Part 4-Create your own magazine- Photography
Happy Tuesday! Today, I’m going to talk about my favourite resources for tips on food photography as part 4 of the “Create Your Own Magazine” series. When I first started the blog last year in late March, I had no clue what it took to take a good photograph of food. It wasn’t until August that I took a serious interest in improving my skills, especially for my magazine. I found many useful resources online, but it was hard to filter through all of it. So…I’ve compiled a list of sites and tips I found the most helpful in my journey. I hope this can help you too in your creative endeavours.
If you happened to miss the introductory post of this series, you can find it here. I have received a number of questions on how to create an online magazine and I’ll be addressing a few topics in a six-part series.
Ok, so let’s say you want to create a magazine, but you aren’t so sure about your photos. No sweat! There’s a wealth of specific information available these days on the internet and even at the bookstore. Don’t believe you can improve your photos? Well, let’s have a look at this picture taken last year in March. Pretty bad, isn’t it? I had no clue what I was doing and took this photo at dusk on the auto setting on my camera without flash. The settings were a ticket for disappointment, now that I think about it!
But a few months later after consulting a few blogs, websites and books, I’ve definitely seen progress. Here are some of my latest shots. Much better, aren’t they? They are still not close to where I want them to be, but food photography is all about constantly growing and learning, isn’t it?
What are the my go-to resources?
1. Taylor Takes a Taste - Check out Taylor’s blog if you’re looking for basic and easy to read tutorials on topics such as lighting, adjusting fill light, colour temperature, shooting with artificial light, etc. He has numerous tutorials on a variety of topics and best of all, his explanations are extremely easy to follow!
2. Wrightfood - Hop over to Wrightfood if you want invaluable tips on artificial light food photography, how to complete your food photography setup and post-processing. I found his tutorial on compact camera food photography quite useful when I was using a point and shoot camera last year. Just goes to show you don’t always need a fancy camera to take pleasing images!
3. Gourmande in the Kitchen- What’s better than getting advice from seasoned food photographers? Sylvie from Gourmande in the Kitchen is a professional food photographer with a unique sense of style. She understands how the play with light to create beautiful moods in her pictures. Last year, she featured a number of stylists and food photographers in “The Language of Food Photography” series that covers topics such as visual elements of design, prop styling, food styling and much more. Do check it out!
4. Plate to Pixel – If you love natural light food photography (like me!), I highly recommended Helene Dujardin’s book ‘Plate to Pixel‘. I read it recently and have to say it’s a great book that’s not only easy to follow, it’s full of stunning images to look at. Warning: Will make your hungry!
What are my favourite tips?
1. Don’t use flash when taking pictures of food. It leads to harsh shadows and unslightly bright spots on the food that look unappetizing.
2. I recommend taking pictures during the day time – there’s nothing more beautiful than natural sunlight illuminating your subject. Try taking pictures at different times during the day to figure out what works best for you.
3. Take pictures next to a window, but make sure the light is diffused by either a bedsheet to a diffusion panel to soften the light and reduce shadows.
4. Add a pop of colour to your backgrounds and textiles to add some freshness to the composition.
5. Purchase props at thrift stores and garage sales if you can – that way you’re not spending too much money and you’ll have props that no one else has!
6. Don’t use the auto setting on your camera. More often than not, the pictures won’t come out as expected. Read your camera’s manual or check out a youtube video to understand the basic settings of your camera. It helped me tremendously to understand how the camera worked.
7. Stay away from busy patterns on plates. Let the food shine on white or monochromatic plates.
8. I like to use smaller plates for plating my dishes as it’s easier to fill them with food. A platefull of food looks more inviting and appetizing that a scantily filled plate.
9. Use inexpensive foamcore boards from the dollar store as “bounces” to create fill light. You don’t always need expensive equipment!
10. Keep fresh herbs on hand all the time to spruce up your photos.
Where do I purchase backgrounds for my food photography?
I use a number of different items as backgrounds in my pictures including wood boards, fabrics and scrapbooking paper.
1. Wood – I love the texture wood can bring to a photograph. By adding visual interest in the form of texture, you’ll make your picture look more interesting. I like to purchase lumber from places like Home Depot and paint them with acrylic paint.
2. Fabrics – Buying tablecloths and napkins can really make a dent in your pocket, so I like to purchase fabric from places such as FabricLand. Don’t forget to check out their sales bins – you can find some great deals there!
3. Scrapbooking paper – Go to your local art or paper store to find interesting patterned paper that can be used for more playful shots with cakes, pastries and other desserts.
Oh and sometimes, you may need to get a little creative… Once I used my husband’s work-shirt as a background for a cookie. Worked perfectly and he didn’t even know!
I hope these simple pointers help you improve your food photography. Next week, we’ll dive into the process of writing and editing. Stay tuned…
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