>> Wednesday, February 9, 2011
a previous tutorial post I told you that I use a light stand like the one above, with a flourescent lightbulb and a white umbrella. The white umbrella is used to diffuse or soften the light. The umbrella helps spread the light in a more direct area. It creates a softer light that shooting without an umbrella wouldn't. The bare lightbulb will give you harsh light and can cause overexposure or blowouts in some areas of your photos.
Today I'm going to be showing you my photography set up, how I set things up to shoot with my light stand. I've told you in previous posts that I am not a professional and much of what I know is from trial and error. In the beginning my setup was simple, I used sunlight, placed food or ingredients on table, adjusted the camera setting, shoot and done. I began blogging in July of 2009, being that it was in the summer there was plenty of light to shoot. But as the Autumn approached I needed to figure out a way to keep shooting and started learning about artificial light. (You can see my post about shooting when sunlight is not available here.) I kept practicing with the light, moving it around, up and down, until I felt that I was going in the right direction. There were plenty of errors and bad photos along the way, but now I am happy with my setup.
Gold Reflector Samples:
The most important thing is practice, practice, it doesn't matter if you own a humble point and shoot or a fancy DSLR. I know many of you say you don't have the time to spend shooting photos before you eat. But if you can find 10 or 15 minutes to play around with your camera you will greatly benefit from it. Experiment shooting things on different surfaces, plates, or in different stages of preparation. If you are using artificial light play around with it by moving it around the subject and seeing what has the best results. Practice using a whiteboard or reflector to see how this improves the image. Once you have some practice with setting up the light and plating the food, it will become both easier and faster for you to photograph food before sitting down to eat. The key to all of this is to just keep learning and be creative with what you have before worrying about moving forward.
Do you do any post editing to your photos? I've seen some people saying that they don't like it, don't agree with it and they think it's wrong to do it. I not only disagree but I also think it's a silly attitude to have. This is as much a part of digital photography as properly developing film in a dark room was to film photography. You can see the great results that can be achived with the most minimal of editing to your photos. This photo literally took me 1 minute to adjust. You be the judge, which do you think is better?