The inaugural food photography class for food bloggers took place last weekend at Muriwai at the gourmet gannet workshop www.gourmetgannet.co.nz. All partcipants all found it useful , but had particular concerns that I thought I could address further in this post.
The basics of cameras is always a good place to start, and some of you found apertures and shutter speeds confusing. Simply put : With the aperture , the higher the number the smaller the hole and the smaller the whole the more there is in focus . With Shutter speeds the higher the number the faster the shutter speed and the better ability to stop fast motion. So if you are pouring cream or sauce in a picture , you might want to consider this. The two are interrelated so in any given amount of light they need t0 be adjusted to get the correct exposure , and then creative decisions taken as to whether you want more in focus or you need to stop movement for some reason – or if you are hand holding the camera you will need the fastest shutter speed you can use to make your details crisp and sharp. If you need to acheive a small amount o focus then a wide aperture and a fast shutter speed need to be used.
To increase or decrease the sensitivity to light of your camera you can use the asa /iso setting . the higher the setting the more sensitive the camera is to light , but at the cost of a degradation in the image quality , but this will depend on the model of camera, and the bigger the camera the bigger the chip and pixels and the more ability to gather light and produce a higher quality image. So an SLR is better than a point and shoot in this regard.
Tripod – Use a tripod if possible , its so much easier if only one thing is moving around. Its not just to keep your camera still , but it can be an important tool to aid composition.
Different light sources – we looked at the difference between tungsten and daylight , many of you were concerned about how you might photograph your food in winter and the shortage of daylight hours to work with. Remember your camera has a tungsten light switch which allows you to use indoor light , if using conventional tungsten bulbs , if using fluorescent, we looked at how to balance the lighting with a grey card using the raw file settings on your camera, .we can do this with jpegs as well within some programs like the Canon digital
professional pro we were using . ( free with your Canon SLR ) its also possible in Adobe lightroom and Camera Raw amongst other computer programmes. Some programmes also allow you to shoot directly to your computer , very useful for a better assessment of your images.
Reflectors- a basic reflector, white or silver , can make all the difference to lighten shadows and create attractive highlights on the food. We also looked at using a black reflector to deepen shadows and get a more ” rembrandt painting” style of effect.