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Thread: Food Photography

  1. #1

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    Food Photography

    I am increasingly being asked to photograph peoples culinary achievements. However I am not fin ding this very easy. When it comes to my own kitchen I find it easier

    Food Photography

    As our kitchen is well lit and has a nice dark background with epic greens that I am comfortable with.
    However in other houses/kitchens life and light is not so easy and composition is difficult

    Food Photography
    Food Photography

    any advice or help would be greatly appreciated as I am doing this sort of work for friends with increasing frequency and would like to do the best jobs I can. I can provide raw images if people want to tinker and show me what they can do

    Thanks for any help
    Tufty

  2. #2
    Moderator Donald's Avatar
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    Re: Food Photography

    Adam

    What amazing timing. Try and get yourself a copy of the February edition of 'Black & White Photography' (Issue #121). There's an excellent article on photographing food by Roderick Field that starts on p44.

    Even if you do want to make colour images, I think the advice would be helpful.

  3. #3
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    Re: Food Photography

    Adam,
    I've been asked the same and have played around a little.
    I think natural light is best as it keeps the food looking natural too, so you might use your speedlight to fill, or just use reflectors to soften any shaddow areas.

    I find that outside on a bright day under an awning or inside right up next to a big window with indirect sunlight is great for food. If you are using only natural light, you need 'good' light (nice bright sunny day) and plenty of it. Don't use direct sunlight though (uless you want to get really funky).

    Get down low and use a macro lens and fill the frame. You can put your plate of food close to the edge of a large table with backlighting from the window and shoot so that only the table is pictured in the background to keep it simple and clean (white or off white table cloths and plates have a clean high key look). Use flash to fill the shaddows falling in front or some kind of reflector. Have a look as some food photographer's sites to get some inspiration. Adjust your white balance first as I think this is important to natural looking food! I prefer a narrow depth of field but experiement and see what you like. Here are some sites to start with:

    http://www.digital-photography-schoo...n-introduction

    http://www.foodportfolio.com/

    http://www.professionalphotography10...ood_angle.html

  4. #4
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    Re: Food Photography

    Food Photography

    I especially like the Making Food Look Good link

    Making Food Look Good
    http://www.media-awareness.ca/englis...nderForPrint=1

    It contains information like:

    # Those natural-looking bunches of grapes are sprayed with baby powder deodorant.
    # The molded cream pudding is hard as a rock, because it contains ten times the amount of gelatin than a regular pudding would. (We don't want it to melt under those hot lights!)
    # The ice you see in that frosty beverage is most likely acrylic "ice," that refracts light better than real ice and doesn't melt.
    # The rich-looking syrup being poured over pancakes? Motor oil works well here.

    Here are some other links...

    O’Reilly Digital Media
    http://www.oreillynet.com/pub/a/orei...od_photos.html

    Silverace Photogrnic Food Photography
    http://www.silverace.com/photogenic/...otography.html

    Photo Photography book by Cindy McGill
    http://www.eye.net/eye/issue/issue_1...ink/fo1216.htm

    Professional Photography 101
    http://www.professionalphotography10...graphFood.html

    Michael Ray – Food Photographer
    http://www.foodportfolio.com/

  5. #5
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    Re: Food Photography

    Richard you obviously know some of the tricks of the trade. Id rather see what I could do with real food. I thought Id try to do a bit of food photography. I love subjects that dont jump around or fly etc. Now this shot is macro with fill flash in my kitchen with window lighting using focus stacking for a first attemp. C&C please.

    Food Photography

  6. #6

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    Re: Food Photography

    Looks amazing. I agree with the challenge of taking pictures of food and not pictures of things that look like food. I tend to be called in before dinner parties before eating commences to photograph the food. There just is not the time for fake foods and analogues.
    Thanks for all the help guys

  7. #7

    Re: Food Photography

    Quote Originally Posted by rpcrowe View Post
    Food Photography

    I especially like the Making Food Look Good link

    Making Food Look Good
    http://www.media-awareness.ca/englis...nderForPrint=1

    It contains information like:

    # Those natural-looking bunches of grapes are sprayed with baby powder deodorant.
    # The molded cream pudding is hard as a rock, because it contains ten times the amount of gelatin than a regular pudding would. (We don't want it to melt under those hot lights!)
    # The ice you see in that frosty beverage is most likely acrylic "ice," that refracts light better than real ice and doesn't melt.
    # The rich-looking syrup being poured over pancakes? Motor oil works well here.
    Oh, NO! That just seems wrong!

  8. #8

    Re: Food Photography

    Quote Originally Posted by maloufn View Post
    Richard you obviously know some of the tricks of the trade. Id rather see what I could do with real food. I thought Id try to do a bit of food photography. I love subjects that dont jump around or fly etc. Now this shot is macro with fill flash in my kitchen with window lighting using focus stacking for a first attemp. C&C please.

    Food Photography
    You're so funny!

    Dr. Malouf, we're on the same wave length, here. I'm wanting to do some food photography. I think, though, that even though I just love macro, I need to back up a little bit so that I can think outside of the box. I keep talking about this but it's just me and that 60mm prime lens, that's all. I'm not suggesting that you need to do that.

    Some other things that I really appreciate about food photography are the props used and the general style and mood that can go with the food. In magazines, in general, there are two kinds of food shots, it seems. One is just a well taken photo (just the food, presented nicely but, honestly, a bit boring.) The other is a photograph that makes me want to be the kind of person who makes that kind of food. In other words, they're almost like "lifestyle" shots. Just to be clear, I'm talking about shots of JUST food - no people in it - usually. Food can have atmosphere and personality, too, it seems. I think that the props - tablecloth or fabrics, china, plates, herbs or flowers, cutlery, etc. have so much to do with it. There's everything from fresh and healthy (white plates, high key, fresh green) to rich and comfy and soothing (i.e. at Christmas, in the British mag. "Country Homes and Interiors", their whole article on Christmas dinner was full of rich plum colors, beautifully sliced, roast duck, chutney, moody, although, natural looking, lighting, smooth sauces, soft silver and beautiful transferware. It was really glorious!) I think that a photo of food, in context, with simple composition is lovely.

    I've read somewhere, too, that it's a fun idea, if it's international food (which includes the food we eat, in our own homes, every day), to include something that adds to where it's from. Sorry, I don't have a full handle on this idea but chopsticks with Chinese food is what's coming to mind, at the moment.

  9. #9
    maloufn's Avatar
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    Re: Food Photography

    Quote Originally Posted by Katy Noelle View Post
    You're so funny!

    Dr. Malouf, we're on the same wave length, here. I'm wanting to do some food photography. I think, though, that even though I just love macro, I need to back up a little bit so that I can think outside of the box. I keep talking about this but it's just me and that 60mm prime lens, that's all. I'm not suggesting that you need to do that.

    Some other things that I really appreciate about food photography are the props used and the general style and mood that can go with the food. In magazines, in general, there are two kinds of food shots, it seems. One is just a well taken photo (just the food, presented nicely but, honestly, a bit boring.) The other is a photograph that makes me want to be the kind of person who makes that kind of food. In other words, they're almost like "lifestyle" shots. Just to be clear, I'm talking about shots of JUST food - no people in it - usually. Food can have atmosphere and personality, too, it seems. I think that the props - tablecloth or fabrics, china, plates, herbs or flowers, cutlery, etc. have so much to do with it. There's everything from fresh and healthy (white plates, high key, fresh green) to rich and comfy and soothing (i.e. at Christmas, in the British mag. "Country Homes and Interiors", their whole article on Christmas dinner was full of rich plum colors, beautifully sliced, roast duck, chutney, moody, although, natural looking, lighting, smooth sauces, soft silver and beautiful transferware. It was really glorious!) I think that a photo of food, in context, with simple composition is lovely.

    I've read somewhere, too, that it's a fun idea, if it's international food (which includes the food we eat, in our own homes, every day), to include something that adds to where it's from. Sorry, I don't have a full handle on this idea but chopsticks with Chinese food is what's coming to mind, at the moment.
    Katy, You got my salivary glands going here. Yes food can be interesting and I love the way you put words to describe it. There is a book by Lou Manna called "Digital Food Photography" you can get on Amazon. Worth looking into. You did not tell me whether you liked my shot Katy????

    Regrads

    Nasseem

  10. #10
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    Re: Food Photography

    There is an old adage that my mother used to drill into me. She would frequently say, "Richard, you can't have your cake and eat it too." (Or was it "You can't eat your cake and have it too." Well, anyway, you get the idea...)

    Borrowing from that expression; in food photography it is often said "You can't shoot your food and eat it too!"

    Using tricks like faking the sear marks on a grilled steak with brown liquid shoe polish is one example of this. Although the food is wasted for eating, it provides the best image. When a professional photographer is shooting food, the cost of the food is probably the least expensive item in the cost calculation and thoughts of eating the food are not necessarily entertained. (Note: It is probably best not to think of the hungry people of the world when doing this - it could cause a guilt trip)

    But... it isn't "cheating" anymore than a woman using makeup for portraiture is "cheating".
    Last edited by rpcrowe; 22nd February 2011 at 12:15 AM.

  11. #11

    Re: Food Photography

    Quote Originally Posted by maloufn View Post
    Katy, You got my salivary glands going here. Yes food can be interesting and I love the way you put words to describe it. There is a book by Lou Manna called "Digital Food Photography" you can get on Amazon. Worth looking into. You did not tell me whether you liked my shot Katy????

    Regrads

    Nasseem
    The book sounds interesting. I'll look it up!

    And, oh, dear! Didn't you hear me think it??? Yes, it is very beautiful! The cake looks moist and the strawberry is so fresh. Something else that is nice is that the glaze doesn't look "fake". Very delicious and I like that the background is simple but, if I look more closely (which I naturally wanted to do), I can just make out the edge of the plate.

    Richard! Don't fret - we know what you're meaning. We're all just die hard romantics! And, I think the saying is, "Let them eat cake!" (Isn't it, Kay?)

  12. #12
    maloufn's Avatar
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    Re: Food Photography

    Quote Originally Posted by Katy Noelle View Post
    The book sounds interesting. I'll look it up!

    And, oh, dear! Didn't you hear me think it??? Yes, it is very beautiful! The cake looks moist and the strawberry is so fresh. Something else that is nice is that the glaze doesn't look "fake". Very delicious and I like that the background is simple but, if I look more closely (which I naturally wanted to do), I can just make out the edge of the plate.

    Richard! Don't fret - we know what you're meaning. We're all just die hard romantics! And, I think the saying is, "Let them eat cake!" (Isn't it, Kay?)
    Katy, I know we are on the same wavelength. I am glad you like my shot. I must admit it does look
    good!!. I wonder what tricks Richard has up his sleeve to improve the shot? I am just curious. I will be doing
    some more food shots. I love it when subjects just sit there: no jumping or flying.

    Nasseem

  13. #13

    Re: Food Photography

    Quote Originally Posted by maloufn View Post
    I love it when subjects just sit there: no jumping or flying.

    Nasseem
    Shooting bugs sounds like shooting kids! What a pasttime!

  14. #14

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    Re: Food Photography

    Quote Originally Posted by Katy Noelle View Post
    Shooting bugs sounds like shooting kids! What a pasttime!
    Teach school for 20 years and shooting kids doesn't sound at all like a bad idea... bruhahahahhaa

  15. #15

    Re: Food Photography

    Quote Originally Posted by ChrisC View Post
    Teach school for 20 years and shooting kids doesn't sound at all like a bad idea... bruhahahahhaa
    Ooooohhh! LOL!!!

  16. #16
    maloufn's Avatar
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    Re: Food Photography

    Yummy. Still metabolising 2 days later!!!!

    Food Photography

  17. #17

    Re: Food Photography

    Quote Originally Posted by maloufn View Post
    Yummy. Still metabolising 2 days later!!!!

    Food Photography
    LOL! Lovely, Nasseem!

  18. #18
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    Re: Food Photography

    Teach school for 20 years and shooting kids doesn't sound at all like a bad idea... bruhahahahhaa
    You knew that would make me laugh out loud, right, Chris? Beautiful shots, Naseem.

    I've heard that at the very least, food "models" are sprayed with glycerin, to make them shiny -- bleah.

  19. #19
    maloufn's Avatar
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    Re: Food Photography

    Quote Originally Posted by Katy Noelle View Post
    LOL! Lovely, Nasseem!
    Thanks Katy.

    Nasseem

  20. #20
    maloufn's Avatar
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    Re: Food Photography

    Quote Originally Posted by mythlady View Post
    You knew that would make me laugh out loud, right, Chris? Beautiful shots, Naseem.

    I've heard that at the very least, food "models" are sprayed with glycerin, to make them shiny -- bleah.
    Elise its the real thing. Being in the Nutrition area I coudnt get myself to adulterate it- at least at this stage especially when I was druelling all the way before I ate it. At this stage Id go as far as using acrylic ice if I had to.

    Nasseem

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