After thinking about it for a long time, I finally worked up enough courage to take a course in food photography at Maine Media Workshops. I went into the class, taught by well known food photographer Judd Pilossof, hoping to improve my food shots using the camera I have and not requiring a lot of sophisticated equipment. What I learned is that was much harder than I anticipated.
A couple of years ago, I decided a big camera with multiple lenses was not my thing and opted for one of the new high end point and shoot cameras. What I have is an Olympus XZ-1 which has considerable capability, but as I learned last week, as a food camera it is not the best. Why? Because it is primarily a wide angle lens camera which can distort a food shot, and it does not allow me to blur backgrounds as I so yearn to do.
The camera is just one part of the problem. There are a number of other things to consider when it comes to taking good food photos, and many of them are quite simple. Perhaps some of what I learned will help you, too!
Light is the most important criteria for good food photography and not all light is created equal. Natural light is generally good, but you may need to experiment with other sources. Avoid using your flash!
Plan ahead and think about how you want your food to look. This is a real challenge for me as I often take the photo seconds before it goes on the table. As this photo shows, the result is not always great!
Keep food looking as natural as possible. Tweaking it too much can make it look a bit artificial.
Know your camera well enough to understand aperture, shutter speed, white balance. This is subject for much more detail, but I’m not the one to give it!
Like with so many other things, the way to improvement is practice and a willingness to do the work. Though a class is helpful, there is a lot of food photography information out there. For us who blog about food, I highly recommend Focus on Food Photography for Bloggers by Matt Armendariz. It confirms much of what I learned in a very readable format.
If you have tips regarding techniques, cameras, lighting equipment or anything else related to food photography, won’t you share?
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