The camera loves you, baby

by Jeanne on January 18, 2005

in Photography

Yes, yes, I know a picture is worth a thousand words, but quite often I find a thousand words easier to produce than a good picture of food!  In theory, it should be a breeze – it can’t move out of the frame, because you are usually indoors you have control over the lighting, and (in theory) you should have endless time to get the focus, exposure and depth of field just right.  Sounds like a breeze, no?  But of course, these things are only true if you are a professional food photographer with a staff of assistants, proper studio lighting and you aren’t actually going to attempt to photograph food that can be eaten.  Oh no, far better to photograph food that is too undercooked for human consumption, blackened artificially with a blowtorch, or dollied up with some food make-up to make it look juicy/crispy/cooked/whatever.  And of course easier when you aren’t trying to take a good photo between plating and consumption, while the food is chilling and congealing on the plate and the guests are trying to sneak mouthfuls between exposures.  In my house, food photography involves making the food, prepping the camera to the right settings, plating the (cooked-for-human-consumption) food, hotfooting it upstairs to where there is a fairly mobile halogen spotlight near an uncluttered background, photographing the food while swatting my starving husband’s marauding hands out of the frame, and then thundering back downstairs to eat.  So I imagine (and sincerely hope!) that I’m not alone when I say that I find food photography pretty damn difficult.

So I was rather pleased to find this series of posts over at Kitchen Conference, demonstrating what can be done with some good imaging software, even if you didn’t manage to snap the perfect pic just by using your traditional photography skills.   

And then today I found this post on Chilli und Ciabatta where they include a handy list of useful food photography links.  The site is in German (well worth the translation though!) but the list contains largely English articles.  If you want to feel better about your food photographs, have a look at the second last article for the real low-down on those perfect shots.  Hilarious!

Food Photography Blog – tips on food photography from Michael Ray
Shutterbug – An Insider’s Look At Food Photography – “If You Can Shoot Food, You Can Shoot Anything!”
Simone Paddock on Tasteful Food Photography
Food Photografy – Delicious Shots.Cheap.
Cook’s Illustrated – Food Photography Tips
Tipps zur Food und Drink Fotografie from Frank Hoffmann (German)
Die Sendung mit der Maus – what really goes on behind those "perfect" food photos (German)
PHOTOGRAPHIE-Ausgabe 4/2001 – German online photography magazine’s feature on food photography (German)

So what are you waiting for – fire up those digital cameras and go practice!

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{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

Owen January 18, 2005 at 6:50 pm

Wow! You’re on a roll! I am always impressed at how much you write and how well, but even more so now!


Jeanne January 19, 2005 at 12:30 pm

*blush* – thanks Owen! I always aspire to brief, pithy prose, but if that’s clearly not my natural style… So instead you get the lengthy tell-it-like-it-happened offerings that you do. As Anthony from Spiceblog said, more pillars than posts. ;-)


Petra January 19, 2005 at 4:41 pm

I really like the description of your photo shootings! But it’s a little bit the same here, so I absolutely know what you are talking of ;-) Thanks for mentioning Chili und Ciabatta – you do speak German or at least understand a lot?


Joolez January 19, 2005 at 11:49 pm

Jeanne, I fear I am not able to keep up with you :-)
So many pictures, so much to read
I’m doing the bestI can, but I am weak on the commenting part, which doesn’t mean I am not reading. I am hardly posting anymore myself
Did I ever mention: Happy New Year? ;-]


Jeanne January 20, 2005 at 11:32 am

Glad you stopped by! I don’t speak German – but I can read and understand it to some extent (clearly a side-effect of hangin about at the Oktoberfest too much!!). And there’s always Babelfish for the particularly tricky passages!
Welcome back! I was wondering if you were still in the blogosphere… Glad you like all the stuff I’ve been posting – I’m still trying to catch up with you in the photo quality stakes though… Will e-mail you later.


Christina January 20, 2005 at 1:14 pm

Thanks for the links. Very useful. This is something I’ve been thinking about recently. And my old Powershot A10 finally died on me Monday, so now I’m researching new cameras as well, with the main proviso they’re good for food photography. And lighter!


Carolyn January 20, 2005 at 4:31 pm

Thanks so much for the great links on how to photograph food.


Jeanne January 20, 2005 at 11:26 pm

Sorry to hear about your loss… but there’s nothing like a camera death in the family to inspire a bout of retail therapy! Perfect time to upgrade… Let me know what you get – and whether you find it’s any better at food photography. I suspect I may need more than another camera – maybe a studio & proper lights ;-)
Only a pleasure – I just passed on what Chilli & Ciabatta researched. Fascinating stuff though – all that uncooked but painted poultry out there in the glossies… Amazing!


Joolez January 20, 2005 at 11:45 pm

wah? what? your pictures are great! the Paris ones are the best! This is my all time favorite: and the others are not any less good. your pictures are great! write that down 100 times, so you won’t forget ;-)


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