I’ve decided to pass on kids books for the month of December. We’re 5 days into our 25 Days of Christmas Advent Calendar, which is enough for me right now! If you are interested in seeing our holiday selections for this activity check out this post or this one.
But for today, I wanted to share some photography books that I love for beginners interested in photographing food. I’ve been applying much of the information I’ve been learning in my photography in general, but yesterday I tried my hand at “real” food photography for my cousin who just released a new ecookbook! You can buy it from New Leaf Wellness online, but check Kelly’s blog in the next few days as she’ll be sharing this delicious recipe with all of you lucky readers.
Kelly’s Chicken Chili was delicious. She wanted “clean” images with light/white props lending a 100% focus on the food.
A natural placemat and white poster board background was all I needed.
And I wanted to give Kelly a few options about which angle she liked best.
I’m not sure I can decided which angle I like best but the chili definitely stands out.
Did I mention it’s a crockpot recipe? That’s the best part!
Anyway, back to the books…
These are my two favorites (and the only two I actually own). They are definitely worth the money if you are serious about photographing food. It’s a great reference for technical information but also really good to read through and get a better idea of how to use light, props, and your camera in a general way. I love the inclusion of side by side photos with different camera settings. This is the clearest way for me to understand what changing this number or that number will actually do to the photo. The books are not intimidating at all and didn’t leave me feeling overwhelmed about all of the things I can’t do yet with my camera. I learn a lot from my brothers who are wonderful photographers, and from you tube when necessary, but I love having information in a hard copy format sitting on my shelf whenever I need it.
These are a few of my favorite tid bits I’ve learned from these books:
- Use natural light. While it is certainly possible to get beautiful photos with artificial light, it is easier and more natural to use- duh- natural light. Plus, natural light requires barely any “professional” equipment or camera accessories so it is great if you are on a budget or not yet willing to spend a fortune on extra gear.
- Don’t take the same shot a million times. It will be necessary to play with the settings on your camera- that’s a given. But once you’ve tried a certain shot or angle, move on to something else. Playing with composition is crucial in getting a good photograph of food
- Keep props to a minimum and make sure they are relevant to your image. If it’s not an ingredient in the dish, don’t use it in the photo. Obviously there are exceptions to this rule, but you don’t want a viewer getting distracted by wondering how something fits in your image. Keep it relevant!
- Collecting props takes time- and imagination! In the beginning, white dishes and wood work beautifully. Over time, special bowls, plates, and other items like dishtowels, old wood planks, and serving pieces will come in handy to create interesting compositions. Don’t get overwhelmed by trying to collect props all at once. Use what you have and build from there.
- Try not to fall into the habit of thinking you can edit every picture to make it perfect. Programs like Photoshop, Lightroom, and even iPhoto can change and alter a photograph to make it perfect. But capturing the perfect photo right on your camera should be your goal. This will help build your technical skills and make the whole process of editing photos a lot less daunting.
Hope you like them as much as I do. They’d make a perfect Christmas present for the photogs on your list! Happy snapping!