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The Food Photography Topic


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@chromedome good advice. Thanks. 

 

A few few things I’ve learned: 

1. I’m solely using my Nikon D60, a DSLR, for taking photos. I love my iPhone, but if I’m to get serious, I have to use my DSLR for every shoot. Many more options and the photos are much better.

 

2. I got a tripod. Why did I wait so long? Again, this goes hand-in-hand with using the manual functions on the DSLR. And I can change settings on the same shot and see the differences and how I like some settings better for certain shots. And the overhead shots have improved 100%. 

 

3. Styling matters. Styling matters a lot. It elevates the photo from good to great. Small details matter. Those crumbs show up when youve got a good photo. 

 

4. And of course, always improving with lighting, I’m getting more creative with my reflectors. I’m switching the angle to cast different shadows,  see how it affects the shot. Another reason I need a tripod. 

 

5. I’m learning post processing, getting my feet wet with Lightroom. There’s an entire world out there, it’s amazing what simple Instagram filters will do to make an image pop. 

 

Thats is it for now. I’ll post more photos when I get home (in a week). I plan on doing another marathon photo session this weekend. 

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1 hour ago, Smokeydoke said:

2. I got a tripod. Why did I wait so long? Again, this goes hand-in-hand with using the manual functions on the DSLR. And I can change settings on the same shot and see the differences and how I like some settings better for certain shots. And the overhead shots have improved 100%. 

 

Using the tripod:

1. It allows you to shoot at very low light level by setting the exposure long.

2. Try to use the self-timer for the sharpest image. Even on a tripod, the clicking by hand can introduce shaking.

 

dcarch

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I just started shooting and editing in RAW. It's amazing the details that you can bring out by adjusting the shadows and highlights. I've been editing in Affinity Photo on an iPad Pro, and very much enjoy the experience. 

 

My biggest hurdle at the moment is lighting. Daylight is in short supply and my kitchen is dark. I'd love to have a portable, preferably battery-powered lighting solution that doesn't cost a fortune but I don't know if such a thing exists. Soft boxes with hot lights are just too much. (At least, that's my impression.) I'm not going to leave a soft box up all the time, and I'll never use it if I have to set it up every time (unless setup is suuuuuuper quick and easy). A "point and shoot" rechargable LED (or something) light box would be ideal. Are these a thing? And if they are a thing, are they worth buying? 

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36 minutes ago, btbyrd said:

I just started shooting and editing in RAW.

 

I first read this as "shooting and eating in RAW...."

 

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Don't ask. Eat it.

www.kayatthekeyboard.wordpress.com

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On 5/23/2018 at 1:25 AM, DiggingDogFarm said:

 

That would make an interesting poll.

Who takes the time to process any sort of impromptu photos destined for a forum.

I usually take the easy route for such pics, nothing beyond simple editing.

A blog and such, that's another matter.

 

 

 

It completely depends on what the image needs, if anything.

 

My perspective might be a little different from other peoples', since I use Lightroom to process raw files and organize my photo library ... so pictures get slurped into LR right off my phone or my big camera's memory cards, and the initial processing is automatic. If I don't like the way the default processing looks, it's usually just a matter of moving a couple of sliders until the color pops into balance. Maybe it needs to be cropped or straightened. Then I export into whatever format is needed for posting online or emailing someone. Typically JPEG, at a very reduced size. 

 

If I'm making exhibition prints or sending something out for publication, that's a whole 'nuther story. I might then spend hours or days on an image, much of it in Photoshop, just as I once would have done in the darkroom.

 

I don't know what it's like working with the more consumer-oriented raw processing and library organizing tools. I hear many complaints about these, but then I hear many complaints about Lightroom too ...

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Notes from the underbelly

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2 hours ago, btbyrd said:

A "point and shoot" rechargable LED (or something) light box would be ideal. Are these a thing? And if they are a thing, are they worth buying? 

 

Be careful with LED lights.

 

Many LED lights flicker (strobe) which interferes with digital image sensor of your digital camera. They do sell special LED lights for photography.

 

By the way, there is no such thing as "white" LEDs. The white is actually generated by a chemical on the LED.

 

dcarch

 

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  • 1 year later...

Thought I would revive this topic and use myself as an example of how a camera makes a huge difference in food photography.  I've been a Member at eGullet for many years and when I started taking food photos it was sort of a new thing.  The world hadn't yet taken on stylized food photos and there weren't a lot of software programs out there.  For years I used a little hand-held Canon Powershot.  About three of them in fact.  They worked ok, but I was brutal on them in the kitchen and they took many a tumble to the floor, got gunked up with oil and other ingredients.  But I was at least able to portray closeups of food fairly well.  These first two photos were taken with the Canon Powershot.

Smoked Idaho Trout Salad from 2016-

Smoked Idaho Trout Salad.jpg

 

Salmon Poke with Macadamia Nuts from 2018-

Salmon Poke with Macadamia and Crispy onion.jpg

 

Pan-Fried Yaquina Bay Oyster Sandwich from 2019 with the Canon EOS Rebel T7-

Pan-Fried Yaquina Bay Oyster Sandwich.JPG

 

Apple Tarte Tatin, taken last week-

Apple Tarte Tatin 2.JPG

 

The EOS has all sorts of different settings, and I've got about three software programs I could use.  But for now I'm keeping things simple.  I still prefer closeup shots and don't use a lot of stuff in the background so I can focus on the food.  I reduce the pixel size of the photos for clarity and do some minor editing but that's it.  I'm not sure I'll ever go further than that because I happen to prefer simple yet clear food photos without a lot of stylization.

 

 

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This is all a foreign language to me.    As cook and server, my food shots are more "snatch and grab" than even point and shoot.    Someone is always waiting for his plate, ready with that "you are SO pretentious" look if I take more than a nano-second to grab phone and snap.    I don't retouch because, well, it is what it is.    In restaurants, I am even more obsequious, usually able to get a representative shot of my own plates but often/usually blurring while 4reaching across the table to catch husband's plates.

 

I am in awe of your photos and the thought processes that go into them.

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eGullet member #80.

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  • 10 months later...
On 9/11/2020 at 9:36 AM, Eatmywords said:

Nice pics above!  Are folks using their phones or 'real' cameras - DSL, point and shoot, other?

 

I use a Canon D60.  I don't spend a lot of time though.  I have it mounted on a tripod in front of a light box that is set up in a small dining room that my husband and I used to use when we lived alone.  Now that my sister and her kids live with us, we use the larger dining room.  Since the lighting is the same every time, I don't have to mess with the settings on my camera.  I just slide the plate in to the light box on my way to the other dining room and snap a quick picture.  That said, the iPhone takes really good food photos too and I use that as well.  

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2 hours ago, liamsaunt said:

 

I use a Canon D60.  I don't spend a lot of time though.  I have it mounted on a tripod in front of a light box that is set up in a small dining room that my husband and I used to use when we lived alone.  Now that my sister and her kids live with us, we use the larger dining room.  Since the lighting is the same every time, I don't have to mess with the settings on my camera.  I just slide the plate in to the light box on my way to the other dining room and snap a quick picture.  That said, the iPhone takes really good food photos too and I use that as well.  

Samsung Note 9 cell phone camera and Microsoft Picture It  software

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  • 5 months later...

The Digital Cameras for Food Photography thread is closed to replies.  Why?  For what reason?  Troglodytes.  This is mere musing at this point, but what if one had a budget of oh, say, $1400 towards a camera for food photography, what would one do?

 

I am knowledgeable of cameras, food, and food photography, however I have not followed camera technology for fifteen years.

 

I would want a camera with better low light capability than an iPad, and much closer focusing.  I would need a bright, clear viewing screen.  No need for a SLR (I have a closet full of useless SLR's).  I'd like the 35mm equivalent of a 100mm lens.  Or thereabouts.  Interchangeable lenses would be lovely but probably out of my price point.

 

I am mostly brand agnostic but have a preference towards Canon, as I once was an expert witness testifying in a patent trial on behalf of Canon, and thanked most warmly by the head of Canon's digital division.

 

Thoughts?

 

 

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10 hours ago, JoNorvelleWalker said:

Thoughts?

 

In my opinion, good lighting is as important as the camera for food photography. Unless you already have these items, I'd earmark some of the budget for a dedicated light, a reflector and maybe a light box. Plus a tripod of some sort.  

 

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I think most home-non-pro-off-the-spatula pix can be 'improved' by simply taking a second to look at what all 'else' is in frame and the general staging.  example:  was taking a pix of the holiday table - with an iPhone - looked at the pix and right there big and ugly on the left side . . . . the kitchen trash can.  so I 're-framed' the shot.

 

I try to take that pause for any of the plated shots, etc.  it can make a big difference if you take 10 seconds to wipe off the gravy drip. . .

 

here's another, a two-fer - (1) careless staging and (2) lighting differenceslghtng.thumb.jpg.0859e960fce503f9af201421f3a093ed.jpg

 

Edited by AlaMoi (log)
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41 minutes ago, blue_dolphin said:

 

In my opinion, good lighting is as important as the camera for food photography. Unless you already have these items, I'd earmark some of the budget for a dedicated light, a reflector and maybe a light box. Plus a tripod of some sort.  

 

I am no example but in a better lit  place or outside I've gotten shots I like. When my ex first started taking pictures for his knife site he started as @blue_dolphindescribes. He also took a group class at a respected local  photo shop - t was qut inexpensive and has served him well over the years. Plus you develop a relationship with experts that is beneficial. 

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11 hours ago, JoNorvelleWalker said:

Thoughts?

I think nobody read your question!

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Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

...I just let people know about something I made for supper that they might enjoy, too. That's all it is. (Nigel Slater)

"Cooking is about doing the best with what you have . . . and succeeding." John Thorne

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1 hour ago, Anna N said:

I think nobody read your question!

 

In my defense, I did read the question, particularly noting this:

12 hours ago, JoNorvelleWalker said:

I would want a camera with better low light capability

@JoNorvelleWalker can spend all her camera budget on a new camera but without proper lighting, it's not going to do its best work while a modest investment in lighting can make all the difference in the world!

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I have strobes and stuff but they are not going to be used for food photography in this apartment in this lifetime.  My lighting is one of two sources:  in the kitchen overhead bare bulbs, and in the dining room candelabra bulbs behind cobwebs and frosted glass.

 

I could, and probably will, put higher wattage bulbs in the dining room.  (Which of course may trip the breaker.)

 

When I first got an iPad I purchased a stand with an iPad adapter for use as a tripod.  But now the iPad faceplate has dissociated from the body and on the stand it no longer fits.  If I had a digital camera I might use a tripod for some food shots, but certainly not on a daily basis.

 

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I am a Nikon guy - I have a D600 that I love with 4 different lenses based on what I am shooting.

 

My dad, who was also a Nikon guy recently switched to the Sony Alpha a7 and really likes it.

 

Never been a huge fan of Canon, but at the higher end levels, it's all personal preference. 

Edited by TicTac (log)
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23 minutes ago, JoNorvelleWalker said:

I have strobes and stuff but they are not going to be used for food photography in this apartment in this lifetime.  My lighting is one of two sources:  in the kitchen overhead bare bulbs, and in the dining room candelabra bulbs behind cobwebs and frosted glass.

 

I could, and probably will, put higher wattage bulbs in the dining room.  (Which of course may trip the breaker.)

 

When I first got an iPad I purchased a stand with an iPad adapter for use as a tripod.  But now the iPad faceplate has dissociated from the body and on the stand it no longer fits.  If I had a digital camera I might use a tripod for some food shots, but certainly not on a daily basis.

 

 

You clearly have plenty of equipment and photo knowledge.  I'll just clarify for others that for low-light photography of still subjects, like food, you'll get the best improvement from better lighting and a steady camera and like @TicTac said, it's mostly personal preference.  In SLR days, I was a Nikon person.  Switched to Canon for digital. 

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30 minutes ago, JoNorvelleWalker said:

I could, and probably will, put higher wattage bulbs in the dining room.  (Which of course may trip the breaker.)

 

You can also check out remote rechargeable strobe flashes. Some expensive, some not. Great for background lighting. They give you lighting flexibility and they don't take lots of room to store.

 

dcarch

Edited by dcarch (log)
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pssst:  it's not the camera . . .

 

I used a Canon F1 for my many of my film years.

almost any (of current crop) digital cameras will beat the socks off any ISO film speed - i.e. low light performance.

but low light or bright light - the light source (incandescent/florescence/LED 1 to 5K/etc etc etc) drastically affects color rendition as captured by the camera.

it is necessary to understand the light source issue - as it can be used to great advantage for "mood" shots.

 

the other lighting issue is 'distribution' and 'diffusion' - i.e. shadows, etc

 

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3 hours ago, blue_dolphin said:

 

In my defense, I did read the question, particularly noting this:

@JoNorvelleWalker can spend all her camera budget on a new camera but without proper lighting, it's not going to do its best work while a modest investment in lighting can make all the difference in the world!

I guess I should have used a smiley face to show that I was just joshing. 

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Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

...I just let people know about something I made for supper that they might enjoy, too. That's all it is. (Nigel Slater)

"Cooking is about doing the best with what you have . . . and succeeding." John Thorne

Our 2012 (Kerry Beal and me) Blog

My 2004 eG Blog

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2 hours ago, blue_dolphin said:

 

You clearly have plenty of equipment and photo knowledge.  I'll just clarify for others that for low-light photography of still subjects, like food, you'll get the best improvement from better lighting and a steady camera and like @TicTac said, it's mostly personal preference.  In SLR days, I was a Nikon person.  Switched to Canon for digital. 

 

@blue_dolphin, would be interested to know what model Canon you use. Your food photos look great and, somehow, cheerful.

 

I think focus / steady camera is an issue for me. (Lighting as well.)

 

I don't mind my iPhone camera, except that I can't get a photo that looks like it was taken 100% from a head-on perspective (perpendicular). It's not that apparent in food photos, but if I'm taking a photo of a building that is symmetrical, I can see that the approach looks skewed.

 

Could be due to the lens being on the left side on the back of my phone.

 

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