It’s been almost a month since I last told you about the food photography class that I’m taking through Social Fabric University and let me tell you, I’ve learned so much in such a short period of time. In past couple of weeks we have focused on the technical side of photography learning things such as editing our images with photo editing software and learning about the different functions on our cameras. We also discussed the subjective aspects of food photography and how to prepare our scenes before shooting our photographs. Each week we were also given homework and I thought I would share some of my photographs with you.
With this image we were focusing on using natural light (Rule #1 of food photography class – no flash) and neutral backgrounds.
For this image our assignment was to use the information we learned about simple styling and props to create a scene again using natural light.
I’m taking all my pictures with a Nikon Coolpix P7100 which is a compact digital camera. I’m hoping by the end of the summer I’ll be able to purchase a DSLR camera that will help me take my pictures to the next level. But with anything, equipment alone will not make you an excellent photographer. It takes a combination of practice, understanding the aesthetics of food photography and knowing the technical aspects. With just one more week of class, I thought I’d share of some the tips I’ve learned along the way. By incorporating these simple tricks, you’ll be taking awesome food photography pictures in no time!
Food Photography Tips (courtesy of Social Fabric University Food Photography with Sony)
1. Undercook your food. As food cooks it looses moisture and shrinks as it cools. Cook food only long enough so that it no longer looks raw. You can always color too-light areas or apply heat with a kitchen torch or heat gun.
2. If you can afford it, buy two of what you’re shooting.
3. Make sure your prep is meticulous. Go through product and get rid anything wilted, old or unsightly. Cut, chop and slice precisely.
4. When designing a plate, consider color (contrasting or complimentary), and design principles
5. Know that cool food photographs better than hot food. You can make cool or room temperature food can be made to look hot by adding moisture and shine with spraying with PAM, or with brushing oil. For highlights spray your food with PAM or water or brush with a little Karo syrup.
6. Less is more. Appreciate how the camera’s eye is different than your eye. You don’t need to have a sliced mushrooms in every square inch of your food to know that it contains sliced mushrooms; one or two will get your point across without making the image messy.
7. Place solid or simple patterned papers (available at a scrapbooking store) as a background. Figure out what works and does not work in terms of contrast and similarity. Also, make sure that you have enough paper to completely cover the entire field of view.
8. Experiment with incorporating serving pieces, whole place settings, napkins, placemats, and tablecloths. Set the table with silverware, drinks, and even candles to convey the right mood. You can always find these items at thrift and resale stores, flea markets, and garage sales.
9. If you have multiple food subjects available to you (like two dozen cupcakes from which to choose), use only the best examples.
10. Mist fruit, vegetables, and glassware with water to create condensation and make them look more appetizing. Shiny food appeals more than dull food, and anything you can do to make your food shine will make a more interesting photo.
Are you a photography buff? If so, what is your favorite object to photograph?
— East 9th Street (@East9thStreet) June 3, 2012