Photo Lab – A Hub for Learning the Art of Food Photography From a Fellow Rookie

This is the first installment in a new series intended for food bloggers who have little to no photographic training and are trying their best to take gorgeous photos for their sites. I definitely fall into this category.

Until about four months ago the only camera I owned besides my iPhone was an almost seven year old Sony point and click from the mall. And until about a month ago, I didn’t even have a blog. In the Fall of 2014 my poor Sony point and click took a nose dive into the Atlantic Ocean as I was saving my two year old daughter from being engulfed by a huge wave. It was sad but kind of funny and perhaps even providential because my sweet husband got me a new Olympus OM-D E-M10 Digital Mirrorless as an early Christmas present. Here is an excellent review of it by The Wirecutter, a highly respected source for electronic device information (according to my techie hubbie).

In the few short weeks since starting my blog in February this year, I’ve taken thousands of photographs, mostly because it took that many to get a decent shot 🙂 I have learned so much from trial and error, but also from devouring the advice freely offered by professional food photography bloggers.

I thought it would be helpful to someone just starting out, like me, to learn from my mistakes and take this journey with me.

Let’s start with one of the first important lessons I’ve learned. Here are a couple of photos I took for recipe posts back in February this year.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAs you can see the light is really yellow. These were taken under my kitchen lights in the morning.

Zoom forward a few weeks and here are a couple of my most recent photos.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe salad was taken in the late afternoon and the parfait was taken in the morning in the same kitchen as the ones from February. I have one small window in my kitchen, which is at the back of the house, french doors in the adjoining breakfast room, and a lot of large trees towering above my house in the back yard. When the kitchen lights aren’t on, it looks way too dark in there for photos. But I tried a tip I learned from Cooking without Limits from her post Food Lighting I.

The best light for food photography is natural light. Food just looks good when it’s captured in that warm and soft light that has a kind of morning or late afternoon feel; it’s about the mood, it’s about the story we want to tell. | Cooking without Limits

These photos were taken in the morning and afternoon, so guess what? I turned off all the lights. When I looked into my camera I couldn’t believe the difference it made. To my naked eye the room looked too dark to take a decent photo. But through the lens it looked beautiful. Lesson learned. Thank you, Cooking without Limits!

I’d love to say that I can take a photography course in the near future, but I’m raising two aliens (I mean kids!) and a Staffordshire Bull Terrier puppy, so that is not in the cards for a while. I’d love to hear what you’ve learned about taking better food photos and what blogs have been helpful to you. In the meantime, I hope you’ll stop by from time to time, see what I’m up to, try a few things, and see if it helps you too.

This post contains an affiliate link to a product I use and recommend

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12 replies »

  1. Thank you:-) That’s a very nice compliment coming from someone with such beautiful photos on their own blog. Do you mind me asking what type of camera you use and how you learned to take such great photos? Would love to hear your top tip!

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  2. Thank you for the encouragement. It’s so crazy the difference a month makes (and turning off the lights!). It’s nice to see improvement with little tips like this. That’s why I wanted to change the focus of my blog to helping others with a food photography interest like me so that we can learn together 🙂

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  3. I used these tips today. Thank you! I’ve always been using lights because I thought the natural lightening was so terrible through the windows but today I remembered reading this and decided to turn the lights off and look through the lens of the camera and see what it looked like – i’m glad I did – thanks :).

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  4. This is a really lovely tip, thank you, I am not much of a food person but I can see that this tips will also be great at taking photos in general. why use artificial light when you are given free natural light just outside your window? another lesson, learn to work with what you naturally have!

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