I never really tried to photograph food before a couple years ago. When I started cooking and baking I was proud of the fact that I could make stuff that tasted better than rocks or bits of moldy cardboard, so I wanted to show the world what I could do. Here’s the first photo I ever took of my food:
Food photography is a wee bit harder than I had anticipated. And it’s even harder to accomplish when you have a crappy point and shoot camera. I made a slight upgrade from my 5.0 megapixel Canon PowerShot last December to a 14.1 megapixel Sony Cyber shot with a 10x zoom, but it’s still a point and shoot. One of these days, when I’m all growed up and out of school and have a paying job (fingers crossed) I’ll bite the bullet and spend $500 – $1,000 for a decent camera, but I just can’t spend that kind of dough until I start making dough (bread that is).
The Sony isn’t half bad, but it’s fairly pathetic in bad lighting situations, which occur quite often here in the awesome but frequently overcast city of Portland, OR. I’ve been meaning to make a light box since about last October but for some reason I can’t ever find time to get to the store and buy fabric and a lamp (i.e. I hate driving and haven’t forced myself to get in my car and go procure these items). So I fuss and fiddle with this half-ass cardboard background contraption I threw together and often find myself getting drizzled on outside on the roof of our apartment while trying to absorb enough natural light to get a good photo without photographing a shadow… I’m not the smartest of people sometimes. The photo above was taken using this “background” thing I speak of. While it’s not a bad photo, there’s this bluish-gray thing going on when in reality that backdrop is white. This becomes a fairly moot point, however, if you’re doing black and white photos.
But food doesn’t always look good in black and white, of course. Here are some other photos I’ve taken using the same camera and half-hazard roof and makeshift background combination.
This photo isn’t bad, but the background has a blue tint and you can see the shadow on the right side of the main cupcake.
I really like this photo as it has good detailing of the frosting and chocolate rolls I made, but it’s blue and shadowy as well (which means FoodGawker will NOT accept it – I’ve given up on submitted stuff to them).
This photo is proof that yes, we actually do get sunshine in Portland. You can see that the Sony does a decent job of focusing on some aspects of the items being photograph but tastefully blurs the rest. There is, however, still a shadow and it’s not really very photogenic because I was lazy and didn’t dress it up at all.
I thought this picture was pretty damn good but FoodGawker, again, rejected it – probably because of the blue tint. I think that’s my biggest problem, blueness. That and the fact that FoodGawker is too damn picky (they’ve rejected me, a lot).
It’s a lot of work photographing food. Even when a photo looks good there are so many little details that can make it not good, so you have to take like a gazillion pictures of everything. Every time I make something my husband’s like, “Can we eat it yet?” One of these days I’ll actually get my act together and go to the fabric store and a-l-l t-h-e w-a-y to Ikea to buy a cheap lamp to make my light box. But until then, I’ll keep fighting with the Portland sun.
Do you photograph food? What kind of camera do you have? Any special tips you’d like to share?