504 Main by Holly Lefevre: Food Photography Tips from Our Crazy Busy Bunch
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Sunday, April 15, 2012

Food Photography Tips from Our Crazy Busy Bunch

Hello all!
Guess what? I have another guest today!
I am so excited...I LOVE having guests...

This is some info that I seriously need and
I am pretty sure a lot of you can benefit from too!

If you are not already familiar with Our Crazy Busy Bunch...
run over to Heather's blog and get to know her!
Now, here she is....

Hi, I am Heather from Our Crazy Busy Bunch. I am a mama, wife, business owner, organizing freak, party planning fool, DIY dork and an amateur photographer.
Thank you so much to Holly for letting me spend a little time on her blog.
Very excited to be here, I la-ove her site!

Today I am going to give you 9 easy tips on how to take awesome looking pictures of food. Food is hard to take pictures of. I never realized just how hard it was until I try to take pictures of a rockin' recipe and I spend most of my time frustrated on how the pictures turn out. I don't get to share the recipe because I am embarrassed by the pictures.
No more of that!

Through trial and error I have come up with some tips to help. They are in no particular order except I think lighting should determine your photo shoot. If it's raining and yucky, your pictures just won't look as fabulous. You know what that means right? Take out!

 1. Lighting

As bloggers we usually don't have the luxury of a studio and all of its amenities. I don't think my husband would let me get studio lights so my enchilada recipe pics would look better. This means we have to be creative. The best place to take food pictures is outside. Indirect sunlight is the bomb. You want the sunlight to be facing the dish but angled on the side towards the dish. Picture a baseball diamond. If your food was up to bat, you want your sunlight to come from either 1st base or 3rd base. If you have to take pictures inside, do it during daylight hours. My number 1 rule for lighting is NO flash. Ever. It is tempting when lighting just doesn't seem to be working out but the flash makes the picture too harsh looking. Now tell me you won't use your flash...Pinky promise?

It will take your pictures from this...
To this...ta da Only slightly different but much better color!
Just think how awesome this picture would have been if I didn't use such a dark dish and my dark counter.

2. Manual Mode vs. Automatic

Whip out those instruction books if you don't know how to use your camera on manual. It is so very hard to take a good food picture in automatic. If you read any of the old recipe posts on my blog, you will see why! Manual mode and basic knowledge of how to use aperature and shutter speed is 100 times better than automatic. Aperature settings allow you to determine the amount of light being allowed in to the image sensor, basically how much light being let in to the picture. There are lots of excellent beginner tips that explains aperature and shutter speeds. Google or Pinterest  the word aperature and you will be pleasantly surprised at how generous people are with the help they are willing to give you. Once you get the hang of manual, you will be so happy with your pictures, not only food but pictures of everything, I promise!

3. Prettying Up Ugly Food

Pea soup; while it is delicious, it is not very attractive. When taking pictures of an ugly food, rely on pretty serving dishes or table scapes. Another trick is to make the majority of the focus not on the food, but on it's surroundings. I found an excellent example of that at Food Republik. I also found a recipe for green pea and basil soup. Win win. The color of the soup is bold and plays off the white bowl. By using a large lipped bowl, they were able to create balance. I also love that they added peas and basil to the top of the soup. By building up the dish, it gives extra texture and draws your eye in.

4. Angle and Depth

Pay close attention to the angle of your pictures. I tend to take all of my food pictures from a bird's eye view. But depending on your food subject you may want to try a variety of angles. Try arranging yourself in different positions around your dish. Taking 20 pictures of one object isn't wrong, in fact it's great practice.

5.Arranging More Than One Dish 

 I found the above picture on Pinterest and instantly fell in love with it. I never would have thought of putting two dishes inside of one another. So simple yet so beautiful. This picture was sold from the etsy store but there are plenty of other great pictures. Visit Butterfly Food to check them out.

6. Editing

Many photographers don't like to edit photos but there is absolutely nothing wrong with using an editing programs to enhance your picture. I use Photoshop Elements and really enjoy all of the options. Use your photo editing software to change the white balance and adjust the brightness by a skooch (skooch is a technical term in my house). One tip; always keep an original copy in a different folder. That way you can make numerous adjustments but always have your original. I learned this the hard way.

7. Hold Your Camera Steady

This is a really simple fix! If you don't want to use a tripod or have access to one, don't fret! This is a really easy fix. If you are taking close up shots, use your elbows as leverage on the table or ground to stead the camera. If you are standing, hold your arms close to your body and give them a little squeeze. This helps to ensure a steady hand. For my professional work, I do a lot of incident investigations and I use this stance all the time.

  8. Practice, Practice, Practice

This is the fun part! You won't get better and learn how your camera works if you don't practice. So not only do you get to cook a lot of new wonderful meals, you get to take a lot of pictures! I find the best way to practice using my camera in manual is to go for a walk and play around with light, shadows and shoot a variety of objects.

9. Tutorials From Photographers 

Here are my favorite 3 blogs that have great tips.
There are so many more but these are my go to ones.

The Pioneer Woman

Good luck with your picture taking!!
Now those are some tips I could really use!
Thanks Heather.
Be sure to head over and say hi at Our Crazy Busy Bunch!


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P.S. I am still on the lookout for guest bloggers...
shoot me an email if you are interested!

1 comment:

  1. This article was very helpful. I work hard to obtain great shots. She's right, it takes practice, practice, practice! I really enjoy your blog Holly. Thanks for posting this. Debbie @ MakeItDelightful.blogspot.com


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