We all EAT with our Eyes and CRAVE what we See. Creating those beautiful Treat like images is what we all desire to do . In this post, I have put together 7 Pointers to Create Beautiful Candid Images.
My blog turns 7 years tomorrow and I am taking this as a double opportunity to showcase what I have learned in the last couple of years .A couple of days back, Lindy co – ordinating at UK Blog Camp also wrote to me about conducting a Food Photography session. I was really not sure if I will be able to do justice. Spending a few working evenings, I decided to put together some essential pointers on How I go about Creating Beautiful Candid Images.
It was wonderful to see some positive reaction from a lot of participants and so glad that they had enough takeaways when they walked out of the room. Scroll right to the bottom to see their wonderful comments.
Just in case you missed attending the UKBlogCamp, here are the pointers that we covered in detail.
LIGHT IS EVERYTHING
And I do worship Natural Light. The moment you look at a Food Picture, the first thing one notices is Food . The second thing that people notice is how bright/ dark is the image. Is the image shadow loaded ? Is there enough light? Everything within a photograph, essentially food works with lighting!
Find a well-lit spot in your house and push your table near the window sill and begin exploring different lighting techniques – Backlighting, Sidelighting & Front-Lighting. If you find the light is quite harsh, which rarely happens in the UK, hang a thin scrim/ white curtain on the curtain rod and peg them. Alternatively, you could use some store bought diffusers. This helps in softening the harsh light.
Imagine you are planning to shoot a bright airy image. Once you shoot your test image, if you find there are enough shadows on the opposite side of the light source, use reflectors to fill in light. For eg: the image of Strawberry Lassi.
SO what are reflectors? They are white cards/ white foam boards to fill in light. An Instant DIY trick is to wrap an aluminum foil around a cardboard .
SAY NO TO FLASH
Be it P&S or DSLR, do not use Camera’s inbuilt Flash. They create boring, dull , unreal, unappealing & funny colored images. I can really fall short of adjectives. Professional photographers do use an external flash to bounce light but they never do it on the subject.
COLORS & BACKGROUNDS
Colors play a vital role in Food Photography. Once you begin to understand the concept of colors, you will begin to choose your ingredients, garnishes, props & backgrounds wisely. Make a few conscious attempts of looking at the color wheel and you will subconsciously start mix matching the colors needed for the image.
Complimenting Colors: Colors sitting on the opposite side of the color wheel. Classic example is Blue + Orange or Blue + Brown
Monochromatic Colors: All the shades of colors of the same hue
Analogous Colors: Colors adjacent to each other in a color wheel
Contrasting Colors : Any other color coding other than the ones mentioned above.
Find below some examples of these color combinations in my images.
Choosing the right background depending on the color coding is very important for an image. They range in different colors and textures right from Wood,Fabric,Stone, Slate to vinyl backgrounds,distressed wood, shutter cabinets. I decide upon them depending on the lighting, mood, color coding and theme for the image. Backgrounds should not overpower the subject ( Our Hero – ” Food” ). It should be be subdue and aid the Hero.
I thoroughly enjoy hand painting my boards and a lot of boards reflect my mood that particular day.
One of the essential subjects in photography is composition. Arrangement of elements in a specific way within a frame.
Rule of Third is one of the most well-known composition rules. Imagine you divide an image into thirds, you have 9 parts and 4 intersection points. Carefully place you ‘Hero – the food’ at one of those intersection points and place your supporting artists at the other -one or more points. People’s eyes will naturally tend to flow through these points.
Negative space adds an interesting element to an image. Also adding some strong emphasis on the subject. There is enough space to write captions, texts, logo’s and even recipes.
Movements/Patterns : Arrange your elements in the frame in a planned movement – lines, diagonal lines, radial, zigzag, alphabets and natural curves. Such patterns add a curiosity and interesting elements to your composition.
Balance & Symmetry: Place your subject right in the middle with equal spacing on the sides is Balance. Identical arrangements/plating in a frame is known as symmetry.
IT’S ALL ABOUT DIFFERENT ANGLES
Once you have decided on the lighting technique,mood, color coding & composition its now time to work on angles. If your food has got height use Eye Level. For eg the image below with stacked mini cakes, there are 4 levels of heights in the image. And an eye level works well for showing off the textures and height.
For an Image like the Soup in the image – an Angled shot works perfectly. Using an eye level shot for this soup set up would only leave us seeing the rim and area around the gray bowl. We need to know what’s going to the bowl along with showing off the cozy mood on the Window pane. Doing an overhead shot is possible but the mood could not be reflected as desired.
When the subject is lying flat , an overhead shot / top down shot works really well. Here are 2 examples of overhead shots ( Instagrammers favorite shot)
A Shallow Depth of Focus makes the subject stand out artistically against a blurred background while the Deep Depth of Focus Image shows off every single detail in an image. The idea of DOF is to use them wisely…
When it comes to portraying ingredients, showing off all the details in the image is essential and Deep DOF works well. You may experiment them anywhere between f /7 – f/11. Even higher if needed.
Look at the comparison image below of Green Grams in a white casserole with a scooper. Its entirely personal choice on what you would like to portray. In my opinion, a Deep DOF works well here… as every bit of the grain, scooper, casserole is in focus,leaving the background blur. So what do you think?
Choose your Depth Wisely!
SEDUCE WITH ACTION
Connect with your audience with a personal touch – Some action, Some movements. I enjoy adding some form of action in my images and this definitely creates a buzz. Some oohs and Aahs!! Don’t forget to mesmerize with your action..
READ, GAZE & PRACTICE
is something that I would do ritually. Visit Pinterest to gaze ( I know we all do , but it s more than pinning images) and your favorite blogger’s and food photographer’s space to gaze. Pick up an image to read and understand. Understand the direction of light, understand the arrangement. Reason why they have done that? What are they trying to portray.. This exercise helps you to broaden the spectrum and think way out of the box.
And last but not the least !! PRACTICE PRACTICE AND PRACTICE. There is no substitution/shortcut to practice.
A great photograph does not happen by Fluke. They are due to numerous considerations and techniques followed depending upon the Light,Mood,Composition, Depth and their personal touch.
Some of the comments from the lovely ladies..
Check out my Food Photography Tutorial on “How To Shoot Pictures on White, Bright Background?” if you have missed it earlier.
Do let me know what are your pointers in creating beautiful candid images!!