Some journeys never end….so is my quest to learn and learn more never stops….In today’s post Binjal of Binjal’s Veg Kitchen who is not only known for her appetizing recipes but also famous for her ‘dig right into’ food photography and styling is here to share with us her Camera journey…A fascinating journey which all started with a mobile camera and continuing with DSLR….
Hi I’m Binjal Pandya. I am a food blogger and a food photographer. I have a blog named Binjal’s VEG Kitchen. First of all I would like to thanks Lubna to inviting me to write about my journey, mobile camera to DSLR Camera, really amazing concept loved it.
I started my blog almost 2 years back just for fun or you can say for time pass. I love cooking and love to try new things every day, so my blog is an open source where I put everything publicly. Seemingly overnight – because of my husband’s job- we’d find ourselves in route to the USA. After coming to the USA, life would not be the same as we had. One day near the end of September 2014 – I was just surfing the internet and fortunately I stumbled across one of the incredible food blogger and got the inspiration to do something like that. Since that I’ve cultivated my hidden passion and love into this amazing blogging world. My husband’s belief in my cooking and the passion do something extraordinary he encouraged me to start my Facebook recipe page and finally I opened it in April 2014 (prior to our website). To our surprise we’d gotten a got good response from readers! So we decided to open a blog and start blogging my recipes and started posting pictures of my delicious creations. In the beginning I started taking food pictures on my cell phone for recipes images and then after couple of months through DSLR.
Actually I personally believe that food photograph is one of the hard earned skill because you have to consider lots of thing to get one good photo shoot. And moreover now a days editing also becomes one of the great skill which can make your photo to super shot. However, I must say it is easier though these days, no matter who you are; even a smartphone can yield gorgeous and high-quality images, and you could also edit through mobile apps.
However, when you have a DSLR, you have to deal with lots of camera setups and lenses. And you should know how to use them better, because it can help you to shoot a great photo easier, but they’re by no means necessary to the process. Just think of all the amazing Instagram photos. Most of are taken from mobiles still they looks amazing. And sometime if you see magazine photos are not that impressive and fancy. It’s just an understanding of what it takes to compose an appealing image and the confidence to execute your vision.
A great photograph is never been a fluke. It is all about composition, lighting, and styling, regardless of whether you’re using a DSLR or a mobile.
As I said, even I started my photography journey through mobile. However, after witnessing my progress and commitment in blogging, my wonderful husband presented me with my first DSLR Nikon D7100 camera with 18-140mm lens, and recently I bought 105mm and 50mm lenses to shoot photos with more precisions. You can also notice a difference in my earlier recipe pictures on my blog which were taken using a cell phone. Now, photography becomes my passion with cooking. Not only food, but I love to snap pictures of everything nature related; things like flowers, birds, landscapes and my children’s activities.
Ok let’s move to the learn how to use mobile camera in food photography, some tips and tricks.
- One of the important thing in the food photography is light like focus, intensity, angle, natural or artificial light on the subject. Yes don’t be surprise all these does matter and believe me if you know how to play around with this. You can become one of the best photographer. And I think every food photographer will tell you same. You must avoid using the flash light of your camera(unless you’re using it as foreground fill with other side lighting), as it creates harsh, uneven lighting when used alone. I personally like to shoot in the natural light, so take your photos near a window or outdoors.
- As I said lighting is the key for food photography. You just need to know how to play with it. If the light is coming from your window it can be too harsh then you have to diffuse it with parchment paper or a thin, white bed sheet. If you need shadow on the right side of your food? make sure your light source should be in the left side and vice versa. If you need brighter photo then use a homemade bounce board and place it directly opposite of the light source. I would say white foam core is best, but silver or gold aluminum foil also creates a lovely effect. To create a foil bounce board, carefully crumble the foil and tape it to the foam core. This will subtly scatter the reflected light.
- Create interest with how you choose to capture the essence of your food. While most shots look best from a30-degree angle, it depends on what you’re photographing. Stacked foods (like pancakes and cookies) look best with a straight-on shot to emphasize the height of the stack, and decorated table settings are best photographed with an overhead shot. Although a close-up shot is usually your best bet, sometimes it’s better to pull the camera back and have your food pop out instead of filling up the entire shot. When it comes to cropping, either display the food in its entirety or crop only one side of it. Cropping multiple sides of the food produces a choppy image.
- Props also one of the key thing in food photography after the light. You could use props like utensils, napkins, extra garnishing (like fresh herbs) and any ingredients. However, you must use your best sense to use this else rather than making photo super it can make negative space on it.
- Now last but not the least is the editing part. I believe now a day every photographer does this. If you are good in editing you can make your photo awesome. Yu can touch up the cropping, color levels, contrast, and sharpening elements of a photo. You can use any good photo editing software there are so many available in the market. If you are using mobile then you have lot more options. Download free photo editing apps like Snapseeds and Picasa,etc…
Here are some pics which I clicked by my mobile phone camera and then edited in snapseed.
As I told you before that after seeing my mobile phone pictures my husband gifted me Nikon D7100 with prime after few months. When I got this camera I was totally newbie for this gadget, so it was the biggest task to use this. However I would say YouTube help me a lot to learn basic things. Some tips are same as mobile phone like background, lights, setup, and angels!!! But remember experience does matter. That is why do lots of practice and try to learn new things. First time result won’t be good, may be second time too, but eventually you could see improvement in your work and it will lead to boost your confident. You could also see my photos have improved with practice (lots and lots of it) over the time. Here are few tips and tricks I can offer about food photography and equipment.
Some tips how to took a good photo from camera or basic things
- Again It’s all about the light! And moreover intensity of the light on the subject. You should have to learn how to adjust the intensity of the light. Here are some tips for getting started.Use natural light and do not use overhead lights, lamps or your built-in flash.
- Don’t use kitchen for the food photography unless you have natural light coming in. You could use another room or place depending on the light and convenient. Try taking photos from multiple angles and pick your favorite
- If you are using props then make sure, it should be too many else it can help your photo clutter and it does not look good. It can distract the focus from the subject.
Some common food photography issues
- If your hands are not stable or shaking while taking photos, then your photos can get blurry. To avoid this, you can do couple of things. 1) hold your camera steadier 2) use a tripod 3) you can also use tripod with remote if it is available 3) use a faster shutter speed 4) raise your ISO to decrease the amount of light needed
- If you are editing photos, then make sure to take photos in RAW format. It is easier to adjust color RAW format. You could also use editing software to adjust colors and white balance, which are also off Couse very important in photos. Sometimes a few little edits can really make a photo pop.
- If still your photos does not like professional then don’t be surprise. As lenses of camera also very important. However, you need to learn a lot before playing with lenses. Experienced food photographers use lenses that allow them to narrow their depth of field to highlight the subject of the photo.
So these basic things keep in your mind for good photos.
Here is some of food pictures clicked my Nikon D7100
Thank you Brinjal for taking out time and writing down this wonderful post.
You can find Binjal @
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