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!