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An easy way to start learning about food photography

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I wrote some posts about food photography on my blog, but they are not in the normal order. For a person who just starts learning is a little difficult to look for it, so I made a list with all the posts in the proper order. It will be easy to read them all or just the ones that you need.

We start with the basic ones some summary about food photography, tips and types. Then we go in details about white balance, depth of field, light, props, etc.

Learning about photography

For food photography you can use any camera you have or you like. In this post you will read about some of them and see if you like the one you use or you want to upgrade it.

Smartphone, compact camera or DSLR

In this 2 posts I am talking about the lens I use for food photography.

My lens for food photography

Nikon Micro Nikkor 105mm F2.8

The importance of White balance in photography:

White balance

How to use in your advantage DOF – depth of field

DOF

Here are some settings for a dish with examples:

Lighting 1

Lighting 2

Same settings and lighting – different photos

I can talk all day about props you use in your food photography, white or black background and the way they change the story in your photo. Here are some posts about it.

Black or white background

Props for food photography

Glasses and jars

Props or less props

Same food – different props

Here are some amazing photographers that inspire me all these years. Make a list of your own and keep it close.

Inspiration

I still have to learn a lot about retouching, but here are some of my examples that can help you at the begging.

Post processing

Food retouching in Photoshop

 

 

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Same food – different props

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As you will see in the photos, you can use different props for the same food. In my examples, I have a mushroom risotto and I use lots of props to make many different photos. This is the best exercise you can do to start learning about styling and props. Play around with everything you have.

Leave the same settings and just change the background or the props. I had natural light coming from the right side and I had a wooden background. I took a lot of photos from different angles and with different props. Later on, you can analyze them and learn.

Keep taking photos!

 

Styling the risotto

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To get to be a good food stylist you need to be first a good cook. I am still working to be a good cook. Learning to style your food takes time, practice and lots of food. Paying attention to details is also an important asset for a food stylist.

The more time you spend to make your food attractive, the easier it gets to take the shot. Make more food than a plate so you have material to play with. Before starting to take photos get all the props on the table. Make a selection of pots, plates, cutlery, backgrounds or cloths you want to use in the photo. Maybe you will not use them all, but is good to have them near you. You can also stage some photos without the food.

Your food is the hero in the story. Every props you use need to participate in the story you want to tell. If you want vintage, everything must be vintage. If you want modern, everything goes modern.

In my story, my hero is mushrooms with cheese risotto. I used a brown rustic bowl on a wooden background because I wanted my story to be rustic.

First shot was only with the bowl and the cloth. I put some fresh parsley on top, to complement my dish. I have fresh parsley in the garden. If you by the herbs some hours before, keep them in a jar with water.

From there I build the second shot adding some ingredients from the recipe in the background: cheese and parsley. I used an old pepper grinder in the back and I put the parsley on a piece of wood. The focus is always on the bowl.

Keep taking photos!

Dessert for Valentine’s Day

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Love, love, love… All we need is love in our life. Love for food, animals, nature, people, etc. Some are counting the hours till Valentine’s Day is here. This recipe will help anyone without ideas for breakfast or dessert to celebrate Valentine’s Day.

Made by you, this dessert will be a special gift for the person you love.

Ingredients:

  • 200 ml yogurt
  • ½ banana
  • 1 cup mulberries
  • 1 cup oat flakes
  • 2 tea spoon honey (optional)

Directions:

Prepare the glasses for the dessert. I used whiskey glasses.

Start making layers with your ingredients in this order: oat flakes, yogurt, mulberries, yogurt, oat flakes, banana and mulberries.  Add honey on top of the mulberries at the end. Serve immediately or keep it in the fridge.

You can make more or less layers, as you like it. You can also add other fruits.

Enjoy!

Love of food

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We need food, quality food for a quality life. I love food. Don’t get me wrong, I am not eating till I pass out kind of love. Is more of a eating a delicious meal kind of love.

Eating good food in a healthy quantity is my philosophy.

I love trying new meals, new fruits or vegetables. Living in a small city in a small country, I discover almost every day new great things about food, and with internet and all the information out there, is so easy to educate yourself about it.

I always had this love for food, for the ingredients, for the cooking process and for the presentation.

George Bernard Show said “There is no sincerer love than love of food”.

I have food that I tried and I didn’t like it. I am teaching my son to taste the food and discover the love for it. Sometimes it takes time to appreciate a meal but sometimes you just fell in love with a meal.

I love food because brings family and friends together. We bond other a barbeque or a holiday dinner, or just a simple gathering.

I love food because we have so many choices: Chinese, Italian, Greek, Mexican, etc. Every day could be a different meal.

And most of all, I love food because I can cook it, I can make new recipes, I can improvise, I can make something special and unique, healthy for me and my family. Made with love, food will have a part of you and it will make you feel great.

So keep loving food!

February – love is in the air

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We have just a few days till Valentine’s Day. So, February, the month celebrating love is here. In Romania we started celebrating Valentine’s Day just some years back, but in my country, we have in February a celebration of love day on 24th. So enjoy love all February and all year long.

This post is for men or women that don’t cook a lot or at all, but they want to do something special for their love ones. For some, Valentine’s Day is a challenge. Buying something nice, flowers, presents, something to prove their love, but when you don’t have a lot of money is difficult. My advice is go simple. You never cook or maybe just something simple like coffee, tea or toast. Don’t despair.

Try something easy. Start the morning with a beautiful surprise. Make her/him waffles the way you like it: gluten free, sugar free, eggs free or full sugar, gluten and eggs. If you don’t know how to make it just buy them. Use a cookie cutter in the shape of heart and make small hearts.

Use blueberries or other fruits. Add a coffee or tea and a flower. Yes, one flower. Bring the breakfast in bed and you won her/his heart early in the morning.

So easy! So simple! But, so beautiful!

Repeat this every day! 😉

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Same settings – different photos

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For me, setting up a table for food photography takes time. So, when the light is good, I am in an inspirational mood and I have time, I am taking more photos with the same settings. In the photos you will see I have a corner with lots of light coming from lots of windows.

Here I used only a diffusible panel to have smooth shadows. The background is the same, my beautiful old wooden board. I also added a grey shawl and a yellow board. The light was the same, only the styling and the props changed in the photos.

You can see some examples with the settings.

Keep taking photos!

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Potatoes

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Roasted, mashed or baked, we all consider potatoes most of the time as comfort food. Being available all year long, potatoes are one of the few vegetables I grew up with. There wasn’t a day without potatoes.

You need to store them in a cool, dry and dark place.

Potatoes are indigenous to Peru, where they have been cultivated by the Inca Indians since around 200 B.C. They were introduced into Ireland during the early part of the 16th century where they became popular.

Nutritional value of potatoes per 100g:

  • How many calories in a potato – 77
  • How much protein in a potato – 2g
  • How many carbs in a potato – 17g
  • What is the fat content of a potato – 0.1g

Health benefits:

For pain and discomfort caused by rheumatism use raw potato juice

Lectins like those present in the potatoes inhibit cancer cell growth

Helps with the maintenance of bone and structure with minerals like phosphorus, iron, magnesium, calcium and zinc.

Potatoes contain dietary fiber, which helps lower blood cholesterol.

Provide support for a healthy heart because they contain potassium, fiber, vitamin B-6 and vitamin C.

Vitamin C is promoting the ability of collagen to improve skin texture and smooth wrinkles.

The B vitamins help to support adrenal function, calming and maintain a healthy nervous system.

Learning photography

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I have been asked about online courses or books about photography or food photography many times. Learning about photography is a long process and takes time and practice, patience and love for this beautiful art. There is no recipe for learning or any magic trick. I am no expert, but I can share with you my learning process. It took me lots of years to get here and will take more years to move forward.

Photography started as a hobby and was a hobby for 4 – 5 years. I read a lot about it and most of the reading was online or from books because I couldn’t find a proper photography course in my city at that time.

Learn the basics and practice a lot. Be prepare for feedback. At the begging you will get a lot of bad reviews, but in time you will start to do better and your reviews will get better. Don’t be mad, people tend to forget that they were in your place too. Remember that you are just learning.

Another big step is to choose which part of photography you want to learn. Some people will say that photography is photography so you can shoot everything: food, people, landscape, etc. True. Learn the basic and you will shoot everything, but you will be a mediocre photographer shooting everything. If you want to be good choose something you like and then go back to learning some more. Be the best in an area of photography.

It took me years to decide what I wanted to shoot. I was shooting people, landscape, plants, but never felt like I really found my area. So in 2012, shooting some food in my house I discovered that I like it but I am no good at shooting food.

So I went back to learning. I searched on internet and found food photographers and their websites. Made a big list and start learning from them.  Also, I bought Styling Lighting Photographing Food Professional. This is a food photography book from Lara Ferroni. I love her style and I love this book. It helped me a lot to see what I was doing wrong and improve it.

Another thing that I did was to take a 30 days course of food photography: Learn food photography. It is free and helps you. Make time for it.

Now, I can tell you that the best way to learn about photography is to join a good course. If you can’t find one in your city try one online. But let it be a good one. If you settle for something cheap and bad you will waste money, but the most important, you will waste time and not learning anything.

Find a group of photographers in your area and go out shooting. Exchange ideas, technical stuff and as questions. Don’t be afraid.

If you have a good photographer in your area try and talk to him/her to take you under his/her wing. Pay him to go and work with him, or just intern for a studio. This is a good way to practice. Choose someone good, because you want to go forward, not back.

Go to workshops. Always find photographers that are good. A good workshop is not cheap but is a great way to learn from the photographer you really admire.

Good luck!