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20

Regarding composition, it's important to judge all the things that are in the frame. Everything in the frame either hurts or adds to the picture. In this sample picture, the flower pot and glass pane give a clear hint that the photo is made on a window sill. While people do like to eat in a table near window, only few would consider window sill as a ...


20

I've shot plenty of wedding cakes (all on location) and whilst the techniques vary I can offer some general advice on the location side of things to complement Stan's fine answer on lighting techniques. Lighting wise I use a bounced hotshoe flash whenever there's a white or neutral ceiling. Otherwise it's ambient light. One way cakes are not like people is ...


19

Composition: the window pane, blue bowl, and cut-off edges of the plate are distracting. I also find the silver plate itself to be a composition problem: all of the highlights and shadows make it a distracting element. It's dark behind the food -- is this a reflection of you? On the right, behind the lemon reflection is something that looks sort of like a ...


17

Rachael, it sounds like your aperture is set to a wide aperture (low f-number), allowing lots of light in, but at the expense of a very narrow 'depth-of-field'. This creates a thin slice of focus where anything before or after is blurry. Let's assume you're 2 feet away from your subject when taking a photo with your 50mm lens. Most common SLR 50mm lenses ...


16

Q: I'm interested in food photography. That's actually a broader statement than you may realize. Are you interested in professional food photography? Taking pictures of food that you've made? Taking pictures of food objects (say, a tomato or a carrot), or prepared food products (say, a gumbo, or a ham sandwich)? Q: What lens are best for food photography? ...


16

Absolutely. This effect is achieved very simply with lighting. Most likely she had a light behind the towel as well as having sufficient light in front of the towel. By setting her exposure properly she guaranteed the background would end up pure white. This is a pretty common technique. You see it with a lot of model pictures on a white background. Those ...


15

Let's start with the obvious, which you already know: Smitten Kitchen's photos firstly look good because they show off good food. Your photo looks unappealing because it's a pile of chocolate smeared in a bowl. Presentation is such an important part to making food look good -- if you can make it look good to eat in real life, then you at least have the ...


12

Cakes aren't particularly difficult subjects to shoot, so you don't have to be very picky about getting a particular lens. Having a clear, sharp lens is a good thing, to resolve detail. When I was shooting my wife's cakes, I used my Nikon 50mm f/1.8D for full-cake shots. It's very sharp; it's also nice because it's very cheap. The only downside is that it ...


12

Use a substitute to get the lighting, perspective, depth of field and background elements placed just right. Then replace with the real heated food when ready. If your food will be in a bowl, you can partially fill the bowl with paper, foil, rice, so that you only put the food on the very top, so use less of it, reserving more for later shots.


12

What you seem to be missing here is having an idea of what would be a better picture. "Better/worse" is a strongly personal scale, so it cries for having your personal opinion mixed in. To solve that, look at photos of the same genre/subject that others have made. Searching by keyword on Google or Flickr should bring enough study material. If you like any ...


10

The most important property that separates a macro lens from others is its maximum magnification. While there are many food items for which you don't need much magnification, such as anything that fills a whole plate, it will become relevant when you want to concentrate on some detail or have a smaller item (such as a cookie or truffle). Also, since macro ...


10

Well there are two types of food photography: product shots (for menus), and food documentation for blogs, recipes etc. Product shots are a whole different ball game. Often these "models" are constructed using materials that simulate the look and texture of the food--designed to stand up to rigors of product shots. For example, using lard to for shots Ice ...


10

I've recently started taking shots of food as well. I don't have anything particularly great to show for my efforts yet, however I have noticed that you can keep shooting for a while before the food actually starts to appear unappetizing. Additionally, if it starts to look dry, you might just want to keep a spray bottle with water in it on hand to mist and ...


9

Generally anybody who says "Don't use flash, it won't look natural" about any photography, means don't use direct, on camera, harsh small flash - because it doesn't look natural. Mixing flash and ambient like you're doing or even doing all flash with sufficient softboxes and such is just fine and can produce some wonderful results. As usual, rules in ...


9

Addressing your surfaces question, I tried a couple things before I read somewhere (I forget now) to buy some 3'x4' poster board from a craft store and paint them several colors you like then use them as surfaces and backdrops for you photos. Most of the later photos I shot here were done using my poster boards. There are some even more adventurous ...


8

The book I would recommend: Plate to Pixel. Everything you need right there and it was written by a friend of mine. It is by far the most complete and most comprehensive "how-to" book out there. Better than any blog (my own included).


8

For some reason I can't see the image linked above. But anyways based on what I've read from few responses I assume the towel is pure white or blown out in the background. Here is a quick diagram to help you visualize: top view. All you need is two lights. Set up your main light first, get the exposure you like. Then add second light that is 1 or more ...


7

Cakes: IMO, for cakes the view point which makes them appetizing is including their side walls. This means that one should shoot from the cake's eye level. Side walls of the cake show its inner fillings and therefore makes it more pleasing to the eyes. In the case of cake, if one piece is chopped off and laid in the plate with the cake knife on the side ...


7

One other trick you may want to try, in addition to @Imre and @Dan Wolfgang's great suggestions is to try bokeh. I took a look at the website you're trying to submit your photos to and in addition to be well lit from the front, including removing distracting items, using warm colouring and so on, is using a shallow focus. Some shots those photographers are ...


6

One thing I didn't realise until doing the photographs at a friend's wedding recently (and the groom's sister had made the cake) is that a cake can have a front and a back (yes, even the round ones). The back is where ribbons and any creases in the icing join up and once you look out for it you can spot it but it's something that can be easily overlooked if ...


6

Styling is an art unto itself when it comes to food photography. Essentially, you're basically not photographing food! For example, motor oil is often used as a substitute for various syrups, white glue for milk, and more. The Photocritic website has a good rundown on some of the styling tricks used in food photography. Just be warned, you may never quite ...


6

I find in food photography a good trick is to frame tightly, so that some food or dish does not fit the frame entirely. It gives a a nice feeling of abundance. For example (two random shots taken from the Flickr food group), for me this dish looks more attractive: And this dish looks less interesting:


6

My first suggestion would be to crop tighter. Don't include both the frosted glass table and the cutting board; include only the cutting board. I, personally, would shoot a lot on a wooden cutting board. I like the warmth and it seems like a great connection to the kitchen without showing a cluttered countertop or other prep area, for example. I see you've ...


6

This sounds to be a simple matter of you not focusing on the right part of the image. You don't mention what camera you have, but if it's a DSLR it will have the ability to spot focus. Spot focus lets you manually determine what the camera autofocuses on rather than leaving it up to the camera to decide. You will be able to select it in your camera's ...


5

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 ...


5

As a point to consider - recently, CreativeLIVE had a weekend workshop on food photography w/ famous photog Penny De-Los Santos. She used mainly the 24-105mm f4L and 70-200mm f/2.8 on an EOS 5DmkII (full frame) camera during the workshop. You can see the full gear list here. That said, when shooting food the studio style, you have control on most of the ...



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