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Looking for improvement This is the e-group critique board. If you post a picture here it will be assumed that you are looking for comprehensive technical feedback - both good and bad, but always respectful. Only post pictures here if you can deal with potentially negative constructive criticism. Anyone is qualified to comment and post feedback, and everyone is encouraged to do so. NB: "Looking for Improvement" is the place to post any pictures you would like advice on improving, no matter how bad you might think they are.

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Old 27th January 2013
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Advice re photographing food

I need to illustrate something I am writing just now with some photographs of all sorts of foodstuffs, on plates as a reference.

The problem I have is that our domestic plates are tatty and not very picturesque.

In a charity shop I saw a part set of some rather attractive plates which were white with a wide green rim. I wondered if they would make a suitable plates for photography, or whether I would be better off getting a couple of matt black plates from somewhere.

I'm a bit worried about the light on glossy white plates.

I do have a pop-up light tent which I have never used and have no experience with, but the only light sources at my disposal are natural, reflected natural, or the flash on my camera.

Our house is so cluttered (too many hobbies and not enough time to tidy up) that it would be better to set the "studio" up, perhaps under a velux window and do all the photography at once (the space under the velux window is cluttered). This makes having several plates a sensible option so I can get most of my photos done at once.

Does anyone have any thoughts, hints or tips please? Or am I stressing too much and just need to get on with it?

I might find that the tent is no use for plates because I might want to take photos from the top.
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Old 27th January 2013
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Re: Advice re photographing food

Linda

Try this group on Flickr. http://www.flickr.com/groups/olyfood/

Walter one of the group admins used to photograph food for a living.

Paul
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Old 27th January 2013
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Re: Advice re photographing food

You don't say what type of foodstuffs, but if they are of the cold variety ie carrots etc, cakes etc sweets etc you canot go wrong with some nice paper doilies, they look nice and stop the glare from the plates. You can also get different colours.
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Old 27th January 2013
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Re: Advice re photographing food

I'd suggest soft diffused window light as a starting point and if you want to use flash make sure it's bounced flash maybe off a white wall to the side or from behind you. Here is an interesting video with some good suggestions.


Hope this helps.

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Old 27th January 2013
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Re: Advice re photographing food

Brilliant, thanks. It seems that white plates are OK providing the lighting is soft. I think the velux window is the best bet as that's diffuse but natural light (I'm not very familiar with my flash and only discovered sort of how to use it when photographing the mistletoe the other day). I don't have a soft box but could easily rig up a cloth to diffuse over the velux window and/or use reflectors.

Knowing my luck those nice plates at the charity shop will be gone by Monday.

I'll tell you how I get on. I doubt it will be for a while yet as I have to get the text sorted first.
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Old 28th January 2013
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Re: Advice re photographing food

Well, I set iup my "studio" under the Velux window, on top oof the clutter, with a bean bahg supporting a chopping bopard, aand gave it a whirl. These are snaps taken with myt E4500 with the macro. TBH there isn't room to get the tripod near so I might change lenses because it was awkward holding the mini reflector and trying to take a photo.

Really, though, I wanted to know what the backgrounds come out like because there is one other little twist to what I'm going here... they need to look good in B&W because it's for a Kindldle book.

Not sure I like the white plate because of reflections, but the chopping bopard looks OK. I like the white mushrooms against a darh background, and have just bought a matt beige plate to see how that looks.

Some of the shadows were impossible to get rid of, as the lip of the plate got in the way of the reflected light. I think a slate would be better but the food ones are oiled. A trip to the reclamation yard beckons.





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Old 28th January 2013
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Re: Advice re photographing food







Obviously I will need to crop these... and anyhow, these aren't what I will be using. I put the penny in to give a sense of scale.

I'm actually quite encouraged because I thought I would have to go out doors and use a light tent in this freezing and blustery weather.

C&C welcome, thanks for looking.
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Old 28th January 2013
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Re: Advice re photographing food

We enjoyed a prog on BBC on "Food Photography" and here are some examples

1. Cherry Pie - make it and carefully cut a slice out, and fill the gaps with cherrys out of the tin

2. brushing an oil glaze on many foods

3. many foods are not cooked or only part cooked to hold their colour and form

try here

http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/food/2011...a-food-s.shtml


and here

http://digital-photography-school.co...hotograph-food

and here

http://www.guardian.co.uk/lifeandsty...ricks-of-trade


Have lots of fun

and Nik FX are great to enhance b&w images
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Re: Advice re photographing food

I had some success shooting stuff in a pop up light tent, I used to use two builders lights (the kind with two heads on a yellow stand) as light sources, once they were colour balanced they weren't too bad.
http://staffordshireimages.zenfolio....2099/e3bbdb742
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Re: Advice re photographing food

They look good Sponner. Maybe I'll use the pop up tent then. What are your foods standing on, please?
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Re: Advice re photographing food

I don't use that set up any more but did find the tent was great for diffusing the light.

I used an large piece of white card from the local craft shop to stand the subject on.

Some faffing was always required to get a pure white background.

I have also used just a plain white plate to photograph stuff on, in the tent glare wasn't an issue.
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Re: Advice re photographing food

Hi Linda,

Play around some more with the position of your light source to soften those shadows and try diffusing the light more. Not sure what method you use for BW conversion but if you don't mind me saying some of the images look flat and lacking in contrast. A proven method that delivers superb BW conversion is the, "LAB colour space to BW", using the luminosity channel. I've included a link to my dropbox containing a PDF which explains and illustrates this extremely well.


https://dl.dropbox.com/u/45323553/LAB_bwconv.pdf

Hope you find this useful

Tom
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Old 29th January 2013
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Re: Advice re photographing food

Quote:
Originally Posted by tomphotofx View Post
Hi Linda,

Play around some more with the position of your light source to soften those shadows and try diffusing the light more. Not sure what method you use for BW conversion but if you don't mind me saying some of the images look flat and lacking in contrast. A proven method that delivers superb BW conversion is the, "LAB colour space to BW", using the luminosity channel. I've included a link to my dropbox containing a PDF which explains and illustrates this extremely well.


https://dl.dropbox.com/u/45323553/LAB_bwconv.pdf

Hope you find this useful

Tom
Tom I agree and that is why I suggested Nik FX
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Old 29th January 2013
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Re: Advice re photographing food

I should explain that I don't need to convert them into b;lack and white. This is for a Kindle book, awhere only one Kindle shopws things in colour. So the photos will be in colour in the book for those who will read it on other divices, but I must check that I don't lose anything apart from colour if it's viewed in B&W... if you see what I mean.

The shadows are what's bugging me, though I think you need some shadow to give it depth.

I'm going to try the beige plate and the tent today.
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Old 18th February 2013
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Re: Advice re photographing food

Well, the forum kept chucking me off so I had to log in, then it refused to recognise my password, so I got in a right old muddle and gave up trying to get back onto the forum until I had a bit more spare time.

I have been working like stink on this project and hope soon to have a new Kindle book out. I doubt the photos are the quality to tempt people in a cookery book, but I needed them to illustrate points I was making, and I think I have succeeded there.

I used the pop up tent indoors most of the time, but I did some outside when the light was right.

I now have hundreds to delete.
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