Food Photography: From Snapshots to Great Shots

I will admit to being a bit of a photography nerd, I love learning all the tricks and suggestions to make your images even better. I have taken classes offered through National Camera in the Twin Cities, where I originally purchased my camera. Those were great introductory classes that really helped you figure out how to work your camera and get off the Auto mode as quickly as possible. I am proud to say that in the two years I have owned my camera I don’t think I have EVER used the auto mode.

My photography process (when I use an my DSLR):

  • I tend to shoot in M mode or AV
  • I find the best way to control the quality of the photos is to shoot in Raw, yes it takes a bit of time to process but is so worth it!
  • As soon as I am done I import the photos and make minor tweaks and process into a smaller jpg file in Lightroom
  • Lightroom is seriously the best thing ever! I so rarely use Photoshop anymore for minor photo tweaks. I use it more for design work.
  • Because I am incredibly busy and can’t always cook during the day to take advantage of natural light I found this photo studio in a box. It is very reasonably priced at $42 dollars and comes with a portable and easy to use studio box, backgrounds and lights. It really helps when natural light isn’t available or I need just a little more light.

I am not even close to being a good photographer but I love it and really enjoy blogging about food. So I turn to books for a few more ideas. A lot of the photography books out there don’t cover food photography, so when I was contacted about being sent a copy of Food Photography from Snapshots to Great Shots by Nicole S. Young I was so excited to read this book. As soon as it arrived I opened and spent a good two hours reading through it and learning all that I could. The book focuses on the basics of getting the right camera equipment – lights, lenses, reflectors, etc. – and takes you through the key photographic principles of aperture, ISO, and shutter speed. She then discusses lighting and composition and shoes how to style food using props, fabrics, and tabletops. Finally, she explains how to improve your photos through sharpening, color enhancement, and other editing techniques.

I love this book, she goes step by step through a dish she is photographing so you can see all that goes into it. How she styles the food, sets up the lighting, what tools she uses, and the type of lens. One section of the book shows a timeline from a blank dish all the way to the final edited photo. I love seeing everything she does to the food and a photograph. It give you ideas and you can see how much really goes into it. If you are interested in learning more about food photography I highly recommend this book! Amazon had it for under $15 dollars.

Other great photography resources:

Check with your local community college, I took an online 6 week photography class and it was only $99 dollars. A great deal for the amount that we learned. Every week we would get a lecture and “assignment” that would cover photography concepts like aperture, the rule of thirds, flash, a basic understanding of how a camera works. This was a great class for really learning about photography and tips. If you would be interested in seeing a sample of what the lectures were like, email me and I will send you part of one.

Local photography groups, there are some really talented people and they are so helpful.

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