My food photography journey has been about lots of ups and downs. Lemon in Ginger is 2 years old today. I thought it was time for change, some new beginnings… but will have to wait awhile. To celebrate my journey I’m sharing how I’ve developed my food photography skills in last 2 years as I and You can see a remarkable difference from where I was w.r.t my photos.
Some of you may be familiar with my wish list about this blog. My interest has developed everyday from baking, to decorating, to styling, to photography, to DIY, to setting-up my studio through this blog. I’m becoming adventurous in everything I do here, the latest which has taken shape very strongly is food photography.
When I started this blog, I took some interest & ended up making friends with Ronit, a food photographer based in Pune. Soon after I took a break & had to restart all over again. This time around, I’ve been reading – practicing, reading – practicing, and reading – practicing almost everyday. I’m reading from styling food, composition, lighting, photography equipment, camera, accessories, must-haves, best buys, tips & experiences, etc etc etc from wherever I can.
My Photography Gear – The reason I choose to mention this here is that I am a point & shoot girl, Canon Powershot A710 IS which is 6 years old. I don’t own a dSLR and do not foresee owning one in near future as well, due to constraints, coz I realized it is not just dSLR, I would need to invest in upgraded PC/ laptop, tripod, lenses, image editing software and other accessories. We have just bought our own apartment and similarly experienced flat owners tell me, that first 2-3 years are of frugal living. So I would continue with my P&S for a while.
Along with this, in last 6 months, I have hoarded few scraps of fabric, mats, mount boards, wooden crate, etc. – though clearly I have not been using them wisely or aesthetically yet. I intend to use new apartment perks like leftover tiles and wooden boards as backgrounds. Also it would give me a dedicated space to set-up my studio. All these props require minimal investment from my side. :)
I came across Nicole S. Young’s Book on Food Photography – From Snapshots to Great Shots and convinced V for buying it for me. Calling it an excellent book is an understatement. I easily get lost in too much technical information, so for me this book was perfect, it is not technical but at the same time, gave me a clear understanding of depth of field, wide aperture, shutter speed etc. I think the biggest reason is having stunning photos depicting each with different settings, so one realises how the change in aperture would change the same photo.
Before reading this book, I had already started working on my lighting which I shared with you here using both natural set-up & lightbox. I had already read my camera manual inside out & was shooting on manual mode. After reading this book, I realized that there were somethings which were bang-on & some totally off! My natural light set-up, against a north facing window, was perfect. Most food bloggers use that but for me it was unintentional, purely matter of chance and availability of space in my tiny apartment. But I was over-exposing my images, I did not know how to use my zoom lens well so there was lot of background noise, I didn’t know what a histogram is and how it will help me take better pictures to start with initially. In short, I can say this book helped me realize full potential of my camera – Yes, a point & shoot also has a lot of potential!
This book gave me huge insights about composition, styling, props, etc, which is a subjective influence and needs to be slowly developed and cultivated with lot of trial and error. As I’ve read other famous bloggers & food photographers say that using inspiration develop your own style. I am probably not even on step-1 of this journey but I know I am on the right path.
This book also gave detailed instructions of Work-flow or image editing in Lightroom, Photoshop & Photoshop Elements. I sadly have not been able to use this information as I shoot with P&S.
I started observing lot of photos, images and even movies around me after reading this book. A recent status update on my Facebook Page – “Two things I gained from 2.5 hours of Lincoln – Daniel Day Lewis & Lincoln is all about Chiaroscuro i.e. dark food photography in my food & photography world.”
I was recently told by a professional food photographer cum instructor that my photos are decent and my level is not that basic. It made me feel good & proud. It also made me believe that it’s not just the camera, even a P&S can give good results and there are many more things to photography than just dSLR.
Note: The purpose of sharing my photography journey through my ‘inglorious’ mistakes is to assure nascent photographers like me that there is a learning curve, sometimes one doesn’t know how to apply the knowledge one has, sometimes the gear is not the best – BUT if you persist, you will do better & better results with each click & the journey is continuous.