarch, 13 June 2011 - 02:37 PM.


#15 Holly Moore

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Posted 13 June 2011 - 02:19 PM

Thanks for all the suggestions. Really like the idea of tilting the camera, or rotating and cropping to achieve the same effect.

As to the fries showing - normally I would, but this was a special situation. Pub and Kitchen had just introduced their Churchill Burger - it was the first in Philadelphia to use La Frieda ground beef. I wanted to just show the burger and hide the fries. As I recall I ended up using a picture where the burger and bun were split open.

I just grabbed this pic because it was an easy one to crop to varying degrees.
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#16 SobaAddict70

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Posted 13 June 2011 - 02:37 PM

May I submit these to the panel - A study in Brown Crab...

I took the first photo off the cuff really, just before scrubbing these two hen crabs clean and dispatching them with a skewer. They were all tensed up and looked like they knew what was coming. Anyway I took one shot, light wasn't great and they were still moving a little, hence the shot was a little soft:


I don't usually do much post-processing, maybe just the odd brightening here and there but I thought this shot looked interesting. So I decided to apply some sharpening and up the contrast. It really surprised me how it made these creatures pop out of the picture. Especially the hairs on the legs, you really get a sense of the texture of the shell, don't you think?


These crabs were destined for linguine, but that's one thing I find tricky to get right on the plate/in the bowl. I made this dish twice in the past week and just can't decide which is the more appetising presentation and gave the better shot. The first dish had the linguine wrapped around a carving fork and placed carefully in a cheffy way into the bowl. This one was taken with flash bounced off the ceiling:


The second was taken with natural light and here the pasta was just dumped into the bowl for a more natural look:


So what do you think? I can't decide which shot I prefer, I'm not really that happy with either. Will a smaller or differently shaped bowl help perhaps, and is there anything else I can do with long pasta to get a better composed shot?



I would've been satisfied with either shot but the 2nd one is more (to my eye) aesthetically pleasing. And also more food-pr0n worthy, as if the photographer was a professional, shooting for a food magazine.

Choice of bowl is important. I recently went to BBB (Bed Bath & Beyond) and got a couple of deep pasta bowls. I eat pasta A LOT, so I'll be using them almost exclusively over my other serving bowls.

The difference is striking. There's more "white space" which in turn, puts more emphasis on the content of the photo. It also means I don't need to do too many close-ups, unless that's the effect I'm going for.

Contrast this:

Posted Image

with this:

Posted Image

to see what I mean.

With dcarch's "corrections", I prefer the pic where he or she made the roes more translucent. In that pic, the roe is the center of attention and the first thing my eye gravitates towards.

#17 nickrey

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Posted 13 June 2011 - 03:48 PM

Prawncrackers, I liked the shot where you wrapped the linguini around the fork. I just would have taken the bread out of the shot.

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#18 Holly Moore

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Posted 13 June 2011 - 03:59 PM

Thanks for all the suggestions. Really like the idea of tilting the camera, or rotating and cropping to achieve the same effect.

As to the fries showing - normally I would, but this was a special situation. Pub and Kitchen had just introduced their Churchill Burger - it was the first in Philadelphia to use La Frieda ground beef. I wanted to just show the burger and hide the fries. As I recall I ended up using a picture where the burger and bun were split open.

I just grabbed this pic because it was an easy one to crop to varying degrees.


Actually I used both on eGullet.
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#19 Blether

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Posted 13 June 2011 - 06:12 PM

... So what do you think? I can't decide which shot I prefer, I'm not really that happy with either. Will a smaller or differently shaped bowl help perhaps, and is there anything else I can do with long pasta to get a better composed shot?


Overall, I prefer the first plated pic to the second. I think the reasons are (1) the natural lighting in #2 is too harshly one-directional for the way you've posed & framed the shot, and (2) because the first pic presents the pasta and the bread, both.

As for the plating, I do like the carving fork trick, and you made a great job of getting the food into the plate without extraneous smears or drips - or you wiped well, who knows ? :smile:

I suspect the flash-from-above flattened the roe: and perhaps the depth-of-field-squeeze was a little excessive in this case, losing too much of the bread ?

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#20 Prawncrackers

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Posted 14 June 2011 - 03:09 AM

I think the bread in both shots is what I don't like about them. They're difficult visually to compliment with the long pasta. Although trust me taste wise they are probably my favourite element of the dish. As with chicken i'm a dark meat man. The problem with me is I like to get everything i'm eating into the shot but maybe with dishes like this I should have the bread on a side plate.
I like the twist of pasta too after a little more analysis, but the first dish was a smaller starter size so easier to plate neatly. Ok bigger carving fork and bigger bowl required. Thanks dcarch for correcting the colour on that one, I knew it was off but not by that much!

#21 Dakki

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Posted 15 June 2011 - 11:49 AM

I bet this is a silly question but I'll ask anyway: Do you get better results taking the photo at the camera's highest resolution, doing post at that resolution and then shrinking for uploading or by taking the photo at something close to the final size and doing post at that resolution?
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.

#22 Panaderia Canadiense

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Posted 15 June 2011 - 01:01 PM

Higest possible rez, downsampling for posting. That way the photo can be used in print media if it turns out, and you've got a lot more flexibility and whatnot while editing as well (fewer digital artifacts, etc.)
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#23 Dakki

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Posted 23 December 2011 - 03:43 PM

Thinking about upgrading my camera, from a Canon PowerShot A590IS. Needs are fundamentally vacation/party and food snaps, and size is definitely a consideration, as even the current camera is too bulky for me. (The old camera will go into semi-retirement, taking photos at the workshop for QC paperwork BS).

Currently I'm considering the Canon S95 and S100. The wider lens on the second one is pretty tempting, so I think I'll go with it unless I find the S95 at a good discount.

How does eG feel about higher-end pocket-sized cameras?
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.

#24 Keith_W

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Posted 26 December 2011 - 05:30 AM

Hi Dakki, a few years ago I would only shoot with a DSLR. These days I feel that pocket sized cameras are nearly as good. Remember: it is the photographer who takes the picture, not the camera. Every photographer has to learn to live with the limitations of themselves or their equipment. However, many think that the limitation is with the equipment, rather than themselves. If you know what you are doing, you can shoot superior pictures with the most humble P&S camera - better even than a novice with a DSLR.

I use an Olympus XZ-1, which is an enthusiast camera in a P&S body. It can go up to ISO 3200 (but in reality you wouldn't want to go above 1600), it has an F/1.8 lens, it has manual controls, and an accessory hot shoe. I don't know about the Canon S95 / S100 but as long as it has a decent lens and sensor it should be fine.

Edited by Keith_W, 26 December 2011 - 05:33 AM.

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#25 Dakki

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Posted 05 January 2012 - 02:38 PM

Ended up with the Nikon P300, if anyone cares. From what I gathered from online research, it has a smaller sensor than the competition (meaning, apparently, less control over DOF) but is better in low light situations. Also the price was pretty hard to beat in the category. We'll see how this goes.
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.

#26 SobaAddict70

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Posted 05 January 2012 - 03:07 PM

Hi Dakki, a few years ago I would only shoot with a DSLR. These days I feel that pocket sized cameras are nearly as good. Remember: it is the photographer who takes the picture, not the camera. Every photographer has to learn to live with the limitations of themselves or their equipment. However, many think that the limitation is with the equipment, rather than themselves. If you know what you are doing, you can shoot superior pictures with the most humble P&S camera - better even than a novice with a DSLR.



Fully agree.

The camera I use is a little dinky thing from five years ago, and it still turns out photos like this:

Posted Image

#27 Dakki

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Posted 05 January 2012 - 03:15 PM

Your photos are always nice, Soba. I think Prawncrackers also uses an older pocket camera, with impressive results. Those of us without the "magic touch" are cursed to take mediocre photos no matter what kind of gear we use, alas.
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.

#28 SobaAddict70

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Posted 05 January 2012 - 03:21 PM

Your photos are always nice, Soba. I think Prawncrackers also uses an older pocket camera, with impressive results. Those of us without the "magic touch" are cursed to take mediocre photos no matter what kind of gear we use, alas.



I don't believe that for a second.

Page back through my food blog (the one linked in my signature) to the very beginning and you'll see some really cringe-worthy photographs. Some which use the word that dare not speak it's name, for example. ;) (hint: 5 letter word, begins with "F" and ends with "H")

If I have a magic touch (thanks for the compliment btw), it gradually developed over time.

edit: bolded for clarity

Edited by SobaAddict70, 05 January 2012 - 03:24 PM.


#29 Prawncrackers

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Posted 05 January 2012 - 04:52 PM

Dakki I've been using a low-end Olympus DSLR for over 5 years, most of the photos I post have been with that camera. I should have read this thread earlier because I actually bought a Canon S95 a couple of months ago. It's a genuine pocket sized camera that takes quality food snaps and I'm really happy with it. Here are some photos of a recent meal at The Ledbury using the S95. It was at lunch time on a murky overcast day and as we were sitting by a window there were some issues with the white balance but as you can see the camera took some really good shots. Only a little post processing was required, up the brightness a little and I always like a little more saturation. The third shot down of the the skewered pigeon heart and wings shows the great DoF of the f2.0 lens:

Posted Image
Posted Image
Posted Image
Posted Image

#30 Dakki

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Posted 05 January 2012 - 05:11 PM

Dammit Prawn your stuff makes my best efforts look like something a 6yo with a Fisher-Price camera would take.

What is your opinion on the Nikon P300, if you've tried one? Do you have any particular tricks you can share for getting good food pics with a handheld camera, in less than ideal light (as you'd find in a snapping pics in a restaurant environment)?
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.