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Previously I have used a Sony DSLR A580 camera along with its 50mm 1.8 lens to take pictures of food. Personally, I really liked that lens. At the moment, I am back to my old Samsung i8 Point and Shoot Camera and am interested in getting close to similar results like those attained from the Sony for photographing food. There are various presets available in the Samsung, but none of them are as good. Kindly drop in your suggestions that would help me improve my shooting skills while photographing food with my Samsung.Sony DSLR-A580

Sony - 2 Sony - 3 Sony - 4

I could not provide a similar image for comparison of both the cameras (as Sony A580 is better than my point and shoot any day), but just presented an idea of what I am trying to capture.

PS: Sorry if the food is mouth-watering. :P

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It would indeed be helpful to see the kinds of shots you have taken with your Sony. Without a base for comparison, giving you advice to achieve a similar outcome will be rather difficult. –  jrista Nov 19 '11 at 7:55
    
I'll add more shots from my Sony to my question. –  Eagle Eye Nov 19 '11 at 7:58
    
It would also be helpful to understand your goals as well. Why do you shoot food? Is there an underlying professional purpose, or is it just a hobby? Are you looking for creative advice, or just technical advice? –  jrista Nov 19 '11 at 7:59
    
Its just a hobby as I would like to portray the pictures of the food that I cook :). I would want a creative advice. –  Eagle Eye Nov 19 '11 at 8:02
    
Please also indicate which pictures are from which camera, since they don't have sufficient EXIF data for us to to figure that out. –  drewbenn Nov 19 '11 at 8:51

3 Answers 3

up vote 5 down vote accepted

Actually a point-and-shoot is one of the best tool for taking photos for food.

I usually have a DSLR and a point-and-shoot with me, when I want to take photos of food however, I usually use the point-and-shoot thanks to its macro mode.

Most of us shoot our plate of food top-down, framing the shot so that the whole plate is included.

Sorry but that can quickly become boring after 5 shots.

Macro mode is usually found on point-and-shoot. DSLR on the other hand has very limited macro ability until you actually go spend some money on a macro lens.

That is why I prefer using my point-and-shoot! It can shoot the details! I can focus as close as 3 or 4 cm and get very nice photo of my food. My point-and-shoot has a flip-out screen so I can shoot from all kinds of angle.

I can shoot across the plate horizontally without leaving my chair and ducking by the side of the table. I can fill the entire photo with the actual food showing its texture.

As a bonus, usually its easy to get the food in focus since point-and-shoot has a high DOF.

Trust me, a point-and-shoot is better than a DSLR with a kit lens when it comes to food.

You need to get the White Balance right, and you need to light the food well. The best light is when you are eating right next to a huge and bright window at day time.

At night, however, you must find ways to create a soft and pleasing light, which usually involves the use of an external flash. This is not an option for you it seems so I will just leave it.

You also want to make your food look YUMMY. If it is hot food you are shooting, steam will be a plus. Food when freshly prepared are usually shinny since they are wet or there are oil, so if you leave it for too long it will become dull and it will not look nice.

There are things that you can do to create steam and make your food shinny, two simple ways are:

  • light a cigarette and place it behind the food
  • using a spraying bottle, spray oil on your food to keep it looking fresh

Of course, these may not be the best thing to do when you are planning to actually eat it, but you can definitely keep in mind and try these out when you are allowed to

Lastly food photography actually is very often fake. Ice cream made of clay.... boiling water is actually ice cold with air bubbles manually pumped into it.... etc

So be creative. Good luck!

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Obviously these IMHO but I would:

There is a lot you can do, all of it very important no matter what camera you have. As a starting point:

  1. Better presentation of the food
  2. Lower/More interesting Angels
  3. Clean Background
  4. Clean Foreground
  5. Smaller portions with more garnish
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4  
Hi awm! This is the start of a great answer. Can you elaborate a bit on each of the points? –  mattdm Nov 19 '11 at 13:47
  1. Lighting! Watch those shadows — most of your images have shadows in places that detract rather than contribute positively to the compostion. Try to get rid of the dark harsh shadows, and have subtle, light shadows that give shape to the food (rather than just outline the tableware). Put the food near a window (perhaps with a semi-translucent shade drawn). Avoid using the built-in flash, although you may want to consider using it as the trigger for a slave flash like the Metz mecablitz 28 CS-2. (There are cheaper slave flashes, but this one is designed for P&S cameras.) You can cover the camera's built-in flash with visibly black but IR-transparent material, and then it'll trigger the remote without ruing the shot.
  2. Use macro mode, and get close (probably at the long end of the camera's zoom range, too). That's the most effective way to get shallow depth of field with a point & shoot, and that's generally the style for food photoraphy.
  3. Follow the general tips for food photography here. Style the food as much as possible — garnish and fancy stuff. Set up the background and the scene; set the table nicely, move stuff out of the way that you don't want to be there. Frame tightly.
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I was trying to make use of macro mode, but its not that easy to figure out with my camera. I know its usually symbolized with a little flower, but how do I make sure that my camera chooses a larger aperture to allow more focusing on the subject rather than the background? –  Eagle Eye Nov 19 '11 at 14:24
3  
@Nerds.Dont.Swear I don't know if you can with that camera. However, since it's a small-sensor camera, changing the aperture doesn't help much and using macro mode will have a much larger influence. This should be covered under Is it possible to take shallow depth of field photos with point-and-shoot cameras?, but that question was one of the first on the site and the answers are kind of all over the map. :) –  mattdm Nov 19 '11 at 14:31

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