Food photography questions, queries and advice

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous Food Discussions' started by morning glory, Nov 1, 2016.

  1. morning glory

    morning glory Obsessive cook Staff Member

    I started taking food photographs just over a year ago - and the first few pictures I took were pretty dreadful! Since then, I think I've improved a lot, but not by going on a course - just by looking at how other people did it and by experimenting. You can take great food photos even if you are simply using the camera in your smart phone! This image was taken on a smartphone:
    20161022_160538.jpg

    So - if you want some advice or just want to show us some examples of your photographs (even the ones that failed) then please post here. Or just ask a question, however dumb it seems.
     
    Last edited: Nov 3, 2016
    winterybella likes this.
  2. Yorky

    Yorky Uncomfortably numb

    Mod.Edit: This post and the following few posts have been moved from another thread.

    MG - It's worth looking at the latest generation flash units. Expensive but the results are very good (or should be when I learn how to use mine properly).
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 3, 2016
    morning glory likes this.
  3. Yorky

    Yorky Uncomfortably numb

    I am still of the opinion that a strategically placed bounced flash would have filled in those dark areas satisfactorily.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 3, 2016
  4. SatNavSaysStraightOn

    SatNavSaysStraightOn (Site Owner) Staff Member Recipe Challenge Judge

    Location:
    NSW, Australia
    Not photographing it with the sunshining across it would probably have been better! I'll process the other raw file tomorrow. It was taken inside without the Sunshine making it look nicer.

    Or did you mean make 24 from 12¿
     
  5. morning glory

    morning glory Obsessive cook Staff Member

    Thanks. Send me a link if you have one.
     
  6. Yorky

    Yorky Uncomfortably numb

    Obviously this book is geared toward Canon but the basic principles are the same. I have the ebook (mobi) if you're interested.

    "Mastering Canon EOS Flash Photography" - NK Guy
     
    morning glory likes this.
  7. SatNavSaysStraightOn

    SatNavSaysStraightOn (Site Owner) Staff Member Recipe Challenge Judge

    Location:
    NSW, Australia
    It's ok. Thanks. Whilst everything is canon, I have actually done a training course in canon flashes in the days of my old canon eos 40D. I don't have an external one anymore though, it wasn't a bit of kit needed for cycling astound the world (!) and rely on the built in flash of the 2 powershot cameras we have (the 5Dii not having a built in flash at all), both the G15 and the G7X.
     
  8. morning glory

    morning glory Obsessive cook Staff Member

    Photographing food with direct sun and shadow is not usually a good idea. Diffused flat light is best as I'm sure you know! I have made the same mistake myself. But sometimes shadows can be used to effect. I quite liked this one I took back in summer, for example:

    IMGP0717.jpg

    We are veering way off topic but not sure there enough people interested in food photography to start a new thread...!
     
  9. morning glory

    morning glory Obsessive cook Staff Member

    Disaster! I took the memory card out of the Pentax - then it wouldn't go back in! I sort-of pushed it a bit harder and it is now firmly wedged half way in. Completely stuck at an angle. So the connection is now warped I'm sure. :cry::cry::cry:

    Is it worth getting it repaired? Its a Pentax K-x.
     
  10. SatNavSaysStraightOn

    SatNavSaysStraightOn (Site Owner) Staff Member Recipe Challenge Judge

    Location:
    NSW, Australia
    Took these yesterday in the sunshine outside... think the second one has compulsory fill in flash - not that it made much difference. Could have done with cooking the cookies for a touch longer. Their remains are now in the freezer to restrict the number I eat in any one session. I'm going through one of those phases... morphine does that to you.

    IMG_6182.JPG


    IMG_6186.JPG

    OK the table needs work...and I don't have any plain plates but...
     
    winterybella likes this.
  11. SatNavSaysStraightOn

    SatNavSaysStraightOn (Site Owner) Staff Member Recipe Challenge Judge

    Location:
    NSW, Australia
    Pentax K-x - probably not. It was reviewed on dpreview.com back in 2009 so I suspect given that would make it at the very minimum 7-8 years old, it really is not worth it.
    Didn't realise it could take in RAW format. Anyhow, anything that age is going to be difficult to get repaired and probably in £££. I take it you don't have camera insurance? What about your household insurance? Accidental damage cover?
     
  12. morning glory

    morning glory Obsessive cook Staff Member

    If you want my crit: - ideally it should not have the black shadow cast by the plate and biscuits overhanging it. Its because its shot in direct sun I expect. Its always best to shoot in diffused light. Re the background. Tatty looking backgrounds are all the rage in food photography (shabby chic) - but probably not in quite that orangey wood colour. Its also best not to choose a background of a similar colour to the biscuits!

    The biscuits look great though!:D
     
    SatNavSaysStraightOn likes this.
  13. SatNavSaysStraightOn

    SatNavSaysStraightOn (Site Owner) Staff Member Recipe Challenge Judge

    Location:
    NSW, Australia
    It was a case of needs must. I can't carry things far and the table gets put out each morning along with the hammock for me to use as an alternative to sit in. The bad back issues make sitting down interesting the broken ribs just add to the issues! The hammock gives me a number of different positions and because it's a double hammock (all the way from Brazil) it makes my life much easier. the chair in the sunroom is great until a certain time in the day, then it gets to warm in there and also the sun stays to shine directly through the window. I ban get a couple hours more before the sun finds its way to the hammock on the verandah.

    Something large is currently attacking the laundry window, attracted by the light from the toilet! Not is that a large mouth (or small bat? I assume Australia had bats?)

    Back to the biscuits. They are on my list to review the recipe and pay it up here. I think I changed it enough to post here just by my stubbornness not to waste expensive ingredients. The recipe actually worked though! No egg, no grains, technically no nuts with a peanut not being a nut, and I'm sure there was something else in the no list but can't remember now. Not put so many on the plate in guessing it's the first answer and 2 find a cloth to go over the table. I have a few tea towels that would do. I liked the light.. I didn't think the shadows were they had are they? Food photography is going to be very boring otherwise. I might just go back to landscapes....
     
  14. morning glory

    morning glory Obsessive cook Staff Member

    Well - I do think that biscuits are very very difficult to photograph. They sort of sit there looking, well, brown! I'm not sure if I've ever managed any decent biscuit photographs myself, yet! Perhaps I had better try. Cakes are also very difficult, I find.

    But I can only advise that, from an aesthetic point of of view, you are wrong about the light (the harsh shadows), Whilst I'm not a professional food photographer, my past career is entirely in the visual arts. I used to be Head of a College of Art and Design in the University sector and so I do know how to crit an image! Sorry - I really did't want mention this but I felt you ought to know. :)

    As an independent check on this I showed your photograph to my partner (who is not a visual artist) and asked him to crit it 'as a photograph'. The first thing he said was that he didn't like the black shadows.

    Anyway, I realise its difficult to get the right kind of light especially when you have mobility issues. I often shoot images in light shade and then have to work on brightening them in post-production. I will try and post a before and after to demonstrate.

    The table would be fine if it was rubbed down and lightly whitewashed... and tea-towels or other fabrics make good backdrops. Plain fabric is usually better than patterned - but some patterning can be used to effect (see below)). Regarding the plate. You don't have to use a plate, of course. You could put them on a cooling rack, for example or in the baking tray.

    Like this (note the crumbs which make the biscuits look more appetising):

    611759-1-eng-GB_savoury-biscuit-recipes-960x420.jpg

    Or this:

    279_spiced-cookies.jpg
    P.S. Should I be quoting the source of these photos?
     
    winterybella likes this.
  15. SatNavSaysStraightOn

    SatNavSaysStraightOn (Site Owner) Staff Member Recipe Challenge Judge

    Location:
    NSW, Australia
    I'm not saying your wrong. It's just had habit even seen the shadows of the biscuits on the plates until now! And I guess I see them differently because I don't see them as black epithet but I'm not the next judge, they are just a paste of biscuits to me and I find that I don't even have a cooking wrack, it's on the list which I know isn't going to happen!
    I can see what you are saying about crumbs but crumbs with these biscuits and you failed to make them properly out
    Right in falling asleep Austin so....
     
    morning glory likes this.

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