Thursday, October 28, 2010

How to take food photos

So my talented sisters, Jenny and Kathy, have been making desserts and stuff and they asked for some tips on how to take photos of their food. I got all inspired as I was looking over some of my photos, I am also teaching a photo class as part of an elementary contest so I had to print out photos for those so here is goes.

1. Lighting- Natural lighting is the absolute best for shooting photos, especially food photos because you want your colors to look right. Indoor lighting usually has a yellow tinge to it, and your flash will blow all the detail out of your food. So, look around your house and outside and find a good spot for photos. I like to do them in my kitchen because in the morning the light reflects off my back wall and it makes for a soft light in the morning. In the afternoon I get full sun in the back window so it fills up my kitchen so I can take a photo not in the sun but still has enough ambient (light that is everywhere) light.

I took this photo in my kitchen and the light was not directly on them, but there was enough light in the room that I could still get the photo

 Example 2:
Notice the direct light. It is coming in through the window so I have the lines from my blinds. It also highlights my food and that gives it more contrast which can look really nice in your photo.

2. Macro setting: Most cameras have a macro setting. It is the little symbol that looks like a flower. This changes the settings on your camera so it will take photos at a closer level. Very important, when you are taking photos of food you do not have to show all of the food. Say you made 20 cupcakes, don't try to get all 20 cupcakes in the shot, arrange the cupcakes and get up close to a couple of them so that you get the detail of the cupcake and use your macro setting so it is in focus.

3. Aperature: So, you are taking a photo of your cupcake and you don't have a ton of light, that is fine. You can flip your settings to AP which is aperature priority then adjust it ( usually you have to spin a little wheel or press the circle that is your menu button) until you get to the smallest number it will go to. That is usually a 2.8. That will let the most light into your camera and then your camera should adjust the shutter speed in order for your shot to work.

Example: 3
- See my little chick. This is shot with a 2.8 aperature, notice how the chick in the background is out of focus, along with the chips? That is what happens with a low aperature it will focus on what is closest to you and the background will be fuzzy. GREAT TECHNIQUE!

4. Use your timer: nobody utilizes this feature enough. The timer is what you use when you want to get everyone in the shot. The camera takes 10-30 seconds and then goes off on its own. So, you have a photo and it is kind of dark in the room so the photo is going to take longer than 1/30 of a second to go off. Unless you have an amazing sense of control, set the camera down and use your timer. That way your shot won't come out fuzzy because you were moving. If you have a tripod that is even better, it is easier to set the camera on there and then get it positioned and use your timer. On youtube they have videos on how to make your own camera stand in case you need one and are short on funds.

5. Attention to detail: I don't do this too much because I am usually shooting at the last minute, but if you are taking photos of food, pay attention to a couple details. 1- what is in the background? Does it go with the food or is it just junk left over from baking? 2-If you have multiple of something then pick the best looking one for the photo. 3-colors, what are you serving it on? What is it sitting on? Think of textures and colors, that is what makes a professional shot. This can be shown by my example 1 and example 2 photos. Example 1, I had a low aperature so my background came out fuzzy but it still looks kind of junky, not super clean and professional. Example 2- Better, I kept with just blacks and whites so it looks more professional.

Ok- have fun with it. If you do any good ones, let me know. I would love to post some photos from other people on this section.

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