Jump to content


Welcome to the eG Forums!

These forums are a service of the Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, a 501c3 nonprofit organization dedicated to advancement of the culinary arts. Anyone can read the forums, however if you would like to participate in active discussions please join the Society.

Photo

Food Shutter Bug Club (Part 1)


  • This topic is locked This topic is locked
584 replies to this topic

#91 Ellen Shapiro

Ellen Shapiro
  • eGullet Society staff emeritus
  • 775 posts

Posted 25 June 2004 - 05:14 AM

I'll reiterate and maybe say it more strongly that an undertaking like this works much much much better if it is structured and scheduled, with some ground rules in place at the outset. I can promise you, and I have seen this happen on every photography message board on which I have participated and in some classroom settings, that these discussions become unpleasant quickly if there are no agreed limits and requirements. Please trust me on this. Will anybody volunteer to lead the group and help set up a structure?

Back to a couple of the discussion points . . .

Focus, camera shake, and losses due to image compression and other settings can be difficult to distinguish (sometimes, not always) when looking at 600 pixel wide photos. That being said sometimes it is very easy to tell, especially if it is a simple matter of the wrong part of the photo being in focus. I'll plead guilty to posting plenty of photos on eGullet that I would throw in the trash were I selecting photos to send to a photo editor. Especially when doing photojournalism, even a good autofocus system makes plenty of bad judgment calls in the heat of the moment and rarely do digital cameras give you enough depth of field to allow for much of a margin of error especially on the closeups. But people on eGullet as a whole would rather see the information than see no photos because of minor clarity deficiencies of the kind tana is a stickler for. That being said there is a fine line between flexibility in standards and collapse of standards.

Some tips for correcting clarity problems: 1. Learn and work within the limits of your camera. If your camera isn't well suited to macro shots then don't take macro shots until another day when you have a camera that's better than that. Most digital cameras have a comfort zone within which they take their best photos. So move yourself around in order to place your subjects within that comfort zone and then crop if need be. 2. Observe how your autofocus system behaves. Every camera is different but after awhile you will figure out what your camera thinks it should be focusing on, and then you can push it to focus on what you want. You can also learn how to change your autofocus settings on some cameras. 3. Without getting overly technical, there are reasons why when working with zoom lenses the effects of camera shake and restrictions on depth of field will be worsened the more you zoom. So don't zoom way in if those are problems for you. 4. Use the viewfinder rather than the LCD screen when composing. When you use the LCD you extend your arms away from your body and amplify camera shake. When you hold the camera to your face your arms can brace against your body and you get much better clarity through the viewfinder. With SLRs you don't even have the choice to compose with the LCD, and that's a good thing. 5. Follow through, just like in tennis or softball. Taking a photo represents a whole cycle of body and camera motions. Train yourself to wait a full breath after the camera has taken the shot before you allow yourself to move away from the scene. 6. If you have really serious problems with camera shake, there are more things you can do, ranging from learning to control your breathing to using available objects as braces. 7. You may not get as artsy shots but flash, even daylight fill flash, will usually help with clarity.

I'll throw a couple of photos into the mix. These are taken in an active kitchen.

Posted Image

Posted Image
Ellen Shapiro
www.byellen.com

#92 esperanza

esperanza
  • participating member
  • 254 posts
  • Location:Central Highlands, Mexico

Posted 25 June 2004 - 06:21 AM

This is the most helpful thread I've ever seen on any of the several sites where I read and post.

Here's one of my photos. Feel free to have at it:

Posted Image
What's new at Mexico Cooks!?

#93 spaghetttti

spaghetttti
  • eGullet Society staff emeritus
  • 878 posts
  • Location:Bandung, West Java, Indonesia

Posted 25 June 2004 - 07:03 AM

I don't have "the eye", but I really want "it"

This thread has such a wealth of information, so much to learn, it just might be possible for me to achieve the eye.

Be assured that I can take the knocks. I'll embrace them.

Posted Image

Posted Image

Edited by spaghetttti, 25 June 2004 - 07:04 AM.

Yetty CintaS
I am spaghetttti

#94 Jinmyo

Jinmyo
  • participating member
  • 9,879 posts
  • Location:Ottawa, ON, Canada

Posted 25 June 2004 - 07:58 AM

Sure.

Hit me:

Posted Image
"I've caught you Richardson, stuffing spit-backs in your vile maw. 'Let tomorrow's omelets go empty,' is that your fucking attitude?" -E. B. Farnum

"Behold, I teach you the ubermunch. The ubermunch is the meaning of the earth. Let your will say: the ubermunch shall be the meaning of the earth!" -Fritzy N.

"It's okay to like celery more than yogurt, but it's not okay to think that batter is yogurt."

Serving fine and fresh gratuitous comments since Oct 5 2001, 09:53 PM

#95 fifi

fifi
  • eGullet Society staff emeritus
  • 7,727 posts
  • Location:Houston, TX

Posted 25 June 2004 - 08:11 AM

Fifi - That is some beautiful lard. It fills me with "what if's".

1) I love the little pots and I wish you had chosen a way to give them more weight while at the same time addressing the lard comparison. My instinct would have been to try arranging them within the frame of the photo itself rather than introducing the plate as a background field - because the plate itself as a background distracts from what should be the focal point of the picture and does not add any useful information. It complicates what could be a very stong graphic image. Try putting them on newspaper, plain white linen, or even something dark to serve as a rather neutral background.

2) The way the lard captures light is a very good indicator and a great way to illustrate the contrast and comparison between them. I would experiment and shine light different angles to try and illuminate the lard from behind and make it glow. Also, what does the lard look like through the side of the pot? Worth an investigation.

Love the lard.

Thanks. Those are some good points.

I used the white plate just because it was there and I needed a white background. I really didn't put a whole lot of thought into it. I was focusing on just getting the four products together and used the white plate to emphasize the color of the lard which is the whole point of the picture. (This is the picture that I took specifically to add to the recipe in RecipeGullet.) The little pots are just the 1/2 cup wide mouth canning jars that I use to store it in the fridge. :biggrin: I use those kinds of jars for storing all sorts of things and don't think of them as anything special. But, now that you mention it, that information would be important since you need to use jars to keep the lard from picking up flavors (I think I even say that in the recipe) and featuring them more in the picture makes ultimate sense.

I like the idea of lining them up some way on white fabric. Problem is, I don't have any. :laugh: That is why I used the plate. Backlighting is a good idea as well. When at room temp, the white lard is more opaque than the tan and that would show that quality as well.

This was a small batch that I talked about in the carnitas thread, I think. (Exploding carnitas!) The next time I make a typically larger batch and use the larger jars, I am going to take your suggestions to heart.

I also just noticed that there is a speck of something on the white. ARRRGH!
Linda LaRose aka "fifi"

"Having spent most of my life searching for truth in the excitement of science, I am now in search of the perfectly seared foie gras without any sweet glop." Linda LaRose

#96 fifi

fifi
  • eGullet Society staff emeritus
  • 7,727 posts
  • Location:Houston, TX

Posted 25 June 2004 - 08:32 AM

Sure.

Hit me:

Posted Image

First thing that I like about the shot is the scale and the composition. (Well, once I get past the point of wanting to snap a scallop. :biggrin: ) The fork and napkin on the left help establish the scale. That is one thing I like to see in a shot of a plate of food. To get ultra-picky, I may have moved the fork and napkin in a little and pulled in a little closer. But that is really picky.

The one thing I keep wishing for is that it was shot from the other side of the table. The reflections on the table and in the upper right are distracting. If it had just been the wine glass, it would have been interesting but there is other stuff there that I can't identify and that is drawing my attention away from the food. (But then, I am an intensely curious person so that could just be me.) A little glare on the plate would be ok to indicate the texture of the plate but this is too much. It distracts from the glisten on the scallops, for instance.
Linda LaRose aka "fifi"

"Having spent most of my life searching for truth in the excitement of science, I am now in search of the perfectly seared foie gras without any sweet glop." Linda LaRose

#97 hathor

hathor
  • participating member
  • 2,691 posts
  • Location:New York, Montone, Italy

Posted 25 June 2004 - 08:33 AM

Sure.

Hit me:

Posted Image

The overall impression is very arresting...you want to stop and look at what is on the plate, the illuminated background makes you focus on the dish. I do wish that you could see the back of the plate clearer....its too much in the shadow.

#98 helenas

helenas
  • participating member
  • 1,410 posts

Posted 25 June 2004 - 09:06 AM

Very educational thread.

Please critique:


Posted Image

Posted Image

#99 Ellen Shapiro

Ellen Shapiro
  • eGullet Society staff emeritus
  • 775 posts

Posted 25 June 2004 - 09:14 AM

A few contrast and composition pointers for digital snapshots on dark backgrounds, triggered by looking at Jinmyo's very appetizing dish:

High contrast situations are hard enough on film but digital camera CCDs really tend to choke when bright whites and deep blacks compete for recognition. The extremes of the white and black especially impact the richness of any other colors in the photo. Also shiny dark surfaces and flash don't often mix because the reflected flash makes them look white. A gentle natural light source that doesn't reflect back at the camera will give nice deep dark negative space-colors, which can be beautiful for still-life backgrounds (food is a species of still-life photography). Composition-wise, any plate where two foods are very similar color-wise is going to present a balance challenge. Obviously here there is an attempt to capture a real dish so there is no food styling expressly for the photo but photographically just the cabbage and the scallop would make a more striking composition than the dish with that third piece repeating the reddish caramel colors. Definitely would crop out most of the surrounding wood and glare and contrast-enhance this as much as possible. Possibly place the fork tines right onto the plate if it is really desired for scale. These high-contrast photo compositions also often work spectacularly when photographed from directly above rather than from diner's eye perspective.
Ellen Shapiro
www.byellen.com

#100 Ellen Shapiro

Ellen Shapiro
  • eGullet Society staff emeritus
  • 775 posts

Posted 25 June 2004 - 09:16 AM

Helenas I have to run and do have some technical comments about those photos but on the whole would just like to say they are very sharp. With minor modifications I would expect photos like that to be in a well produced cookbook. Can you tell us about more about your equipment and the intent of those images?
Ellen Shapiro
www.byellen.com

#101 Behemoth

Behemoth
  • participating member
  • 1,658 posts
  • Location:Athens on the Isar/Athens in the Cornfields

Posted 25 June 2004 - 09:27 AM

I don't have "the eye", but I really want "it"

This thread has such a wealth of information,  so much to learn, it just might be possible for me to achieve the eye.

Posted Image

Hiya,

The one thing about this photo that keeps bugging me is that my eye keeps getting drawn the the space between the two pastries, towards the middle of the picture. If I were to take that shot, I would try to maybe have the front pastry much more dominant in the foreground, and the other one more blurry and hidden in the background.

Having said that, I wanna come to your house for dinner! I really should never look at this thread before lunch...

I love the composition of the crab photo -- though I've noticed glare coming off food and plates on a lot of pictures, including this one, can be distracting. This is something with which I've also been having trouble. Does anyone have any strategies for avoiding that?

Edited by Behemoth, 25 June 2004 - 09:36 AM.


#102 Ellen Shapiro

Ellen Shapiro
  • eGullet Society staff emeritus
  • 775 posts

Posted 25 June 2004 - 09:35 AM

I've noticed glare coming off food and plates on a lot of pictures -- something with which I've also been having trouble. What are some strategies for avoiding that?

Under studio conditions you can control a lot of it with lighting and also with matte sprays that you apply to the items. In the real world your best bets are natural light and careful planning of the angle of your camera versus the angle of the light. Even if you are using point and shoot flash the angle and distance will make a lot of difference. You can even fabricate a diffuser of sorts out of a piece of translucent material in order to cut flash glare, although some cameras will freak if you do that. If you have the ability to choose your background surface you will do better with less reflective materials (duh!) than with ones that tend to glare back. For the food there's no harm in a little reflectivity, it can add dimensionality, but if you're getting a lot of glare your food is probably too "wet" -- blotting with paper towels can help, as can repositioning yourself until you find an angle from which the glare is less apparent. Shiny chocolate things will always be challenging, though.
Ellen Shapiro
www.byellen.com

#103 Toliver

Toliver
  • participating member
  • 4,627 posts
  • Location:Bakersfield, California

Posted 25 June 2004 - 10:18 AM

This thread is moving very quickly, both in posts and in techniques. I had assumed when this thread was started that it was going to simply center more on how to shoot your dinner for the "Dinner!" thread or for the Food Blogs but it has certainly grown beyond that.
One thing that has been missing from a lot of the posted images is any mention of the equipment being used to shoot the pictures. I think that should be one of the rules of this forum since it's important information, IMHO. Listing the type of camera should be a "must".
That being said, I think what fifi mentioned, stating your intentions, is also important so viewers/critics can decide whether the photo was a success or not.
I can see any eventual eGCI class spread out over quite a few classes like the Stock classes were spread out...Beginner, Intermediate, Advanced or Lighting, Composition, Post-Production, etc.

“Peter: Oh my god, Brian, there's a message in my Alphabits. It says, 'Oooooo.'
Brian: Peter, those are Cheerios.”
– From Fox TV’s “Family Guy”


#104 jhlurie

jhlurie
  • eGullet Society staff emeritus
  • 6,300 posts

Posted 25 June 2004 - 11:16 AM

These high-contrast photo compositions also often work spectacularly when photographed from directly above rather than from diner's eye perspective.

Yes. Yes. I've been waiting for someone else to say that.

Sadly, if camera shake is a big problem that's a tough angle to photograph from, but it's usually the most arresting shot.

As for the issue of something more "official" based around single subjects, lets hold off for a short while on that and let the eG staff try and figure out the best way to produce and manage something like that. I can't make any promises.

I can see any eventual eGCI class spread out over quite a few classes like the Stock classes were spread out...Beginner, Intermediate, Advanced or Lighting, Composition, Post-Production, etc.

It's something which has been discussed before, but finding the right (available, authoritative and willing) teaching staff is an issue. Ellen, for example, is an excellent and skilled photographer, who knows bucket-loads of stuff, but is not primarily a food photographer. Do we have anyone here willing to fess up to professional credits in that direction?
Jon Lurie, aka "jhlurie"

#105 Toliver

Toliver
  • participating member
  • 4,627 posts
  • Location:Bakersfield, California

Posted 25 June 2004 - 12:09 PM

Jason,
Regarding your Chicken Mole Poblano, I, too, prefer the wider shot. If you're taking a picture of what you had for dinner, then I don't mind seeing a plate at all. Your plating is part of the subject matter so the plate itself becomes just a background note.
The closeup of the black beans didn't do it for me due to their lack of texture. Now a closeup of the rice or the sesame seeds on the chicken would have been, texturally, better pictures.

Having read the original discussion where it was first posted, fifi's lard picture was perfect for it's intent. The lighting is good and if anything, it could have been cropped a little tighter, but overall, it was well executed and made its point.

zilla369 - The first image (the bottles) needs either a less complicated background or more depth of field to put it out of focus. If the purpose of the photo was to do a study of the bottles and their contents, the background pulls the attention away from the foreground. Plus, it looks like the background has a sharper focus than the bottles do. AutoFocus is like a temperamental two-year old...if you don't take charge of it, it will do what it wants and can end up ruining your picture.
The Yolks pic...as it's been said, it's out of focus. I would also crop tighter, losing the exterior bowl rim completely and going more towards an abstract image.
The Salads Pic...the chefs are "soft"/out of focus. I would recommend either focusing on them or lowering the camera so the first couple of salads are front and center and in focus and then the chefs would be out of focus but the intent of the pic would still be communicated.
Egg Wash....very funny pic. Could have gone with a tighter crop so you can better see that you've got eggs there or perhaps a bigger bowl of them to stress the joke.
Ice Sculpture - The pineapple is out of focus and the reflection of the people in the window is in focus so, again, it makes me ask what is supposed to be the intent of the image?

Ellen - Beautiful soft lighting on the tofu shot. It's a little wide for my tastes but the background does help tell the story of what's happening. I am assuming it's one in a series.
Again, beautiful lighting and, again, the salmon in the steamer/wok shot is a little wide for me. I'm assuming it's supposed to show the chinese steaming/wok technique but the hungry man inside of me wants to see a closeup of that darn salmon. :laugh:

esperanza - I'd like to see a larger size version of this. Can you repost it larger?

spaghetttti - Both pics are great. The crab shot is a little tight for me. What is it? Is it dinner or "A Study of Crab"? I'd either pull out to show more of the pot/serving dish or go to the other extreme and do a Jason-like closeup on the center claw, showing the pincers in the middle or focus on the meat at the bottom center.
The Onde picture is very, very nice. You can almost feel the texture of the seeds and the texture of the tabletop. One quibble would be the upper right quadrant background is dirty and is a wee bit distracting. If this is a "Stufy of Onde", then it should have been cleaned up to leave all focus on the Onde itself. If it's a picture of dinner, then I think it's forgivable.

jinmyo - I agree with a lot of what's been said about your photo. The reflection in the table glass is distracting. Perhaps cropping would help eliminate this. Your simple presentation showcases the food. Girl, you know how to plate! :laugh:
Personally, I could care less about napkins and forks. I want to see and taste and smell everyone of your creations so I would have preferred a tighter shot to concentrate on the food. The Zoom function won't work as well as physically moving the camera closer which would allow the flash fill to better light your food, which, in turn, would have made me drool more. :wink:

helenas - The greens photo is great. The lighting seems to be the same intensity overall. Next time I'd recommend placing a piece of cardboard off-camera to the right to cut off some of the light coming from that direction. It'll provide some contrast to the image. I think the pros use something like a round disk of black netting to achieve this...don't know the real name of the tool.
The photo of stuffed mushrooms (?) is very busy. Do you want me to look at the food or the pattern on the plate or even the wood pattern of the table? I'd recommmend putting the mushrooms on a solid-color plate, even a simple white plate so it won't compete for the viewers' attention and will showcase the mushrooms.

edited to clarify

Edited by Toliver, 25 June 2004 - 12:15 PM.


“Peter: Oh my god, Brian, there's a message in my Alphabits. It says, 'Oooooo.'
Brian: Peter, those are Cheerios.”
– From Fox TV’s “Family Guy”


#106 robyn

robyn
  • legacy participant
  • 3,577 posts

Posted 25 June 2004 - 02:02 PM

Here are a couple of mine (to get started with).  I tend to do shots with unusual centers of focus (as with the frozen berry shot) and I am not sure if they work.

Posted Image


Posted Image


Posted Image

I like everything about the cherries except the composition of the picture. The subject isn't clearly defined. I would have liked one cluster of cherries near the center of the photo - or 3 clusters - whatever. But I'd like to see something near the center of the photo. I think the second photo is kind of blah - again - no real subject. The third picture has great composition. I think that's the kind of picture you should be looking to take. Just my two cents. Robyn

#107 robyn

robyn
  • legacy participant
  • 3,577 posts

Posted 25 June 2004 - 02:09 PM

I have a question, and I mean this very respectfully. Do you wear glasses or otherwise have impaired vision? Because the beans and other shots aren't really in focus--a very slight camera shake might also be the culprit...

I take a lot of closeup photos (everything from details for Ebay sales to butterflies) - and it's easy for them to come out blurry. Most of the time - I find that the "close-up" setting on my camera will do the trick. But sometimes it doesn't. Robyn

#108 Behemoth

Behemoth
  • participating member
  • 1,658 posts
  • Location:Athens on the Isar/Athens in the Cornfields

Posted 25 June 2004 - 02:11 PM

So this was my lunch...Pad Thai.

Posted Image

I used dynamic focus so it wouldn't focus on nearest thing. I used "vivid" setting to punch up the greens a little. (They were just pale things.) Shot the photo in front of a window, with white balance set to shady. I think it's too dark a photo, still. Bah, shoulda probably used some sort of fill light, huh? The flash tends to really glare off these dishes. This is like trying to put a t-shirt on an octopus, so many things to do all at once! I'm hoping with some practice at least 4 or 5 of those will be semi-automatic.
Ellen, where and what would I buy to make a diffuser?

#109 Ellen Shapiro

Ellen Shapiro
  • eGullet Society staff emeritus
  • 775 posts

Posted 25 June 2004 - 02:26 PM

Behemoth, the easiest thing is a piece of single-ply toilet paper or one ply of a Kleenex. You hardly ever find yourself in a situation where you can't at least come up with that, and it works pretty darn well. With my current gear I have two Sto-fen diffusers which cost about fifteen bucks each but they don't accomplish anything that any translucent piece of white material doesn't do. They just look a bit neater.

Toliver, thanks for those comments. I was hoping you'd ring in on postprocessing. Those images are I think unprocessed except for the resize. Maybe I could e-mail you the originals and you could show how you'd crop and improve them. I find that the Canon D60 has a consistent underexposure problem (this is noted on plenty of photography sites). I'm not sure if it has been corrected in the 10D and Digital Rebel, but if not you will want always to shoot with positive exposure compensation on the Canon DSLR line. I chose those photos because they were part of a few dozen taken the first or second day I had that camera, so they're especially ripe for a lot of commentary. By the way, I'm sorry your hunger for the salmon was not satisfied. I hope this will help:

Posted Image
Ellen Shapiro
www.byellen.com

#110 robyn

robyn
  • legacy participant
  • 3,577 posts

Posted 25 June 2004 - 02:28 PM

Very educational thread.

Please critique:


Posted Image

Posted Image

There's nothing to critique about the first photo. It's the best picture I've seen in this thread. Really terrific.

The second picture just doesn't work. I think after looking at a lot of these pictures - I'm getting the sense that it's hard to take great pictures of prepared food. If you're too far away - they don't look like anything. If you're too close - they look like something you'd rather not see :wacko:. Gives me a lot more respect for professional food photographers. Robyn

#111 helenas

helenas
  • participating member
  • 1,410 posts

Posted 25 June 2004 - 03:05 PM

The second picture just doesn't work.


It sure does not: since Toliver mistook those eggplants for mushrooms :biggrin:

it's hard to take great pictures of prepared food


Once again, agree: that's why on many occasions i felt like taking a picture just before some dish would go to the oven - way bettter looking than when it would come out :rolleyes: ...
but pondering at so many pictures in cookbooks i have a suspicion that there are many trucs that we, amateurs don't employ not only because we're not aware of them but also because our ultimate concern is to make a dinner: the picture is just a nice souvenir :smile:

#112 jhlurie

jhlurie
  • eGullet Society staff emeritus
  • 6,300 posts

Posted 25 June 2004 - 03:32 PM

Cooked food, I think, often loses color, and softens or blends texture. Even in the best of these photos, I think The greens, reds and especially yellows start to become more brown, tan, or black. Except on the raw (or mostly raw) parts you add on top. :smile: The textures get runny, or melty, or shiny.

It's not really a surprise, is it?
Jon Lurie, aka "jhlurie"

#113 Behemoth

Behemoth
  • participating member
  • 1,658 posts
  • Location:Athens on the Isar/Athens in the Cornfields

Posted 25 June 2004 - 03:37 PM

Cooked food, I think, often loses color, and softens or blends texture. Even in the best of these photos, I think The greens, reds and especially yellows start to become more brown, tan, or black. Except on the raw (or mostly raw) parts you add on top. :smile: The textures get runny, or melty, or shiny.

It's not really a surprise, is it?

Definitely, that's why, for example the pad thai recipe asks for half the scallions and sprouts to be cooked, the other half to be added raw at the end. Makes good plating sense, never mind the photos. I have to say, though, while I've always been aware of how I serve things, having to take photos of the fished product really forces the issue of "what will look good".

#114 Fat Guy

Fat Guy
  • eGullet Society staff emeritus
  • 29,303 posts
  • Location:New York, NY

Posted 25 June 2004 - 03:40 PM

Restaurants typically pay much more attention to the appearance of food than home cooks. It is often a fundamental consideration when composing dishes. There are plenty of great-tasting items that never make it onto restaurant menus because chefs decide they're unappetizing to look at. Home cooks are much more oriented towards cooking for flavor and almost never think about appearance until it's time to assemble the final dish, so they are usually limited to garnishes as the primary tools for brightening up plates and adding contrast.

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)


#115 robyn

robyn
  • legacy participant
  • 3,577 posts

Posted 25 June 2004 - 04:22 PM

Some people have suggested that they want a bit more structure in this thread - and Ellen suggested a "leader". I'm not sure we absolutely need a "leader" unless there's someone who knows what they're doing who would like to lead. I certainly don't fall into that category.

But - to give a bit of structure - I suggest we try one subject a week. And that each person can post 2 photos of the subject - one "plain" and one "arty" (the second being optional). I also suggest that the first subject be "fruit" (which would include berries and the like) - because I think it's relatively easy to do - this is the height of the fruit season - and all of us should have some around the house (and if you don't - shame on you - start reading the nutrition threads :smile: ). All in favor - say aye - all against say nay. I'm open to other ideas - but this seemed like an easy painless way to start. Robyn.

#116 Jinmyo

Jinmyo
  • participating member
  • 9,879 posts
  • Location:Ottawa, ON, Canada

Posted 25 June 2004 - 04:56 PM

I also suggest that the first subject be "fruit" (which would include berries and the like) - because I think it's relatively easy to do - this is the height of the fruit season - and all of us should have some around the house (and if you don't - shame on you - start reading the nutrition threads :smile: ). All in favor - say aye - all against say nay.

Fruit. Eh.
"I've caught you Richardson, stuffing spit-backs in your vile maw. 'Let tomorrow's omelets go empty,' is that your fucking attitude?" -E. B. Farnum

"Behold, I teach you the ubermunch. The ubermunch is the meaning of the earth. Let your will say: the ubermunch shall be the meaning of the earth!" -Fritzy N.

"It's okay to like celery more than yogurt, but it's not okay to think that batter is yogurt."

Serving fine and fresh gratuitous comments since Oct 5 2001, 09:53 PM

#117 jhlurie

jhlurie
  • eGullet Society staff emeritus
  • 6,300 posts

Posted 25 June 2004 - 04:57 PM

Restaurants typically pay much more attention to the appearance of food than home cooks. It is often a fundamental consideration when composing dishes. There are plenty of great-tasting items that never make it onto restaurant menus because chefs decide they're unappetizing to look at. Home cooks are much more oriented towards cooking for flavor and almost never think about appearance until it's time to assemble the final dish, so they are usually limited to garnishes as the primary tools for brightening up plates and adding contrast.

I think even home cooks can sometimes make those choices. Okay... Red Holland peppers probably DO taste somewhat better than good old ordinary Green, but haven't you ever caught yourself using them to make something look a bit better? Ground up Basil leaves might distribute better, but occasionally you present them as an intact garnish and not a spice.

Tonight, quite by accident, I had a meal that might have photographed really well if I'd had a digital camera around, or thought of it. I had to make due with ingredients lying around and it just worked out that way. I had frozen ground turkey burgers, but no rolls. So I looked around and noticed I had tortillas--blue corn in this case. I had red peppers, but no green, because the red were on sale in a place I shopped recently. I had basil leaves up the wazoo, because the basil plant in my window hadn't been harvested in a while. I had cheddar cheese. Cooking the burgers and breaking them up among the tortillas (which I fried a bit) made sense, but I also used what else was on hand. So I had blue, red, a mid-range tan and brown, orange, and green on one plate. Much more colorful than 90% of my meals. Who knew fate had such a good eye for color?
Jon Lurie, aka "jhlurie"

#118 hillvalley

hillvalley
  • participating member
  • 1,787 posts

Posted 25 June 2004 - 05:16 PM

Robyn, I think fruit is too general. I would like to see it more specific. Cherries come to mind. What if the compositional guide line was just that the shot must include cherries? Everyone submits two pics during a week long period. That way we are critquing a dozen shots at once.

I think there does need to be some size guidelines. Pictures look very different at different sizes. Or maybe a maximum pic size so everyone can see the whole shot?


Oh, an if eG is willing to pay for my master's in photography, I would gladly write a food photography eGCI course :smile:

Edited by hillvalley, 25 June 2004 - 05:17 PM.

True Heroism is remarkably sober, very undramatic.
It is not the urge to surpass all others at whatever cost,
but the urge to serve others at whatever cost. -Arthur Ashe

#119 helenas

helenas
  • participating member
  • 1,410 posts

Posted 25 June 2004 - 05:37 PM

Also i invite all of us to look at the following food photography masters and learn from them:

Isabelle Rozenbaum;

Nelli Sheffer;

Please, add to the list.

#120 Behemoth

Behemoth
  • participating member
  • 1,658 posts
  • Location:Athens on the Isar/Athens in the Cornfields

Posted 25 June 2004 - 05:54 PM

I also suggest that the first subject be "fruit" (which would include berries and the like) - because I think it's relatively easy to do - this is the height of the fruit season - and all of us should have some around the house (and if you don't - shame on you - start reading the nutrition threads  :smile: ).  All in favor - say aye - all against say nay.

Fruit. Eh.

Yeah, I have to admit I'm not feeling the fruit thing quite so much either. It's almost hard to make that stuff look bad. The thing that's useful about posting cooked dishes/dishes in progress is that it is what most people have been doing already in the dinner thread and in the blogs, which was sort of the point of this exercise. So I would either go in that direction, or else pick some commonly occuring challenge like "glare" or "dim lighting" and try to find a means of dealing with it, either in the course of the photo, or via photoshop. At least, that would be much more useful for me.

It would definitely be fun to have a non-"plate"-focused thread, but here the point was primarily to improve the utilitarian snapshots lots of us were already taking.