I’ve been meaning to post my practice pictures, but they’ve kind of been too embarrassing to share. I mean, you’d be expecting to see gorgeous mouthwatering pictures that would look 10x better than the ones taken with my iPhone. Gosh…..I got to the point where I found myself taking prettier photos with the iPhone. The iPhone pics looked a whole lot better just because I didn’t know what the heck I was doing with the DSLR. But I figured that this post might be relatable to some folks that have went through or are going through what I am currently going through. I know that many people would be too embarrassed to post the horrible looking photos on their public blog. I still am very much embarrassed too, but I know that I will get over it…..so here we go! Please don’t laugh too hard.I began practicing by shooting landscape. That was easy. Nature just does all the work for you, with the lighting from the sun and just everything being beautiful. It’s just hard to get ugly pictures with beautiful scenery. I realize that there are a number of flaws that can be pointed out to the critical eye…even looking at some of these now, I see overly graininess. Maybe the ISO was too high.
When trying to capture a pretty image with food, it was a different ball game! I was still not that comfortable with using all of the functions. I read through it all, all the instructions in the manual and the tips I read in Plates to Pixels…but to actually use all that info and apply it was not as easy as it sounded.I’ve only shot with natural lighting so far. I have yet to delve into the art of using artificial lighting. That’s far far away from the agenda. I haven’t even mastered this natural lighting business yet.
The experts recommend that you don’t start off by shooting something too fancy. If you are to start with a fancy dessert or something that took you a lot of time and effort to assemble, especially ones that are time sensitive (like frozen desserts or soufflés), you will end up wanting to tear your hair out. No way I was going to start with anything I had to take time to assemble all pretty just to have it captured ugly. So I started with an apricot. It has a vibrant orange color and it can’t get any simpler than a single apricot shot, right? I wasn’t really thinking too much into props or backgrounds yet…I just wanted to see how the apricot itself comes out and practice using all those complicated functions. And well, it turned into a mess like this:
I was still trying to get the hang of getting used to the trinity functions of a camera (ISO, F Stop, and Shutter Speed).
I tried shooting blueberries next while playing around with different settings. Oh God…what the heck was I doing??!
Why does it look so hideous??! I was using a small white plate and packed on the blueberries to give that abundant look. I wasn’t feeling it and continued being frustrated.
I tried shooting corn. I love me some corn! No idea how to angle, prop, or style corn. I just laid it down on a piece of white card board and shot.
I captured most of the produce shots (above) somewhere around 11am to 1pm.On my day off, I was able to shoot later than the usual times that I have been shooting (in 2-4pm lighting). I know it has a long long way to go to be any decent, but I guess I can say this is somewhat of an improvement compared to the other blueberries photos. Shot later in the afternoon, different bowl (clear), and using a tripod.
Getting a hold of a tripod made a huge difference in image and comfort in using. My dad lent me the tripod too.
It is about 30 years old. But hey, it gets the job done. I can’t complain. I remember this tripod being used for many many family photographs over the years, back in the days (dad used it mostly in the 80s…not so much in the later years since his equipment started getting lighter). So I guess it’s somewhat of a family gem being passed down.
Direct sunlight creates a harsh image. I was playing around to see what direct sunlight would do to the bright red strawberries. I took it outside and shot. I used a silver reflector because it looked worse without it. I guess you would need sunglasses to view this image. It’s so sunny and bright, but doesn’t it just scream “come out into the sun and enjoy some strawberries!” haha at least that is what I had in mind.
I like to tell stories (as you may have noticed). But I’ve only known to be able to tell stories with words, not through photographs (not yet). Photographs speak a thousand words and always have a story to tell. So I decided that the story to be told would be the first thing I focus on before I even take the picture. What do I want my story to tell? What type of message am I trying to send? I figure that starting with that goal in mind would help me in the process of the photo shooting.As far as props and equipment go, I plan on going DIY as much as I can and find things around the house that I can use. I want to spend as little as possible if I can. For a reflector (it’s the only reflector source that I have used so far, so I have nothing to compare it to), I have been using a silver cake board. I also have a white cardboard that I use for a bouncer. When I am ready to start exploring with other colors, I will get more card boards in different shades at Daiso ($1.50). I think Daiso will be my place to shop for props and things. And for the rest, I will dig through my house. I “getting creative” and finding value in old junk is what I gotta do.
Oh yeah and I still need to learn how to use that post editing thing. Why is photography so complicated? Lol but it certainly is fun learning.Sandra of Sandra’s Easy Cooking has been a big source of moral support in this whole process, holding my hand and being encouraging. She’s great at dumbing things down to explain things in a way I can understand better. Her food photos are always mouthwatering (she’s a pro hehe). So I am always learning from her. I always tell her that it would be so cool if we were neighbors. I'd be following my nose to her door since she's always cooking up something yummy. And it would be so cool to watch her in action (shooting her food). I think I'd be able to learn a bit faster and more efficiently if I can observe someone in person and maybe shadow them, and to have someone there to observe me and tell me what I am doing wrong. But oh well...I will make ado.
Below is a list of links that I found to be helpful in this whole food photography business:
https://plus.google.com/u/0/communities/114895417659148613939 - this google + community is pretty supportive can be helpful in critiquing each others' work. Some of the members are professional photographers. But sometimes people tend to spam with links and irrelevant pics, straying away from the whole purpose of the community. That part gets annoying, but other than that, it's great. I haven't submitted any photos there (taken with the DSLR) yet though.
http://jenncuisine.com/resources/tutorial-collection/ (who has her own list of links)
For mobile phone food photography (I use the iPhone 5)