Archive for April 8th, 2011

April 8, 2011

Food Blogging: Photography Tips For Beginners

Check. it. out.

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It has arrived!!!!

All my goodies:

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Boooooooyah!!!!!!! I cannot wait to use them!

It’s the little things, folks ;).

It was just like Christmas day..

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I tore open this box in approximately .34248562 seconds.

Photography Tips For Beginners

When I first started food blogging, I had no idea what I was doing with my camera or where to place my food to make it look its absolute best when the light shines in. If you look back to my older posts (around December when I first started blogging) they are absolutely horrible haha! I have since evolved and hopefully I can continue to!

By reading other blogs, and figuring out my camera, I’m able to create some pretty good shots (at least I think!). I hope to become better at photography over time but for now I’m happy with where my ‘skills’ are it. I’m always improving and finding new ways to take different pictures and I’m also very inspired how other bloggers are photographing their food. Angela and Ashley’s photos are at the top of my ‘photography inspirations’ list.

As a beginner, I wish someone would’ve helped me out and sort of ‘taught me the reins’ and basics of food photography. I was looking for simple tips that would help improve my pictures without having to buy a $1,000 camera. Although, I’m constantly dreaming over one in particular ;). But that’s a while down the road from now! I’m trying to establish my basic skills in photography so I can sort of ‘earn’ a professional camera. I want to know the ins and outs before I jump head first into something so expensive.

So here’s my little tips that I find very helpful for anyone who is just starting food blogging or who is currently blogging but wants to add a little ‘oomph’ to their current photos. I’m no professional and these are only tips that have help me out. I’ll be sure to share more with you as I grow as a photographer but for right now, I too am still a beginner.

Placemats

While reading food blogs I realized that usually all pictures had pretty backdrops to them, as in placemats. I had no idea I could switch up the quality of a photo by simply adding a pop of color from a placemat. I also had no idea people used placemats. I was always wondering how people got those cool backgrounds around their food. lol.

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I find most of my placemats at Crate and Barrel and they’re actually really cheap! Target and Marshall’s also has great deals for placemats and I once found a 6 pack for about $4.

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My collection isn’t too big, but even if you have a few it can really change up the quality of your pictures and make them more enjoyable to look at.

Cups + plates + cutlery

If you couldn’t already tell, I’m obsessed with buying kitchen supplies. For me, one of the most important parts of taking pictures of your food is in the presentation. If it doesn’t look good, no one will want to make it. Plain and simple. By sprucing up ordinary dishes with fun cups and plates, people will become intrigued by what you’ve made and will want to try it for themselves.

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I love simple white bowls + plates because it really makes the food stand out but I also like colorful bowls as well.

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Fun shaped bowls are awesome too! I love my leaf bowl that I got from Home Goods for about $2! It’s great for the Fall season :). I also picked up some bowls at target the other day that are perfect for Summer.

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See how awesome that watermelon looks? And the bowl does most of the work for you!

I also looooove cups! They have so much character to them. I especially love all things frilly + girly + cute. :D

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More times than none I buy clear cups and glasses so then you can see the drinks + food better. It’s also fun to buy vases and things like beer + wine glasses to layer oats in and different drinks. Don’t be afraid to step outside the box and buy something that won’t be used for it’s intended purpose. Most of my cups don’t cost more than $3.

I also have a collection of colorful spoons..

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I keep these in a tupperware container in my cabinet and grab them when I need them for certain shots. I usually use them with oatmeal because boring beige oats can be turned upside down when you add a pop of color to them! They’re also so cute and tiny :).

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I have to admit though, I rarely ever actually eat with these spoons (except the bigger ones on the left). The tiny ones offer such a little bite and I like to go big or go home when I’m eatin’!

(Note: notice how I used a placemat to draw in your attention more to the picture? It’s a nice pop of color!)

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So so so cute and playful. I got these at Crate and Barrel but I’m not too sure if they sell them anymore. Littler spoons are also more photo friendly because you can usually photograph the whole spoon in one shoot without it looking cutoff.

Lighting

Last but not least is lighting. This is the most important part to food photography (in my opinion). If you don’t have cute plates, cups, and spoons or even placemats, you’ll always be able to afford light (it’s free!). Lighting makes all the difference. You could have the most delicious plate of pasta in front of you but if you don’t have the right lighting it’ll end up looking horrid!

Here’s where I’ve currently been taking all my photos:

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I just recently put this food stand there and the sun shines in perfectly!! I am in love with this spot for taking pictures. I’m not sure where we got these stands but they were pretty cheap and I think Target might sell them? They’re ruined with nail polish but I cover that up with my placemats and they’re as good as new. I’m sure a table would work in the same sense but this is more convenient for me. I can move it when I need to and put it back up in a jiffy.

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I can also adjust the lighting by pulling the shade down/up more which is great.

Sometimes I’ll shoot by my kitchen sink:

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The light shines in great through this window and I’ll use this spot occasionally. I actually photographed my Healthy Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Balls here.

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I was practically in the sink trying to take these photos lol.

On occasion if I want a change of scenery or a view of the outdoors in my food I’ll photograph at our front window:

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I photographed my favorite smoothie at our front window.

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As you can see, all my places that I get natural lighting from have lots of sunlight shining in from the windows. If needed I might put a light reflector (piece of white paper board or binder with tin foil over it to reflect the light) but I haven’t done so in forever. Most importantly, you want to make sure your food is being highlighted and complimented by natural light, so seek out windows when you can!

If I’m having a tough time seeking out natural light, or it’s a rainy day, I’ll turn on my light box! This thing saves my life when I’m in need of taking pictures but have no possible way of getting good lighting.

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Hehehe. The light box is surrounded by chaos! :mrgreen: It’s work great though, I do have to say.

In the bin below the light box is my light reflector (that green thing with the tin foil on it).

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It’s pretty big and I can fit almost any plates + pans + baking sheets and bowls in it. I store my placemats in it when I’m not using it. I got the supplies for it at good ‘ol Home Depot!

I also love to shoot pictures outside in natural with vibrant green grass + bushes around and flowers too! It’s a free backdrop and can add a lot of character to your photos. I shot my Light + Refreshing Wheat Berry Cucumber Salad and my Hot Strawberry Shortcake Oats in the great outdoors ;).

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Editing

Sometimes even when your lighting is great and your plate compliments your food perfectly, a picture can turn out kind of pesky. I use an online photo editor called Picnik. It’s free, you don’t have to sign up, and it’s super easy. I usually just edit the light a little to make the food look a bit more appetizing and I crop my pictures as well. I love love love Picnik! I even add text to my pictures sometimes as seen in my Chocolate Chip Banana Nut Muffins.

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So there you have it, those are my simple tips that can help improve your photos. Of course, I’m no professional but when you’re first starting out I find those to be the most important (and simple/easy) tips. Don’t be afraid to challenge yourself and use things for different purposes. I recently ate oatmeal (gingerbread pumpkin VOO layered with banana soft serve) out of a measuring cup..

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Happy Friday!

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