First of all, I thank Lubna for giving me an episode in her Food Photography series. I am very happy to do the guest post here and secondly Happy New Year to all. Photography is more of an Art than Science. Photography is a great hobby which enables you to express yourself. Each and every person takes pictures in different ways, so it absolutely depends on their liking and their nature of interest. I am learning it everyday and still in learning process J. Anyways I am giving few pointers which I follow every time. Without writing more Introduction, lets jump right into the meat of it.
Get to know your Camera:
For a starter, it does not really matter about what kind of camera you have. Having to have a DSLR to get a great picture is a MYTH. Regardless of the type of camera, first get to understand and feel comfortable with your camera. You need to spend time to read your camera manual and to understand what it says and play around with the camera. This will help you to understand what the manual says and how to do it with the camera.There are two kind of major camera types – Point and Shoot and DSLR. Most of the Point and Shoot camera’s in the market today have different modes. Each mode is for a particular purpose; understand the purpose of the modes as well as the options available in each mode. Then play around with taking pictures of the same subject in different modes, this will help you understand the outcome in each of the modes. After you do this kind of exercise on different types, you will have a feel for the modes and it will be intuitive to you as to what mode has to be used based on the subject, lighting.Once you have mastered the different modes available in the camera, the next thing is to break the rules and go with your creative ideas to use different modes regardless of the subject and lighting. This will help you discover new things which will not be mentioned in the books or manual.
Evolution of my Food Blog:
When I Started:When I started my food blog I did not have props or a DSLR. I started with a point and shoot camera and with what was available to me in terms of utensils. Based on those my way of photographing was to take the raw ingredients of the food and make them stand out with my Garnishing.With my point and shoot camera and my simple plating:
Later:I got my DSLR and started exploring it, but I was shooting in Auto mode along with creative modes. Even though it was Auto mode and other modes using a DSLR made a lot of difference to the pictures, then I started to use some props for my pictures and using the props and DSLR took a different direction in my style of pictures compared to the initial days.Until Now:Then I started to take pictures in full manual mode and this opened a world of possibilities and I started learning and exploring manual photography. I fell in love with taking pictures in manual mode.This is my first picture in Manual ModeMy latest pictureFood Photography:Let’s get into specifics of food photography now.In Food Photography “Food” should be the star in the picture and nothing other than food.I am not going to touch about photography basics like Aperture, ISO, shutter speed, white balance because there is lot of literature about this available in the Internet.I am going to give you some take away points that I follow while taking food pictures.
1.Light:When you see the word Light a lot of people would think about Flash, that’s correct. But in the world of food photography “Natural Light” is the key source for good pictures. Natural light will bring out the real colors of the subject. I only use Natural light source for my food pictures with table setup beside a window. Light from different directions and different angles has the ability to change the personality of a photograph. So Play with different angles, light and composition.
2. Fresh Ingredients:Food is best when the ingredients are fresh. Fresh ingredients also have a vibrant color to it. Using Fresh ingredients along with food in the pictures makes the picture speak out.
3.Composing the Subject:With any kind of photography composing the subject is analogous to the blueprint of a building. Planning is the key to a successful photo; don’t get afraid that it’s a long process. Trust me a small planning would go a long way. When I say planning, I would visualize what all the things which would be the subject as well as how they have to be placed for the photo. Once you place it in the way you visualized, snap a picture or two and look at it, this will help to make some small changes. Finally when you keep the food on the plate then the whole stage is set for it.
4.Reflector:Reflectors come in different colors (Gold, Silver, and White etc). I use a white foam board as a Reflector to bounce the light back on to the subject and also to avoid shadows. White foam boards are not very expensive.
5. Composition:Earlier I have written about composing. Composing is about planning on how the things should be placed for the picture. Composition is specific to the pattern of placing the food in the picture. You can use the square in the view finder of the camera as a guideline and plan to keep the food in the center of the square. I try to do this to the possible extent.
Food Styling:Food styling is one of my favorite things in food photography. This does not require an introduction as to what this is, the word speaks for itself. Food styling is an ocean. With imagination, the possibilities are endless in food styling. You can create different moods in the picture based on your styling.I am going to share a few of my food styling tips.
1. Garnishing:As I have mentioned in the evolution part, in the starting days of my blog, garnishing my food went a long way. Garnishing is about adding the feather to the cap. Be it a simple or a complicated dish, garnishing makes the dish very appealing and inviting to the eyes.Keep it simple and neat.Things I would use for Garnishing:
a. Raw ingredients used in making the food
b. Herbs and Spices
c. Accompaniments which pair well with the food
d. A Simple carved vegetable like lemon wedges, sliced chilli etc.,Whether you use the above or some other items, keep it simple and elegant.
2. Theme:Theme is the backdrop for the dish. There are different themes which you can use like Rustic, Modern, White, Colorful, Event based etc. I choose my theme based on my mood.Here are pictures to make you get a feel for the theme.
Modern:Simple yet elegant garnish with modern look.
Here is another one
White based:Since the dish is very colorful I choose to keep the base as white, so that the dish would standout.Colorful:According to the complimentary color scheme in the color wheel, opposite colors makes a perfect couple, so in that case Green background and the color of cranberry makes a beautiful color contrast here.
This picture shows the Monochromatic color scheme
Casual dish – a tea time snack:Here is an example for casual snacking; the picture itself shows it’s a tea time snack. By keeping a book, tea cup and a newspaper in the BG tells us the story that is it casual appetizer…
Authentic look to the picture:This is a traditional sweet. To show it authenticity, the background and the bowl is chosen in the way to make the dish look traditional.
3. Props:Props refer to the utensils, cutleries, Flowers, Fabrics, decorative stuff etc which you are going to use in the picture. Choose your props based on the theme which you are using. This also works the other way. Back home, I am big into props for a long time even before I started my food blog. Have been collecting props and using it for decoration in the house. But all these things are back home and when I started my blog I did not have any of it with me.When it comes to Props anything works, imagination is the limit. I have become a Karung guni [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Karung_guni], my Singapore friends will start laugh reading this. Don’t get me wrong, I have not gone to that extent of going from house to house.Here is an example to show how the waste things work as beautiful props …
5.Tips and Tricks:I am sharing some of my tips and tricks with you.a. Show the vegetables fresh by sprinkling some water.b. When using Herbs for shooting, after sometime the Herbs will loose its freshness. At the point of time replace with new herbs, so that it will be fresh. (Follow this for food as well)c. Don’t the dump the plate or bowl with a truck load of food.d. I always make it a point to shoot a picture which shows the texture of the food. This is really important for the audience to know the texture of the food.e. When presenting dishes which has vegetables pull a few of the vegetables and place it on the top of the dish to me it visible and appealing.f. A little messiness like bite taken from the bowl, crackers etc , the empty messy plate gives a beautiful touch to the photograph and makes others to mouth water J Inspiration of food photograph is everywhere so keep it in mind and create your own unique style. Practice in different ways J Practice makes perfect … Hope you all enjoy my food photography post.Feel free to contact me for any questions.
If you have missed any of the entry under this series, then you can check by clicking on Food Photography and Styling (Season 1).