Food Photography goes hand in hand with Food blogging
While it is important to write, plan content, test recipes, and execute food preparation well, It is equally necessary to have eye-pleasing food photos in the blog. Of course I did not know that before. When I started to share recipes here in Woman Scribbles, I had no idea how important food photography is.
So I randomly took photos of my food without much thought. As time went on, I realized that my blog is missing out on one aspect, and that is putting food in the limelight it deserves by taking mouth-watering food photographs.
If you are starting a food blog, I would say nothing can replace stunning food photography as one of the important factors in food blogging. It is one of the things that draw people into your blog.
As with any skill, food photography involves a lot of practice, patience and willingness to learn. Over the 4 years of food blogging, I have learned so much in food photography I but still have LOTS of room to improve. I would say that the most important things you can do is to acquire the right tools, to study and to practice!
I am so far from being a pro. Oh my, no. But with the few years of trying, learning and practicing, there are things I have acquired that I find very helpful in improving my food photos.
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Food Photography: The Tools
I use Olympus E-PM2 for all the photos here in the blog. In the first couple of years, I was using a point and shoot camera. I bought Olympus E-PM2 when I could not tame my desire to improve my food photography any longer. It is compact, easy to carry very easy to use.
It is pretty straight forward, yet it has the ability to take photos that are as stunning as the ones taken with high-priced DSLRs. This camera is my gem. It is such a joy and definitely an indispensable tool in my food blogging. All you need is to get to know it, practice with it and Foodgawker will love you in no time!
The lens I use for my food photography is M. Zuiko 40-150 mm / 1:4-5:6 by Olympus. This is the only one I use for now because, well , you know, lenses can be very pricey. It is included with the purchase of the camera I mentioned above. I am not sure if it really comes with the purchase or it was a promo they had that time, but opening the package and seeing an extra lens, I thought ” okay, great”.
I did not have the slightest idea that lenses can make a world of a difference in taking photos. This lens allows me to create pretty decent and dramatic bokeh ( the blurry background). I still can remember the thrill and excitement I felt when my photo got accepted to Foodgawker for the first time, It was surreal!
Lowel Ego Light is an artificial day light unit that allows me to take photos when I have no natural light available. Especially here in Canada where we get longer nights during the winter, It is hard to find time to take food photos because it gets dark early. Being a busy mother and a blogger, It is extremely helpful to be able to take photos in the early morning or at night when everyone in the house is still sleeping (aheerm kids!). This Lowel Ego unit also comes with a white board reflector that helps bounce the light back to lighten up shadows and dark areas.
Food Photography Books
Tasty Food Photography is the first book I acquired out of my desire to learn food photography. Lindsay of Pinch of Yum wrote this very practical, very straightforward book that shows you how to swipe food with light, teaches you options of where should the light come from, and demonstrates lots of composition tips.
I love books so I basically devoured this one. It is the one thing that initially helped me improve my photography even when I was still using my smart phone and a point and shoot camera.
Plate to Pixel by Helene Dujardin is a vast pool of food photography knowledge in a book. This is an extensive and elaborate book covering almost every aspect of food photography in depths. She tackles everything from the technical side to the composition and styling. Like Tasty Food Photography, it has lots of stunning food photos to better illustrate the topic being discussed.
This book is pretty much like a bible of food photography to me.
Props and Backgrounds
My favorite set up in food is to use props and backgrounds that make it seem that the food is in natural setting. So extra plates, some linens and even food are perfect props to use.
Let the recipe be your guide as well. In this photo, Mango is one of the element in the composition because it is one of the main ingredients.
I also have photography boards . They are like “pretend tables”. You can build them yourself ( like I did) and materials can be bought from hardware and home improvement stores like Home Depot. They are easy to move around the house so you can get more light coming to your set-up. I made a couple of this so I can choose from them and use them to vary the set up or mood that I am aiming for in my food photography. For a tutorial on how to make one, check this How to Make Photography Board post.
Pixlr – this is what I use to edit my photos. It is free and easy to use especially if you are still at the beginning phase.
Food photography is such a beautiful art. I never thought I’d be so hooked and so eager to learn more about it. When I see a great food photo, I sigh in awe and amazement, almost like being breathless. Sound nerdy? Maybe.
Most people around me might not get it. But they just don’t know it. Food photos affect them. Food photos stir their senses in ways that they don’t notice. I don’t think there is an individual whose senses won’t react ( with or without knowing it) when they see a mouth-watering food photo ( well, maybe the 2 years olds and below).
So, what I am saying is, Food photography is really an art of its own. It is a beautiful thing to learn. So before I get any weirder, I hope you find these things helpful and I wish you start your own road to learning this art. If you have questions, email me, or comment. I will be happy to answer.
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