Food photography requires the viewer to salivate over the photograph. A good photograph always succeed in the viewer wanting to have the photographed food. However, since photography is static, we need to shoot it so that it tricks the mind into believing the underlying motion. Take for example, the steam captured in the food photograph makes the viewer feel its warmth & the steam also incites a ‘want to have right now’ feeling from the viewer. Believe it or not, a simple steam is a major element in food photographs. However creating steam is not a piece of cake. Here I’ll show you how can you create steam in your food photographs easily to make them more vibrant & appealing.
One can use the incense sticks(agarbatti) found at home to create steam. Simply light a few incense sticks & place them strategically in the frame so that they do not show up. The waft of steam from incense stick is pretty weak, so you’ll need at-least a couple to get the thick steam you desire. Also since, the burning incense stick outputs steam in a typical slender pattern, you’ll need to sculpt it with a paper fan. Alternately, one can even use dhoop sticks(thick incense sticks) to create a lot of steam. However, do note that incense sticks emit ash & that can mix easily with the food you’re photographing. Even the aroma of incense stick can mix with your food. So if you’re going to consume the food after photographing, using incense sticks is not a good idea. Also since the incense is burning there is always a risk of fire or props getting burnt, so be careful while placing & do monitor it time & again as you shoot.
Actually, creating steam with incense sticks is the most economical way to produce steam. Yes, it takes a lot of work to get the shape you desire & at-times it can be impractical for some foods. However, it does has the capability to spice up the occasional food shot. Off-course there are more better ways to create steam in food photography but that I’ll leave it to discuss for some other day.
A flash-gun can do wonders to your photography. Simply using a flash in your photos can elevate them to a new level altogether. However, flash in his primary form is very unattractive & often needs to be used along-with other accessories like reflector, diffuser, flash gels etc to create the desired effect in the photographs. In this article, I’ll talk about flash gels. About creating flash gel for yourself.
If you’re serious about exposure & colour balance in your photographs, you must use an “18% Grey Card”. Though today Auto White Balance has come a long way & gives pretty great results most of the time, it does gets fooled at times under tricky mixed lighting situations. Here the grey card will come at your rescue. It will also prevent a lot of your time during post-processing & save you the hassle of correcting WB & exposure. In first part of this article, I’ll teach you how to make a 18% Grey Card for yourself. I highly recommend to make this DIY 18% Grey Card to understand(practise) about exposure & colour correction. This DIY 18% Grey Card isn’t technically perfect but will still give you close to accurate results in your photographs. Once you get a hang of exposure & colour corrections in depth, consider purchasing the commercially available Kodak 18% Grey Card for accurate results.
Things you’ll require:
1) Image Editing Software supporting Layers. I recommend GIMP, its great & free too.
2) Printer(Alternately go to your nearest cyber-cafe to take a printout)
3) White Card-Board(Thick)
Click to Enlarge
1) Open GIMP. Hit File>New. In the new file creation dialog box, select A4(300ppi) & click OK.
2) Now go to Layer menu & select ‘Duplicate Layer‘.
3) Now press ‘Shift + B’ to select ‘Bucket Fill Tool’. Ensure that ‘Black’ colour is selected as foreground colour. Now click the cursor on the duplicated layer & the layer should be filled with black colour. Now from the GIMP toolbar adjust its opacity to 50%. Save the file as tiff.
4) Now just take a printout of this file on an A4 paper sheet. After that, cut the printed A4 sheet into four equal pieces & stick the pieces over the white card-board. Ensure you cut the card-board pieces slightly bigger than the grey card pieces so you can hand-hold them without ruining the grey area.
There you’ve it. Your 18% Grey Card is ready to use. Keep these four pieces in a ziplock bag & into your camera bag. In the next article, I’ll teach you how to use these grey cards.
You love photography. The journey began when you picked up a camera casually & slowly as time progressed, you were engulfed by its charm. As time progressed you became familiar with the ins & even outs of photography.
From a small point & shoot camera, you graduate to a prosumer one. Now you could do more creative photographs. As time passed, you got serious with photography & decided to pursue it as a serious hobby or with a view of prospective professional photographer. So you sell off or in rare instances keep your current camera and jump onto the DSLR bandwagon.
An umbrella helps one to shield from rain or sun. An umbrella for a photographer does more than the above. Recently, I purchased a new umbrella for my photographic needs & off-course to shield me against the Mumbai monsoons.
Strong – No doubt a stronger umbrella will hold good for long time. I also wanted to make sure the umbrella could withstand some knocks during my photography shoots in addition to braving gutsy monsoon winds. For this, I picked up an umbrella having ten spokes(or whatever they are called) for added strength. The normal ones have 7-8 spokes.
Silver coated from inside – The silver coating from inside not only helps to avoid seepage of water inside umbrella but also makes the umbrella acts as a photographic umbrella for shoots.
Big in size – The umbrella is big in size & so I can easily shelter someone during rains without either of us getting half drenched. Another positive was that I wanted a big umbrella so it could act as a large source of light which we all know is great when it comes to photography.
The umbrella cost me Rs.350 & I feel its money well spent. So the next time you go out to buy a photography umbrella get an rainy umbrella or vice-versa like I did. This strengthen my belief that one doesn’t necessarily needs pro grade equipment’s for photography & at times its fun when you hack something from your regular stuff to help you satisfy your photography(or for the matter of fact any) needs. :)