Monday, June 4, 2012

Observations About Food Photography




I've received a few comments and emails about my camera, so I thought I'd share my favorite photography links—these folks really know how to do it right.
Me, I'm a novice, and I am allergic to the instructions that come with a camera. My approach to photography is rather like my approach to writing: I'm self taught. Trial and error. Beaucoup errors. I have a B.S. in Nursing (nothing writerly about that), mainly because my mama told me I needed a career to fall back on in case my husband died or ran off with a tart.
She was right. Writing won’t pay for the feed bill on our farm, and nurses are in demand. So I keep my license up to date no matter what. But I digress. . . except let me say one more thing: writers write because they love words. Blogging is writing with the addition of photography—two creative and complimentary processes.
I never thought much about photography until I began blogging. Like everything else, I was voted the family’s worst photographer (and the worst cook), mainly because I dropped Dr. Big’s Nikon back in 1984.
When DBG began, I was using a Pentax point-and-shoot (10 megapixels).
It’s a very good camera for the money. Most of the photos that were accepted by Tastespotting and Foodgawker were shot with this tiny camera.
march of the cupcakes1
1ff march of the tarts
You can read about the Pentax HERE.
Then a whole, new world opened up when I met Jain at Once in a Blue Moon. I met other foodie enthusiasts. I got wonderfully lost in their photographs and home cooking.
The more I blogged, the more I cooked. I began to understand the challenge of cooking and photographing during daylight hours. If you have other things going on, like shearing sheep or writing novels, it can be nearbouts impossible. Most of the time, supper was on the table way after dark, and all of my photographs had an orange cast.
So I began researching food photography. How in the world did people with jobs and families take these gorgeous photos? What was the secret? Surely it HAD to be a secret, one that had skipped right over my head.
But wait, these great photographers have the same 24 hours/day that I, a beginner, have. I was goofing off, watching All My Children and eating way too many cookies.
I had an ah-ha moment: food photography is just like writing books or being a SAHM. You have to be super organized. You have to be like a bird dog and stay on point. I started setting the table the night before. I also grocery shopped the day before I cooked a dish.
Did it help? Some. But it's still challenging!
Here's the clincher: you might have to make some unpopular decisions, like, taking the phone off the hook or not watching The Tudors. No matter if you are writing, making cupcakes, or helping a child with homework, it all draws from the same creative well. You need a patch of quiet. A moment where the world stops and you can focus.
When you focus (and you are enjoying what you're doing), you slip into a place that professional athletes call "the zone." That's the place where the hoop seems lower, and you're making baskets.
Zoning aside, catching the light is a never-ending problem, and it's wholly out of my control. I prefer natural light. I think we all do. But it's gold to a photographer.
After a while, I began to lust for a real camera with options. Whenever one of my photos was accepted for TS or FG, I’d call Dr. Big at the office, and no matter if he had a light down someone’s esophagus, he’d cheer me on.
At this point, he got seriously involved in my quest. He said I couldn't help being a natural-born Dropper of Things, but he agreed that I needed to upgrade. The search began for a Canon EOS SLR . I was given a used Canon 50D. It was cheap because it’s wonky (and I damaged it even more by trying to clean it), but I love it dearly. Then, Dr. Big bought a Canon T1i as the “family” camera. It’s much easier to carry around than the 50D, and it has many of the 50D’s options, such as “Creative Mode” and automatic. You can tinker, but to a point.
The wonky, heavily used 50D weighs as much as a brick. If you are traipsing outside, trying to shoot photos of sheep or goats, the larger memory card will allow you to take more snaps. The downside is, the camera gets heavier and heavier, and if you are a Dropper like me, you aren’t going to run down the goat path just for a Donkey Photo Op.
I still point and shoot. I have a mental block about f stops and ISO and whatnot.
Let’s talk about lenses just a moment. If you are serious about photography, you might want to think about investing in at least one macro lens. No, it's not mandatory. I took plenty of close-ups with my Pentax, and you can see them on my blog's header, but to get really close, a macro lens brings all the details into focus. They aren't cheap, however sometimes you can pick them up on Craig's List or Ebay. Dr. Big, who doesn't want to be called Dr. Gollum anymore because it confuses his brains, found his camera on Ebay.
After doing my research, I acquired a few highly recommended lenses. I love them all and can't pick a favorite...but if I had to, I'd pick my 50 mm and 60 mm. Both are great for close-ups, or macro photography.
I also have a 24-70 mm lens, which is great for everything. I have an inexpensive tripod but never use it because it's so stiff and won't move with me. Which is one reason my photos aren't sharp as they should be.
Another reason is, I haven't read my darn manual.
This is the first picture I took with the Canon 50D:

Nothing to write home about, but it was a milestone. I took a photo after dark and the orange-golden haze was vanquished! And, I took the picture on the automatic setting (I'm chicken) with EGO light bulbs. You can find EGO LIGHT Bulbs at Home Depot. Here’s what EGO light bulbs look like.
For a while now, I've been trying to educate myself about photography. I loved reading Pioneer Woman's photography tips: http://thepioneerwoman.com/photography/category/basic-photography/ .
This is a must-read about adding Equipment.
NYTimes foodie, David Lebovitz, has great Photography Tips.
During the winter, it's impossible to take photographs because the lighting is awful. I resisted buying lighting for a long while, but now that I have my EGO lights, I can't imagine not having them.

There's so much to learn. I'm thinking it IS rocket science, but (to me) a lot more fun. Getting control of the light, chasing the light...it's an on-going struggle.
You can read about budget lighting HERE.
A Styrofoam sheet is an inexpensive way to “bounce” light. You can prop it with a juice can or soda bottle and reflect light onto your foodie object. This is important because light will not fall evenly. You’ll have shadows and over-exposed places. Here’s an example:
1a cake glare
Notice how the left side of the cake is all shadowy, but details on the right side are lost due to too much light. If you try to adjust the lighting in the program that came with your computer, you’ll tear out your eyebrows in pure frustration. It’s flat impossible to edit a photo that has too much/too little light (unless you have Photoshop. Maybe it would work. I have a disk for Photoshop Elements, but my laptop’s CD drive is broken and I can't install it...insert sad violin music). I use other programs, but I've got to have something to work with...and it all starts with the L-word.
Light.

Here's another one about lighting that won't break the checkbook.

I am a fan of Pat's photography at Back Porch Musings. You can read about her equipment at the bottom of her blog page. She's the reason Dr. Big bought a Canon Rebel.

Here's one more article about Food Photography and Diffused Light.
The only things I know for sure:
** No flash. Use Natural lighting whenever possible--but direct light will create shadows. They can be beautiful or awful. Both TS and FG rejected these—with and without the shadows:

But they liked this one:

**Take lots and lots of pictures. Then edit them with a light touch. I am presently using Windows Photo Manager, and when I need to (lightly)sharpen something or add a title, I use Picnik’s program at Flickr. The basic Picnik is free and it's really great.
**The best light is "white light," which falls from mid-morning until around 3 pm. This time span is based on my southern location, and of course, it will stretch as our days lengthen. (Thank heavens.)
**Use large sheets of construction paper (white will never let you down and makes the food stand out as the star) as backgrounds for small objects or food. Then you can bring in lamps and shoot after dark.
Well, that's it for now. It's a lot to absorb, isn't it? I re-read these photography articles over and over, trying to gleen little gems that flew over my head the first time. Mostly, I'm learning the hard way...but I'm also playing.
Playing is essential for creative critters like bloggers.
Compiled from DBG’s March 8, 2010 Newsletter
Disclaimer: DBG isn’t affiliated with Canon, EGO lights, Pentax, Cuisinart, or any photography products listed above. I am not compensated by providing the links; they were added so you can research lights, cameras, and action.

54 comments:

  1. Michael, number one on my wish list since we started blogging is a decent camera. Someday...
    Here's my tip- don't attempt to take any pictures after school has let out for the day. Enough said.
    xoxo Pattie

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  2. Great post with lots of info. I am just about to buy my first digital slr and it can be so confusing. One tip that may seem very obvious but maybe isn't to some - brace your wrist or arms against a chair or table if not using a tripod to help eliminate photos that are out of focus.

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  3. I just found your site from Yvonne at Stone Gable. I just love her site. She has made me think outside the styrofoam plate. Now I can see there is no hope for me after finding your site.

    My only photography tip is this: If it is an important event or a special moment, don't hand me the camera. I just suck at taking pics. I have tried when I am cooking. Dropped one in a pot of boiling pasta. Oops.

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  4. Thanks so much for the lovely mention, Michael.

    We are just now getting good morning light in Northeast Missouri. I like the shots of the new table, in my Changes post (last week). That's because I had that fabulous morning light to work with.

    Use a stack of books to elevate your camera and set the timer, when you want a dead on shot. It steadies the camera without setting up the tripod. I've done this, stacking the books on a counter across from the kitchen island.
    When I wanted a shot of the bowl of entry slips for my giveaway, recently, I just stacked books on the same table as the bowl.

    I purchased a book Marianne "Songbird" wrote about on her blog. The Digital Photography Book #1, by Scott Kelby, a great reference book, in plain language. He recommends a ball type tripod. I haven't checked this out yet, but I believe it will be more user friendly than the regular tripods.

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  5. Great post! I'm slowly getting better at photographing food, but my darn apartment has no natural light. Oh well - I'd say I'm pretty good for using a tiny point and click camera. :-)

    My favorite tip - don't be afraid to get close to your subject!!! And don't use a flash!

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  6. Your blog is always so interesting and beautiful. I'd love to know how you are able to get such large pictures on your posts. I also used Blogger and can't get them that size.

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  7. I switched to a minima stretch template at blogger. After uploading the photos, I changed the code in each one. An example would be:

    a href="http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_DBz7W5TWbkk/S6kB8AdglhI/AAAAAAAAObM/ekQaz7D-nBY/s1600-h/1blogyescookiewithbug.jpg"><img style="display:block; margin:0px auto 10px; text-align:center;cursor:pointer; cursor:hand;;" src="http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_DBz7W5TWbkk/S6kB8AdglhI/AAAAAAAAObM/ekQaz7D-nBY/s400/1blogyescookiewithbug.jpg" border="0" alt=""id="BLOGGER_PHOTO_ID_5451890954336245266"

    Find width. Follow it to 500px;"
    delete the following:
    width: 296px; height: 400px;

    Leave the "
    Now go down and find s400.
    Change the 400 to 800.
    You can find better instructions at Between Naps on the Porch. Susan is the one who told me about it.

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  8. I do not like to read the instructions either, so I learn as I go. I started taking photos and submitting them to AllRecipes.com Over time, I began to take better photos as O would study the best photos on the site and I mimick what they were doing. I went to Michael's and bought a bunch of scrapbooking paper to use as my backgrounds. I need a better camera, I have a Sony 8.1 Super Steadt Shot camera. It is very nice, but not for taking food photos. I am unable to achieve the detail of the food. Eventually I will upgrade, but until then I make what I have work the best I can! ~Kelly

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  9. I love Pat's photography too! And she is such a kind and helpful person.
    Your pictures are wonderful, and believe , becoming a Darling Baker had nothing to do with your skills! LOL It did nothing for mine. Maybe a DARING Baker would be good.
    I don't like instructions either.
    Dear Monique was very kind and called me and helped me with my camera settings. I would love to take a class though.
    So in this Friday's FF post we do what you said above? Or is it something separate? You are such a generous gal!
    And thanks again for taking part in the Blog Crawl..it was so much fun!

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  10. Gosh Gollum, I never really photograph food, and none of my pictures are as fabulous as yours. I would venture to say however, that my tip for photography is proportion. You have to make sure that all of the things that you're taking photos of relate well or the eye won't know where to focus. Oh, and I'd LOVE that ice cream maker! LOL! :) Thank you for sharing! I'm about 1/2 way finished with my bathroom remodel, and I hope you can stop by and see the progress. :) Take care! Artie

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  11. Your photos are beautiful and so are your tips! Thanks! My only tips are take the pictures in daylight and don't use a flash! Joni

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  12. Thanks for all the information on photo shooting. My hubby has always been the photographer in the family so my having the "need" to take photos for my blog was all new to me. I have a Canon PowerShot S80 which I just love. My hubby has several tripods and I have managed to lose two small table top ones somewhere in the house. The others are the big ones that I don't like to drag around. My hubby got a Canon Rebel - oh I forget which one - but it's bigger than my PowerShot. I like photos without the flash but many come out fuzzy because of the low light and my shaking hands. One free and very good photo editing program is Pacasa (3 is the current one). We have bought other photo editing programs that can't do all that the FREE Pacasa program can. And it's easy to use too. Google "Geeks on Tour" for some free tutorials on Pacasa. We have the program loaded on all of our computers. My laptop is an Apple Mac so I use the iPhoto program a lot because it works well with all of the Apple programs. By the way you take lovely photos so you are doing something RIGHT!

    Teacup Lane (Sandy)

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  13. Have you ever tried using an aluminum foil-covered piece of cardboard as a "bounce"? It works!

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  14. My favorite tip is learning that I could set what I wanted my camera to focus on. That way, I don't have to always focus on what is in the center.

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  15. Hi Michael Lee, I have the same Cannon camera. I got it for Christmas. It was a surprise. At first I didn't think I would use it. Boy, was I wrong. I love this camera! Like you, I am still learning.

    This has been repeated, but my biggest hint is TURN OFF THE FLASH! I use natural light as much as possible, and now that I have read about correct lighting and might have to look into it.

    The other tip that I found by trial and error, is that a detail of the whole picture is more pleasing than the whole thing. An example: It is more artistically pleasing to see a close-up of a part of a scone and some well placed strawberries with the plate edge just barely showing than taking a picture of the whole plate. Many times small and close-up is beter.

    Also take tight, or close-up pictures from interesting angles. They are more pleasing to the eye. Example: a straight over the top looking down picture of aspargus on a plate is not as interesting as getting down at table level and taking a picture just peeking over the top of the aspargus.

    Last tip, I promise, get a camera with a good macro setting or one that takes a picture where the background is fuzzy and out of focus. This hides a multitude of messes in one's home! Once I took pictures of a tablescape with a basket of laundry sitting in the background! UGH! Now that I know how to use the right setting, I don't worry about messes anymore.

    Oops! Which reminds me, be aware of everything. The camera will pick up what your eye overlooks. It would be such a shame to lose the "beauty shot" of a bunch of pictures because there is something out of place or a fuzzy in the picture, or something of such sorts.

    Thank you for this great post! I am going to spend time reading and learning from all of our blogging friends.
    Yvonne

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  16. Great post! I have a Canon D5 and use a tripod 95% of the time. I use a tripod nearly all the time and set my camera to manual exposure.

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  17. Thanks for all the great information! Beautiful as always!

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  18. Great tips. I just got the ego lights and I love them. They make a huge difference.

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  19. I actually hadn't opened a flikr account so you have inspired me to do so-Thank you!

    I have added a few pictures but I have commented on the one I took of an apple. I said that I love getting in nice and close when taking photographs with my new Canon IXUS95! It's not a flashy camera but I love it!

    Thanks for a great blog and for being so inspiring. This is a wonderful competition!

    Best wishes,
    Natasha.

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  20. I’m not qualified to give photography hints because I am just learning. I have a Cannon Rebel xs and I absolutely love it…I never leave home without it! My photography philosophy is take a lot of pictures one of them as to come out! Also, get up close and personal with your subject, I love when they are close-ups. I loved the way you photographed the salad last week. Denise@cottagesisters

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  21. oh i loved that, how fun to read your progress! ok, don't hate me now, but i so noticed the massive change in your org pics after you became a darling! you have become absolutely stellar, straight out of the dark ages into the light missy! you have that wonderful creative eye, you just had that org problem to sort out~ and your transition was instant, i used to joke to mary that you must have hired someone to come click your pics, one day they just went over the top, no build up, JUST POUF! i love your style, you have been wowing me ever since~

    I am laughing at your window pane shadows, i have that all the time, i swear my next house will have to have one no pane window for food shots!

    mr big, oh my, a girl can dream~

    let me know when you have a garden contest, i am so out of the kitchen these days, i am dreaming dirt everyday now! glad you got your hands dirty too, next thing you know you will be collecting iris and building fabulous gardens in your spare time too!

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  22. I am so glad you posted this, it's been on my mind lately! Thanks for all of the good info. I love your macro photos - just gorgeous :)

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  23. Thanks for the information. I keep saying I want a new camera, but don't know that I would know what do with it if I bought one. I have a cheap (by today's standards) Kodak easyshare and still have not figured everything out on it's operation. I need to go back and re-read your post - maybe I will learn something.

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  24. Wow! That was a lot of info and very helpful. I will definately go back and read it again. I JUST graduated from a point and shoot to the Canon 50D and so far am loving the CA setting. There is SOOOO much to take in and that setting is great. It gives you a little bit of liberty to use your little bit of knowledge. I hadn't thought about it's weight. I've been starting to investigate lighting because clearly, that's the next issue. Thank you so much for your wonderful post. I will definately be reading it again.

    - The Tablescaper

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  25. I am just a simple point and shoot gal, so a lot of that information was way over my head. I will file your information for future use, but I will never get that advanced, I'm sure. I will just enjoy your beautiful pictures. Love & blessings from NC!

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  26. Hi Michael Lee!
    Once again, you have me smiling and laughing out loud while reading your commentary.
    Once again, I'm learning something new!
    My little Sony Cybershot DCS W7 has taken some pretty decent photos for a lil' camera... but I would be wild over an SLR ...
    I see most of my 'good' photos with the lil Sony as 'miracles in photography.' I agree with Yvonne, composition is so important {even with an amateur camera}. Some of my sweetest successes {mostly with nature photos} have come from angles and perspectives.
    I really enjoy your blog, Michael Lee ... It's one of my favorite "interactive" magazines ~
    Maria

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  27. I have a Sony Cyber-shot...I would love a new camera, That is the exact camera I would love. I use googles Picasa to edit some of the pictures. Picasa is easily downloaded and is so user friendly, love that...I do use a tripod 39.95 at best buys and I find it saves me from taking all those blurry pic...when you shut off the flash as I always do, the camera must be sooooo still, only the tripod works for this...I also have a sony table one, love it too...I think the best ever photo tip, shut off flash and don't ever use it....more light like you said...love your blog, would love the ice cream maker, I am concentrating on winning the flatware (looooove that)and The caption contest, fingers are crossed.....Phyllis

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  28. Great post! I love all the insight on photography! Thanks!

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  29. Great post! I love all the insight on photography! Thanks!

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  30. I have the same camera and am just learning to use it along with photo shop.

    When I experiment with manual shooting, I first take a picture on auto and check the setting, then I go to manual and use those setting as my starting point, adjusting the iso and f stops as I go.
    Mimi

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  31. Great post! I love all the insight on photography! Thanks!

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  32. This is so cool a post that i so so identified with ,im so on at this contest and i think the only tip a look n shoot camera owner (me),which also my first cannon digi cam ,can share is ,write tips about the hints to drop around to ur parents,about how muc u need a new DSLR,he he....
    Yeah light is the main thing that am still learning and i so wish could get that lighting right :-)))
    evrytime:-)))
    After looking at ur PEntax pics i wonder that maybe i shpuld have had a pentax :-))))

    Love this contest (read -prize) ,super fantastic ,thanx a ton for this dear :-))))
    You always have super fantastic contests out here :-)))

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  33. And yeah i think the day TS and FG accept my pics i'll be bursting with joy n glee and dancing all around ....and taking loads of more pics :-))))

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  34. I have a Canon DSLR and a 50mm 1.4 lens.

    My food photography tips would be:
    1. Develop your own style of photography, not always that of others.
    2. Avoid using flash as much as possible.
    3. Try shooting from different angles.
    4. When using props, such as beautiful silverware or teacups, don't focus on those props if the focus should be the food item. Allow those props to be noticed on their own in the background or on the side. People will still notice them.
    5. Use the timer on your camera (23 to 5 seconds) on a tripod for clear photos. Also, do extra sharpening during post-production ONLY if necessary. (Pssst, Foodgawker loves sharp photos.)

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  35. Such great ideas, thanks for sharing them darling. I will look into the camera, since mine took a little bath in the sink!! Gorgeous post.

    Happy Spring
    Love & Hugs
    Duchess

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  36. Such great information. . . I'm thrilled to know about the light bulbs--I running to the light bulb store this morning! I'm afraid the only tip I have to share is hurrying (because your husband came home early and the kitchen looks like a combat zone) makes for disastrous photos :-)

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  37. I too have the same Canon Rebel but I'm still trying to learn how to use it.......without the book.

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  38. You have such a refreshing way of photographing ...elegance combined with whimsy that I admire. Your photos reflect your personality so well..classy yet approachable. I have been inspired by your blog and photos from day one. My favorite photo tip is to "take a picture" with your eye first, frame it out in your head and then shoot it with you camera. Making the photos larger on your blog by changing the html makes a world of difference. Takes it to a different level. (however, maybe that's just me, since I'm having to increase the strength of my reading glasses lately)

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  39. As a professional food photographer first and recently a food writer I can offer some advice. I have a blog post on basic food photography lighting that could be useful to your readers. http://bit.ly/cEF29v

    Bill Brady Food Photographer http://bit.ly/9wFYxm

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  40. Oh. My. Goodness. I stumbled on to your blog and am so glad I did. In addition to making me hungry, I loved this post for the helpful photo info! I'm now working with my little Canon point and shoot and have been lusting after a more upscale camera...like the Rebel.

    I've signed on as a follower and look forward to more tips and info.

    By the way...I also love, love, love your books. "Crazy Ladies" is one of my favorites!

    Pat
    www.critteralley.blogspot.com

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  41. Well crap, I can't even enter this one. My photography SUCKS. I have a couple entries on the food page, but again, they SUCK. And I don't have any tips. Because I SUCK.

    And all that you wrote about here... most of it went right over my head. Because, well... you get the point.

    But I'm still lusting after:

    treble clef
    mixer
    pears.

    Dr. Gol... I'm mean, Dr. Big has more than one brain? And why does it bother his brain? I liked Dr. Gollum!

    Justine :o )

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  42. I need a new camera. I trained on a film SLR, and still own it, but a digital SLR is on my wishlist. Right now I have a point and shoot. Ugh.

    So, using that point and shoot, my biggest need is natural light. And a pretty background. Napkins are great.

    Have to figure out what picture to include . . . thanks!

    Best,
    Sarah

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  43. My tip is to keep your fingers out of the picture.

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  44. I am not very good at taking photos..especially of foods but...
    I often find I like my photos better if I "get down" beside them instead of shooting straight above them. And, most often, I like the pictures better when only part of the food is shown instead of the entire plate of food.
    And, of course, the more you can take outside, the better the pictures are.

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  45. It seems to make a better photo of food if you don't shoot it from straight above ...get down beside the food for some shots..and I like the photo better if the whole things isn't shown...only a portion of the food....
    and all this coming from a lady that knows NOTHING about taking pictures. :)

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  46. Super post with so much good information. Thank you, thank you! I can't imagine giving you any photo tips. I've been learning from you and Jain and Debbie, and Susan, and others here in Blogville. You all take amazing photos. I think one of the best ideas is to find a detail in a photo and crop it. Seems to work like a "treble clef", oh I meant "like a charm". :-)

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  47. Michael Lee,I have been back to take in all the info in this post several times. It is so informative and a great way to learn... And I keep thinking of more tips. Although I am still learning it amazes me when a picture comes out exactly the way I planned it.

    Anyoldway, tips-
    I use Microsoft Digital Image Pro 10 to edit all of my pictures. I also digital scapbook and originally bought the program to scrapbook. This program is wonderful and very user friendly. I can do almost any kind of editing, finishes, special effects, mosaics etc. This is how I get my name-watermark- on my photos. I would highly recommend this versital program.

    I also peruse all the magazines I love. I try to pick out pictures that are especially pleasing to me and study them trying to figure out what makes the picture so special. Then I try it myself. Doing this has taught me so much!

    Take tons of pictures. For an average post I must take 100-150 pictures. I have such a hard time picking the few that go on my blog (that is why my posts tend to be long and picture laden). But when you take that many pictures, chances are some will be good enough to post.

    If you like a portion of the picture, crop it. Use only the portion that you like- you don't need to use the whole thing.

    Give your food a little help. In one of my posts my strawberries kept falling off my dessert and onto the counter. I stuck a toothpick in the dessert and put the strawberry on it. No one will know. When shooting hot food I often wait till food is almost cold to shoot it . It is more managable to arrange and steam does not photograph well.

    Shoot what is pretty. In all my food blogs so far, you never see my stove, microwave, grungy old mixing bowls etc. I try to shoot only attractive or artistic shots. That's why I take so many pictures- I'm still learning. If your food prep is messy or mundane just shoot elements of preparation and the final product. Example, when making a chicken casserole, don't take pictures of raw chicken- it is so unattractive on a computer. But lets just say that you add carrots to the recipe. A pile of pretty colorful cut carrots looks great! If your chicken recipe calls for soup- don't take a picture of blogs of cold soup in your mixing bowl. But if your chicken casserole has parsley garnish on the top, a nice bunch of herbs with water misted on it looks beautiful.Take a picture of that. The images fit the recipe but are done in a way that lets you set the visual stage- lets you filter out all potentially unappealing photos.

    Goodness- that's enough for now.
    These are just my tips and Thank you for letting me share.
    Yvonne

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  48. Hi there! First, let me say, your photographs are amazing and I love your blog, such great information!

    Next... I shoot with a Canon 7D and a 50mm 1.8. My tip for anyone serious about food photography to learn about ISO and shooting with no flash. Also, for anyone with the option of upgrading camera and equipment, I higly (like can't say enough good about) ANY Canon brand Digital SLR. I started with a Canon Rebel XT (around $500 with kit lens ant the time) and it shot beautiful pictures! My MAIN recommendation though is to buy a 50mm 1.8 lens. It runs about $100 and it the BEST lens I have found! Shoots beautiful pictures and gives you that gorgeous blur/sparkle in the background (bokeh)!

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  49. I was out of blogland for about a month, was catching up and spotted this post. I'm so glad I did! My 4 megapixel Olympus has a broken battery cover and has become a real liability. (I've got it jury rigged with rubber bands.) I was just learning how to shoot in natural light, and use the tripod and manual settings too! Just invested in a Nikon SLR and a couple of lenses. So far I've learned to charge the battery and turn it on. I'm back to square one :( I had been experimenting with lighting and a makeshift 'light box' on the kitchen counter while using a tripod and liked the results. One thing I do now before finishing a dish is set up my 'stage' before finishing a dish. Am I crazy, or does freshly prepared hot food photograph better??? Hope I have time to learn the new camera after Easter. When I do, I'll post what I've learned and hopefully some photos. I'm off to follow the link you mentioned.

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  50. folks, useful web-site
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  51. I refuse to throw up my hands and say "I can't!" but I really DO need a decent camera before I get too excited. HOW I loved this post
    and I am so grateful for the wealth of information you took the time to gift us with! Thank you SO much!
    Mona

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  52. Thank you so much for this post. I'm finding that good photos are a must in the blog world if anyone is going to pay attention, and this is an area I am working on. I am still trying to figure out how to get good pictures without great lighting. I see that you solved it by giving in and buying lights.
    By the way, I like your blog so much I am going to link it to mine and hope that others discover you.

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  53. Welcome To My KitchenJune 27, 2010 at 3:22 PM

    Hello i love your blog and your photos thanks for the post. I left my link on follow friday. i am going to follow you also. have a wonderful day. always nice to meet new blogging friends!

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  54. I am so seriously considering something other than a "point and shoot" and will reread your post and those links within. It's so frustrating to take 100 photos with a mediocre camera and hope to get one good one. Perhaps it's worth the time and trouble to learn with a proper camera.
    Thanks!
    xox
    Nancy

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