FOOD PHOTOGRAPHY PDF
Notice of Liability. The information in this book is distributed on an “As Is” basis, without warranty. While every precaution has been taken in the preparation of. Here you can download or read online some ebooks about food photography and get a lot better pictures as the result of reading those free PDF books. Not only. Supplies Often Used in Food Styling. Chapter Sets and Settings. Basics to Consider When Planning Food Photography. What's the Point of the.
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Hello and thanks for getting my first ebook! This will be the first of many. I am Christina Peters and I am a commercial food photographer. I started teaching food. cept and recipe developer, plus food stylist), and I began planning a joint per- sonal food photography project, primar- ily for our respective portfolios. Sarah's. A note of inspiration from Michael I've had a passion for photography since I was a little kid. My Digital Photography in Available Light. Pages··
This type of metering is especially helpful with backlit subjects, because it lets you measure the light bouncing off the center of the subject and expose appropriately for that area instead of the brighter light in the background. Photographers doing a lot of close-up shots of food will also appreciate being able to measure the light at the center and in a small area of the frame, and meter appropriately for the capture.
This setting gives priority to the center portion of the frame though, which works great for still-life pictures and portraits. The camera measures the light in several areas of the frame and then analyzes this data to calculate with algorithms proprietary to each manufacturer the best exposure for the circumstance. While setting your exposure, metering is an added tool that gives you even greater control.
This is always a good thing to know when you are having problems with exposure and need to try a couple of different settings. White Balance As the quality of light changes through the course of a day and in different lighting conditions, your White Balance setting will need to be adjusted in order to accommodate changes in the color casts of whites and neutral tones throughout a scene. Adjusting the White Balance setting is necessary so that the colors in your picture are represented as close as possible to real life colors, where whites are neutral white—and all the other colors are balanced to reflect the ones you see in a scene with your naked eye.
Make this adjustment when you set up your exposure.
Everything has an orange cast to it. This happens because different light sources have different color temperatures, which are measured using the Kelvin scale.
If your camera offers a Kelvin reading to adjust your white balance, it might be a good idea to get familiar with it, especially in post processing. Instead, it has different modes available for you to adjust the white balance.
Since all camera brands and models are created differently, read through your manual to get familiar with the White Balance settings that your camera offers.
Most digital cameras offer a preset of White Balance modes—including Daylight, Cloudy, Tungsten, Auto—as well as a custom function that offers yet another level of control by enabling you to set the white balance manually. Your camera may have more or fewer options, or it might name the options differently, than the ones described below; but these are the most common White Balance modes: Auto: The camera will meter the light and adjust the white balance automatically.
This setting works in many situations, but it can be too restrictive for some shots. Cloudy: This setting offers a nice warm touch to a daylight setting. I find it particularly helpful when I shoot late Fall and early Winter afternoons.
It tones down some of the silver cast of items that would benefit from a warm touch, such as breads, cakes, fruits, etc. Tungsten: I use this setting when shooting indoors and with incandescent bulb lighting, such as in restaurants. This mode cools down the colors nicely. Flash: This mode is similar to Cloudy on most cameras, and it offers the same warm touch. The specific how-to may differ by brand and model, but the principle remains the same: You essentially give your camera a reading of what whites should look like, and your camera takes it as a reference point to adjust the surrounding colors.
Schedule Time to Practice Settings As with any photo situation that involves camera setup, your results are much more likely to be positive if you first assess what you are going to do, what you want to convey and how much time you have to do it. Consider establishing a schedule for exploring the different settings: Monday might be your minute shooting session, while Thursday might be an entire day off dedicated to shooting multiple recipes. Who knows? The only wrong way to photograph is to not use your camera.
Be sure that the white object covers the entire frame of your camera. If you are really into custom white balance, there are several products available to pros that are not outrageously expensive or overly complicated to use. Check out Digital Calibration Target or Expodiscs. See Resources in appendices for website addresses. You can also use grey cards in post production.
If one image is shot with the grey card in it and one is shot without it, the adjustments can be made as you process and compare the two versions. You can adjust and re-adjust at will in post production. But the beauty of getting the shot set correctly before you press the shutter button is more time to photograph—and do other stuff you enjoy.
Minimizing time in front of a computer to fix images means more time to cook and shoot new images and hang out with friends and family. Achieving out-of-the-camera accuracy is more likely if you shoot a scene within a short period of time. This is a great situation if you have a block of time set up for your photography, but not so great if you are trying to shoot your eggplant parmesan before dinner and before it gets completely cold. Camera Modes Photographers can be pretty adamant about the camera modes they favor.
Discussions among photographers often resemble the banter of chefs postulating on their preferred cookware. So how do you decide which one to pick? But that would be short changing you.
Each camera mode has its purpose—and pros and cons—that has very little to do with preference. So while Auto mode can be very helpful in some cases, using it means that the camera makes all the decisions for you … aperture, shutter speed, light metering—everything!
And relying on your camera to make all these important adjustments can only take you so far. So be the boss of your camera. When you challenge yourself to interpret a scene and respond to it, your creativity will soar. You have to learn Manual. These components are constant. I personally consider Manual mode my safety spot. When you increase one, you have to decrease the other to keep the same exposure. It works the opposite way to achieve deep depth of field.
In this case, you need to play opposite scales … between the shutter speed and aperture … to keep getting the correct exposure.
To capture flow, or show motion, please refer to the Shutter Priority section further below. Manual does not have many downsides, but it does require a full understanding of exposure and the relationship between depth of field aperture and time. Manual would make it tricky to catch all the shots in a quick-changing situation. Aperture Priority One primary difference between Manual and Aperture Priority modes is that the latter automatically adjust the shutter speed after you select the aperture and ISO.
This makes it a bit easier than when in Manual to set your exposure properly. Notice in the set of images on the left—each photograph was shot at a different aperture—how much or how little is in focus depending on the camera setting. Using different degrees of shallow depth of field can be useful in telling a story through composition and styling.
Food and drinks free photography eBook(PDF).
See Chapters to find more information on Composition and Styling. Try placing the main dish in focus and blurring out other servings, props and ingredients to help convey a certain mood. These pears were shot with a wide aperture and shallow depth of field. I am exaggerating slightly, but you get the idea. I know that a lot of food photographers aim for shallow depth of field, but it is far more likely that a reader will get excited about a pie if s he can see at least half a slice in focus versus only the tip of the crust.
Another thing to keep in mind when shooting in Aperture Priority mode is how to use the exposure compensation button EV or Exposure Value button on your camera. Since being in this mode necessarily means you are not in Manual—and thus cannot adjust the shutter speed to give you proper exposure —learning how to turn exposure up or down can really help. Just remember, depending on your camera brand and model, the exposure compensation button might have a different icon or increment scale.
Issue 2 Color & Camera
So how do you choose the right aperture and focus point to get the depth of field you want? It really depends on what part of the dish you want to feature. Is it the whole plate, the whole table, or maybe just the tomato perched on top of a salad?
Ask yourself what you are trying to say with your image and how much you want to reveal … versus suggest. Practice to see which setting works best for you. One last thing to consider when shooting in Aperture Priority mode is its limitations when trying to capture the movement of liquids … or ingredients splashing into liquids. This mode does not focus on time, like Shutter Priority mode described below does.
If your exposure is good to start with, setting the aperture compensation button at -2 generates a very under-exposed dark picture. But by using a faster shutter speed, you can freeze the movement of the water. Notice the bubbles and ripples that are created as the water hits the berries and flows out of the bowl. That said, the ability to capture movement is not the only benefit of the Shutter Priority mode. This mode also allows for deep depth of field to be achieved through small apertures and long exposures slow shutter speeds.
It can be extremely helpful when shooting in natural light, in situations where very little actual light is available. As you can see, there is not one right way to shoot … or even a best way to get the shot you need. How could it not be good for my purpose? Yes, I am primarily a natural-light photographer. I had very little photo equipment when I began photographing food. I started much like most other novice food photographers.
That is, I was taking pictures in the kitchen and quickly realizing that the yellow light in that space was not ideal. And even with white balance manipulations—See Chapter 2 Camera Settings and Modes for more on setting your white balance—my photographs moved up to okay. So I moved to the coffee table that was positioned right in the middle of the living room, between two windows. In the southeast region of the United States, where I currently reside, good weather and lots of sunshine prevail over rain and dark days.
So I take full advantage of this good photo lighting throughout the year. Bright, clean and crisp skies are perfect for capturing soft-lit frames and setups for food—with the proper preparation, of course, which is described later in this chapter.
These days allow me to exercise my creativity in different ways. The lack of natural light during bad weather produces dramatic shadows and strong silver highlights, which impose a different set of challenges and decisions from the photographer, as we will explore in this chapter.
So I now carry an artificial light kit in case I find myself on a job at a time when the weather and bright skies are not cooperating. No, you need to get it done—correctly and on time … even if it means resorting to a light kit. So I suggest that you try using the settings on your camera e. Hard Light vs. Soft Light Both hard light and soft light refer to the quality of the luminescence of your scene, and each has its purpose in photography.
Conversely, indirect or diffused scattered light is an example of soft light. One is not universally better than the other; yet one will be more appropriate than the other for a given image, based solely on the artistic effect you wish to achieve. What is the story or mood you wish to convey with your photograph?
Hard Light Hard light is stronger than soft light, and it illuminates your subject in a direct way that accentuates shadows and contrasts. Hard light can help you create dramatic effects, such as sharp highlights in the background or glossy casts on liquid surfaces. In the picture of carrots, I did not diffuse or bounce the light coming from the back of the setup. This allowed a lot of contrast in the scene, which accentuated the colors and shapes of the carrots against the dark surface on which they sat.
The hard light also added highlights to the tiny water beads, which would have been lost in a softer light situation.
Keeping the water visible conveys that the carrots were fresh from the field! These carrots were photographed in hard light to render their vivid colors.
Light softens as it is becomes diffused and reflected. Soft light appears gentle and smooth; it illuminates areas evenly and appears to embrace your subject. Diffused light is also broader than its undiffused counterpart, which means it reaches more places in your frame.
In the picture on the left, the scallops are placed against back light, which is diffused with a bed sheet. The closer your light source is to your subject, the more powerful it is—hard or soft.
A plate of roasted scallops is placed in soft light to create an airy atmosphere. The concept of diffusing allows for light to come through your frame in a softer and ample way than raw light allows. And reflecting light commonly called bouncing is yet another way to add dimension and visual interest to a photo. It allows you to fill in darker areas of a scene that may otherwise be heavy and distracting.
Diffusing and reflecting techniques offer more ways to get the shot you envision. There are many things you can use to diffuse window light—from professional scrims and silk screens to thin white bed sheets.
Yet all essentially perform the same duty. Diffusers simply filter and soften the light that comes through it. For most of the pictures I shoot in my studio, I cover the main window with a long satin sheet draped on a regular curtain rod. Pretty DIY, but it works great for the strong light that tends to blaze through this window. I wish I had something more sophisticated for you, but there you have it. Double up your bed sheet if more diffusion is needed.
On the Go When I go on-location to shoots close to home, I like to take a 40x60 multipanel screen that attaches to a stand. It functions as both a reflector and a diffuser. Diffusers come in all sizes and price points, so evaluate your actual needs and budget before shopping around for this. To use your diffuser, position it against the window or near it.
The nuances are small, but where you position your diffuser can affect your image; it changes the intensity of the light shining through. You can also reflect, or bounce light off a surface and let it fall softly on your subject.
A small inch white panel can be used as a bounce or diffusing panel. Reflectors come in all shapes and sizes and are relatively cheap. A small inch reflector can be quite helpful in many situations. Usually held in place by two clamps, this reflector has both a silver and a gold surface for reflecting purposes as well as a white one that can be used as a bounce or a diffuser, if needed. A gold reflector was used for this dish. Another handy accessory is a large circular or rectangular panel that is also comprised of three surface options: silver, gold and white.
These are great for large setups, and even come with a stand! And keep in mind that light can be bounced from walls, ceilings, towels, plates and other surfaces as well. And almost everyone has a strong opinion about what colors they like best. Play with all the options to find which ones work best for the type of dish you are photographing.
The gold reflector used in this salad shot cast a golden color onto the dish. The golden hue on the green of the salad and the radishes makes the image look slightly outdated. The green of the salad is vibrant and the whites of the radishes are more natural.
The light in this scene was coming from a window on the left, and I bounced it on the right. Go Big Depending on your available space and the image you need to create, it may be worthwhile to invest in a large reflector. They come mounted on a stand, which gives you greater freedom of movement. The stands are lightweight and the reflectors fold flat, making them easy to store and tote around.
Also, a larger reflecting surface bounces more light in a broader way, which is usually quite beneficial. Decisions about how much or how little of the light to bounce and with what—a reflector, card board, mirror, etc. Examining your pictures and playing with different setups will help you decide which bouncing situation works best for you. Also, keep in mind that the distance between your bounce and the subject will affect how much light makes it back to your subject and fills the darker areas.
I suggest positioning your subject as close as possible to the bounce and then moving the reflector away in small increments until you find the right distance. Notice that shadows become stronger as you position the bounce further from the subject. The setup for this shot of the salad is the same as the one used for the previous photos, except a larger 40x60 reflector, mounted on a stand, reflects even more light onto the dish.
I placed a few radishes on a table with light coming from the back. I did not diffuse this light or bounce it in the image on the left below. The incoming light creates visible and long shadows around the radishes, which is a bit distracting.
They take away focus from the radishes. The only thing I changed to the setup for the second shot was to diffuse the light by hanging a bed sheet over the window. Backlight - This is a KEY element to great food photography.
Backlight brings out texture and special highlights on your subject: such as steam. A good rule of thumb, when starting out, is no more than 3 elements in the photograph. Stay close, and keep the background to a minimum. Remember, you must still follow the rules of good composition or your photograph will be lackluster. You want your exposure to be correct, or even slightly overexposed. COM 3. Focal Point - With food photography you will have a minimal depth-of-field.
Figure out who the hero is in your shot- a blackberry, a slice of bread, the juice on the edge of a steak, the foam on your latte - and then make it a strong focal point. Exposure - Nothing else you might do in your food photography will make your food look more like donkey dung than under-exposure. Subjects like meat, poultry, and fish generally look better at a normal exposure. Lighter items like pastries, breads, and desserts often look better slightly overexposed.
This means that you will be fighting to keep your framing and focus correct. When taking food photographs you will often be hanging over your subject: looking down at it. As soon as possible add a macro lens to your camera bag.
This means low light levels and long exposures. Find a location with a window: in-direct light is better than direct sun. Food looks better in a photograph when there is low contrast. Keep your lighting even. If the window has direct sunlight, hang a sheet over it and back your shooting table away from it a little bit. While Jonathans first choice is always to shoot in natural light, he keeps several speed- lights, small softboxes, and umbrellas on hand to create artificial light.
Who made this? Whats the occasion?
What season it is? The right props can help you tell this storyjust beware of going II III Try picking one standout color from the dishsay the strawberries in a strawberry- rhubarb pieand adding a small element that incorporates that color. It could be the paper that your dish sits on, dusted powdered sugar on the table, orange slices, a wooden cutting board, or a cup of coffee.
Furbacher shared some tips for matching colors: Cool colors and deep, rich blues can make brown and beige foods really pop and come to life. Warm, vibrant colors can liven up salad greens. You want to enhance the texture, color or contour of your food. That being said, if a few crumbs or blemishes on the surface material are distracting, by all means remove them in Photoshop.
You can also make some minimal adjustments to levels and curves, and color balance in Lightroom to get the exposure where you want it. Some photographers also like to play around with the contrast, highlights, shadows and blacks.
Nothing can kill a photo faster than having the food sit under a heat lamp while you fiddle with your camera, says Jonathan.
Unlike other subjects, food has a very short window of time when it looks good enough to photograph. That means you have to get your act togetherfast. When Im working with a chef at a restaurant, I always make sure that I have my shot planned, my lights if any set up, and that Im ready to start shooting the instant the food is brought out. For example, brushing a little vegetable oil on a steak that is starting to look dry.
But its always better to get the shot while the food is fresh. Photo Contest Is As my association, the IACP which represents pho- tographers, writers, bloggers, publishers and others who work as communicators in the food sphere , starts Be aware of all the low level contests that just cost you money!
There are some free and wonderful contests on Instagram that can get you a lot of recognition.
Its Own Reward its own journey into launching a food photography contest, I talked with photographers to learn what they value in contests. Photographers use contests to judge their own work, to assess their strengths, and to determine where to go next Featuring Martha Holmberg, CEO, creatively and commercially. International Association of Culinary Professionals Exposure seems to be the key motivatorcontests mean judges, and judges are top creative directors, photo edi- One of the greatest values of entering contests is that tors, and others who commission work.
So the Alexia Tsairis Chair for Documentary Photogra- even if you dont win, at least your photography is phy at the Newhouse School of Journalism at Syracuse seen, says Ellen Silverman, a food and travel pho- University. That presents the opportunity to edit your tographer whose video work in Cuba was selected by archive from a broader perspective.
Through contests, I am constantly learning where my The judges arent the only ones judging, however. Ev- strengths and weaknesses are, says Kristin Teig, a food, eryone I spoke with made a practice of checking out travel, and lifestyle photographer. When she won Range- the judges own work to get a bead on their aesthetic, in finder magazines Lifestyle Photography Competition in hopes of selecting images that might be more appealing.
He won a Photo District News award for a series documenting the restaurant kitchens.
Contests allow me to determine what I may need in order to better myself and make myself more marketable, says Turkell. Self-editing can be brutal, however.
How to choose the best images? If you cant decide which images are best, ask people you respect to offer an opinion, which can be a learn- ing experience in itself, advises Davis. For Silverman, her agent often plays that role. I get attached to certain images, which is why I find it helpful to find someone else to help with final edit. For a recent submission to a PDN contest, I asked my agent for her opinion, and I also talked with the stylists who collaborated with me on the images I was considering.
You have to look for some way to narrow it down, says Todd Coleman, photographer, former food editor of Saveur magazine, and co-founder of Delicious Contents. Should I enter the crowd-pleasing image that I know gets a positive reaction, or should I enter the one I really love and that means more to me personally?
If one image is a portrait, Ill make sure the next will be more of a decisive moment image.Use a tripod for maximum depth of field and critical focus Build your set on a small moveable platform to catch the light 8. To help give her food photography a fresh and natural perspective, Megan sometimes shoots directly into the light. Food looks better in a photograph when there is low contrast.
Ask questions, then feel the answer.
This setting works in many situations, but it can be too restrictive for some shots. There are guidelines for creating beautiful photographs, but your particular process will be driven by your individual personality, equipment, style and budget … and it will help you convey the messages and evoke the feelings you envision for your pictures.
I wanted to keep everything around the pomegranate very highlighted and almost blown out so the eye would focus only on the fruit. Again, this was after I knew that camera—what each bell and whistle was and what it did.
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