>> Sunday, January 16, 2011
Welcome to another installment of Spicie Foodie's Photography Tips & Tricks tutorials. I want to thank you all for the great feedback you left on the first tutorial. It's so great to read all of your comments and really gives me the inspiration to keep these coming and sharing my knowledge with you. Before we move on to other step by step tutorials on how I shoot I wanted to share this tutorial about cameras. It was meant to be the first one, as understanding what camera you own is very important. This is a general guide with some good and bad points of each type of camera. To help give you ideas of price range and selections click on the photos for more information. Before we move on to it, there were some comments and emails I'd like to address.
The EGO Lights: It seems like they are getting mixed reviews, but the common comment was that they do work well enough. The bad thing about them was that you have to place them very close to the food and possibly buy 2 for better results. And others said that since they are table lamps they can limit you to where/how you use them. As opposed to the light stand that can be moved around, lowered or lifted up to the location you need.
On a lighter note there were comments about family expecting(demanding) to eat right away once dinner is done. Luckily I don't have this problem but I understand this can be an issue for some. The only thing I can suggest to tell them is, it will be ready when you say it's ready! No I'm just kidding :) Perhaps serve them first and save a plate for yourself to shoot after the family has been served, you can then take the time to shoot your photos. With practice you can set up and shoot a handful of photos all within 3 minutes. More on that another time...
There were some emails, comments and questions regarding cameras and what my opinion was on the type, brand you should buy. I don't believe in someone telling others "I do something this way and it's the only way of doing it or I use this product and it's the only option you have" There are many ways of doing things and many products to choose from, make educated decisions for yourself. Okay saying that I am a Pentax user, I've always found their products to be high quality, extraordinary and have always had great results. I suggest reading and looking online for reviews and photo quality comparisons before choosing a camera brand. Stop by a local photography shop and ask the staff for help, or to try out a camera.
Umm Mymoonah asked the following: "Does camera plays a major role in photography or the way we use it. Is it possible to get good pictures without any SLR ?" First part, yes and no. Yes because the camera you choose will effect what you want to use if for. For example you wouldn't use a Point and Shoot camera to do a professional shoot and sell your photography, you need a good DSLR for that. The second part of the question, yes! If you know how to use your camera, compose properly and have good light, you can shoot nice photographs. The only thing to think about then is does the camera have the quality that I need.
A common statement people say is "this camera takes good pictures" I'm not a fan of this statement because while the camera does its technical part, the operator plays the biggest role in the shot,(We compose it, we tell the camera what to do.) A person can have a $7,000 camera with all the bells and whistles, but if they don't know how to use it they might as well just take the money and throw it in the garbage. Moral of this story is learn your camera, learn to shoot in Manual mode, learn about aperture, learn composition, learn about white balance, learn about photo quality, read that owner's manual if you have to. So you can take good pictures. Now some information about camera types.
- Point and Shoot Cameras, P.&S. (also called consumer cameras): These cameras are fully automatic, perfect for everyday use and are a hassle free option. They are the most compact size and can easily be stored in a pocket, making them the perfect travel companion. P.& S. cameras are the easiest to use, you don not need any training. Just point, press down on the shutter and you've got your shot. The features and controls are very easy to understand. Depending on the camera you may have the option of shooting in different modes, adjusting focus, white balance, and ISO, of course all within very narrow limits . P.&S. are also the cheapest option, and no extra lenses are required. The bad sides are obviously you will be very limited on the control over your shooting. The image quality will not be as good as the other 2 options, but you can still get good results. A P.&S. camera is a good enough camera option if you are just looking for a good vacation, snapshot and camera to shoot small photos for your blog. With a little practice and manual reading you can learn enough before moving on to the next level.
Shot with a Pentax Optio WPi (point&shoot), on a very overcast day. Only minimal levels adjustments to bring out the clouds, and slight tone change. (Photo from my archive)
- Prosumer Cameras: This type of camera is between a point and shoot and an DSLR. The term is a cross between professional and consumer. Prosumers are the medium sized cameras but still easy to carry around. They have more features and controls than a point and shoot but are more limiting than a DSLR. A good camera for enthusiasts or someone looking to learn more about photography but not quite ready for the big boy DSLR with all it's features and controls. The price range will be in the middle of the 2 other options, or sometimes comparable to DSLRs. They have better lenses than a point and shoot, but not as good as a DSLR. The lens is attached and you cannot change lenses like you could on a DSLR. (* Though there are special attachment available to adjust lens range for some models.) The image quality will be better than a point and shoot and you will have more controls over your photography. I use to own a Fuji Finepix that had Manual controls, Aperture and Shutter priority, white balance, ISO and I was very happy with the results.
Shot with Fuji FinePix S7000, a prosumer camera and my first camera! I used natural or window light and only slight levels adjustments in Photoshop. (Another photo from my archives.)
-DSLR (Digital Single Lens Reflex): This is the camera for those looking to have full control over their photographs. These are the bigger of the options listed here, and are also heavier. The lenses are interchangeable, you also have the option of buying different lenses for your specific needs. (* If you have old film Pentax camera lenses you can use them on the new DSLs. I don't know if you can do this with Cannon and Nikon.) You can shoot in RAW format, which gives you larger and better quality photos. The digital noise is virtually non-existant and the image detail is much better than the two other options. There are a range of DSLR level cameras, from entry level to serious professional level cameras. DSLR are obviously the more expensive and best suited for serious enthusiast and professionals. I would recommend to those looking to learn on a DSLR to buy an entry level until you get comfortable with the camera and learn all of the settings before moving on to a more expensive higher level DSLR.
Shot on a Pentax K10D DSLR, with continues fluorescent light off to the side. The background was darkened, contrast and levels were adjusted in Photoshop.
If you are in the market for a new camera I recommend this great site, Digital Photography Review or dpreview.com. They have sections for all of the different camera manufacturers with reviews of the cameras and image samples. There are forums to ask for advice as well as learning sections.
Which of these camera types do you own? Do you know if your camera has a white balance option? Do you know how to adjust the image size and quality on your camera? I highly recommend that you look at your manual or sit and learn the camera's features. In the coming lessons we will be discussing them.