Wednesday, September 28, 2011

In Which I Seek Advice

My parents run a bakery business out of their home. They specialize in pies, but also have a variety of cookies, biscuits, and sweet breads that are pretty damn tasty as well. They just wrapped up their third year, and have seen a considerable jump in growth over the past year alone where they are branching out into internet sales.

Being the resident computer geek in the family, my parents came to me when it came time to setup their website a few years ago. There hasn't been much done with it, but with the summer season behind them and the holidays approaching, I've been working on getting their website setup with a store so their customers can order and pay for what they want independently. I can handle all of the coding and logistics of setting up the store, but there is one part of the process that I am bit intimidated by.

Food photography.

I've read up a lot online about the basics of food photography, and I think I've got a good grasp on the fundamentals. In my research I've seen a lot of really good photos, and a lot of really awful photos. It was very obvious to me that there is a lot to consider when taking pictures of food, because you ultimately want the food to look appealing.

Does anyone who reads my blog have any experience in food photography? Any suggestions on staging, lighting, or post-production work? Any learned-through-experience type stuff you can pass along? I would greatly appreciate it!

7 Comments:

Jade @ Tasting Grace said...

I'm not an expert at food photography, and you've probably already come across this, but I think the number one thing to help food look appealing is to take photos using natural light. I know it can be done with artificial light, but that lends itself to a totally different effect, is really tricky, and requires lots of special equipment. Natural light is waaay simpler and I think will work perfectly for baked goods.

Also, don't be afraid to get up close and personal with the food. Macro shots can work really well with food. And one thing I found helps with composition is to play around with props and textures in the background. Put the food on a nice color cloth that complements the color of the food and include background items that play up the shape of the food or platter. The background props don't have to make total sense, but you might consider including things like spices in their raw form, coffee beans, flowers, leaves, cutlery or wine glasses. (You can see some of my photos here if you like: http://www.flickr.com/photos/jadekeller/sets/72157624865923308/)

The Pioneer Woman has really wonderful food photography (and amazing recipes!) and she's done some really helpful tutorials in the past (http://thepioneerwoman.com/photography/category/food-photography/).

A friend of mine, Leela Ross, also does great work, with a totally different style. Her personal blog is here (http://leelacyd.blogspot.com/) and you can find her professional work on The Kitchn, if it helps give you ideas. Hope this is helpful!! Good luck!

Ezekiel said...

tastespotting.com has loads of articles about photography included. Plus it'll give you some excellent inspiration!

kristina said...

No suggestions, but since you seem to produce awesome pictures with your just your phone (in addition to your other wonderful pictures viatraditional photography), I'm sure you will do a fantastic job!

Badass Geek said...

Jade Keller: Awesome, thank you!

Ezekiel: Cool!

Kristina: You are too kind. =)

Kirby said...

Thought I posted earlier but I guess it didn't take... I said you should check out The Pioneer Woman (I know a little white bread) she has a photography section and talks a lot about her food photography and how she'e improved.

Jasmine said...

I don't have any advice really, but I found this great article about cameras and food photography.

http://www.squidoo.com/best-cameras-for-food-blog-photography

Writer Ninja said...

Oh, oh! I have some. But, it depends on the type of camera you have. So, I shall go though a couple types and how to get the best out of them. (Or, what I have seen work for people.)

DSLR, or a camera in which you can change the lenses:

Low aperture lenses are great for detail and really highlight a central subject which makes it pop from the background. Low aperture also gets that blurred background that's kind of artsy-fartsy and visually appealing.

Macro Lenses: Very few people know that you can take a standard lens and flip it on your camera body to get macro shots without purchasing that type of lens (which, let's be honest, are very pricey).

If you have a smaller, digital camera, there are often buttons that have special settings for different types of photography situations like "Portrait," or "Night." Sometimes these buttons help because they adjust the ISO and settings, but other times with these cheaper cameras, it is better to explore for yourself with what works. The preset levels will not always be the best.


I hope this helps and I wish you the best. If you have any questions, I think you have my email. Email me whenever, and I would be glad to give you any further pointers, or resources.

Stay Classy & Good Luck.

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