Charter Member||Tue 13-Dec-11 01:49 AM|
#3. "RE: Need some advice on food photography"|
In response to Reply # 0
- Use a clean, non-busy background, no clutter. The idea is to emphasize the food. Make sure the background and the food are sharply contrasting. More often than not, for example, I'm using a plain white plate for the food, which generally has lots of color to set the food off.
- You've got to get your white balance "right," or can I say, at least not "wrong." Meat should be shot in warm tones. You need to watch the natural light "blues" as there's nothing worse than blueish meat, or gray meat for that matter, for example. If you're forced to use fluorescent light, remember that will give your food a blueish look if your white balance isn't right.
- Don't overlook even small details when you setup your shots, as they can make a huge difference. Clean plates, bowls, serving pieces and silverware, etc. can make a big difference compared to plates with a stain, or a fork with a water stain on it.
- Don't be afraid to cut it up. You don't have to take the food as it was cooked, for example. Consider cutting it open as it can make for a great shot. Cut a layer cake open to see the layers. Slice a roast beef with slices carefully laid on top of each other, and consider drizzling on some gravy. Make sure the beef is very rare as medium meat grays quickly and frankly, well done meat is ugly to most people. Speaking of gravy, a clump of mashed potatoes sitting on a plate is darn boring, for example. Consider gravy, a dollop of butter melting on top, maybe some chives sprinkled on it, etc. Even strawberries in a bowl could be dressed up with a bit of whipped cream.
- Use natural lighting whenever possible, in my opinion, or if you must use artificial light, consider shooting the food in a light tent for diffusion, with lighting which has a daylight color temperature. You could shoot near a window too. Don't use the harsh light of a strobe. If you've got to use it, bounce it or diffuse it, if you can't go to a light tent.
- Sharpness and detail is important so use a tripod to get the camera/lens still. Watch your use of depth of field and use it creatively to make the subject stand out.
- Get close to the food if possible. It will help bring out the textures and details, which can make the shot more interesting and the food more enticing.
- Try taking the food photos from many angles. Don't just take a bird’s eye view. Don't be afraid to get low, very low. Consider moving the food around to try different food setups, one of which may work better than the others.
- Use props like a glass or bottle of wine with a steak, OJ with the plate of pancakes, or a syrup container. Try having someone pour syrup on the pancakes and take photos as it drips down over the edges of a stack, and don't have a small stack either. Make it big. Jazz up the cupcakes with something colorful, maybe hearts or sprinkles.
- Do hesitate to cheat. Some foods will have an attractive glisten if you brush on vegetable oil. If you need something to look wet, oil can help there too. Get steam coming out of food which would be served just out of the oven by using microwaved cotton balls that have been soaked in water.
- Consider cropping in tightly. A tight crop can keep the shot simple which can emphasize the main subject of the shot.
- Mist fruit, vegetables, and glassware with water to create condensation and make them look more appetizing.
- Shooting a bowl of soup? Dress it up with a dollop of sour cream or other contrasting color product and maybe swirl it around.
- Use the rule of thirds. The rule of thirds can help you to give compositional strength to your photos.
- Smaller dishes are generally better because it's generally easier to fill them up attractively with food, preventing the dish from looking bare. Don't over fill the plates or bowls.
- As mentioned above, color tone is important. Use something like a Macbeth color checker. I always shoot a color chart on every food or color sensitive shoot.
- Shooting ice cream? Fake's better than the real thing.
Take for example your shot of the cookies in the green and white cloth. The cloth looks dirty and the contrast isn't very appetizing. The cloth isn't crisp looking and the color combo detracts from the star of the photo, the cookies.
Please don't take this as an insult, but the sorry little "tree" with the single Christmas ball in the next photo is really a poor composition. That "tree" makes the whole photo look very sad, in my opinion.
I hope the tips and criticism helps.
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