Wow… its food photography…!

soup

Food a most essential thing for all is something we see and taste on every day basis. We also see a lot of food pictures in advertisements, menu cards, websites, indoor displays etc.  But how many of us have really visualized as how the food is shot for commercial purposes?  Well, what is so special about shooting food as a table top set-up? It’s about showing food appetising and fresh in the photo.

orange-juice

Is that simple? It is not that simple as we think. We need to understand every single food with respect to its colour, texture, form, shape and arrange them aesthetically beautiful so that it catches the eyes. Well, can we shoot the food that is served to eat? Many times the answer is ‘No’. You cannot shoot the food that you eat and cannot eat the food that you shoot.

salad

Interestingly, many food set-ups contain uncooked or half cooked food or ingredients and dummies to make them look fresh and retain the colour, texture, form and shape. Most of food contents degenerate or undergo a lot amount of physical and chemical changes when cooked.

beverage

We all know that food has a strong cultural value and background. The presentation of food in front of the camera needs to carry the cultural feel. Well, you need to use the appropriate table top, background and the plates, cutlery, accomplishments, properties, garnishing, and arrangements to match the cultural value or background of the food. For example, while shooting a Chinese dish, we can include a pair of chopsticks…!

melon-balls

Choose to work with a competent food stylist and culinary artist. This will add a lot of value for food photography. In the recent Food Photography workshop conducted by me, I had got a perfect assistance from the Chef Uma Sankar, an Olympics bronze medallist in culinary art, assisted by Bindhu Hepzibah an artist. Uma Sankar’s contribution as a chef and culinary artist went a long way in making the food fresh and appetizing.

pasta

A professional high resolution digital camera with optically perfect lenses and studio lights could make the food photography complete. Choose to shoot food in the studio for a better control or create a setup near the kitchen of the restaurant. A lot of training on lighting and composition is required to get the shot right. Use of multiple, small, pointed light sources apart form an overall lighting from a soft box is needed to get the highlights in the desired portion of the food.

milk-and-cookies

Love food.., in the sense of feel and visual aspects. This is a most important eligibility to become a food photographer.

Proud to be a Professional Photographer…

 

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Vietnam-war-napalm-girl-photo by Nick Ut

19th August – the World Photography Day…!

“Remembering the awesome contributions of many individuals, groups and companies towards development of the art, science and technology of photography…..

Bowing down my head to all great masters of photography who taught us thorough their great masterpieces and changed the faith and beliefs of the world……

Respecting all the great mentors whom I know directly and indirectly for imparting the knowledge and the power of photography in me….

Accepting my ignorance for unknown and feeling proud about the little known facts of photography….

Taking an oath to spread the message of photography to the society of enthusiastic young photographers…..

Believing in observation, imagination, creativity, confidence, hard work, patience, sharing, caring and learning which are more important than supporting gadgets and technology.

Accepting that I am insignificant and surrender to the great art, photography which is larger than the universe…..

Living and dreaming only photography…..

This is what it means for me on this ‘World Photography Day’ ”

– KL.Raja Ponsing

image courtesy: http://www.vanityfair.com/news/2015/04/vietnam-war-napalm-girl-photo-today

How to use shutter speed effectively in DSLR photography?

Shutter speed is the duration of light falling on the digital image sensor. It is the time for which light stays on the image sensor to make a perfect exposure. It is controlled by a mechanism housed in the camera body closer to the focal plane (image sensor).

The role of shutter speed in photography is very important and can produce interesting effects that human eye cannot see. The very meaning or understanding of a photo can be changed by varying the shutter speed.

Mohan S.V.jpg

Fast shutter speeds like 1/125, 1/250, 1/500, 1/1000 and above will let the exposure very brief and slow shutter speeds like 1/30, 1/15, 1/8 and below will let the exposure long.

Total flash photography needs a shutter speed 1/200 (flash sync speed) or below for most of the cameras. There is no impact of flash exposure by changing the shutter speeds when there is not enough ambient light.

Jerome Desilva (26)

Shutter speeds higher than the reciprocal of the focal length of the lens used will guarantee images without camera shake when a tripod is not used – A 400mm lens needs atleast 1/400 shutter speed and a 18mm lens needs just 1/20 shutter speed to avoid camera shake.

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Fast shutter speeds can assure crispy and sharp images without camera shake and apparent subject motion effects.

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Fast shutter speeds like 1/125, 1/250, 1/500, 1/1000 and above are used to arrest the fast motion – faster shutter speeds can capture fast actions we missed to see. Use highest possible shutter speeds for shooting sports, birds in flight, wild life action – shutter speed higher than 1/500 is a good choice.

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Slow shutter speeds like 1/15,1/8,1/4 and bellow are used to record movements as a blur – some of these blurring effects  like panning and zoom burst are unique that human eyes cannot see .

Sendil Selvam (10)

Long exposures like 1sec, 2secs, 4secs, 8secs and longer can produce beautiful light streaks – something we cannot see with our eyes. Use of a tripod is a must for such shots.

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Bulb shutter denoted by ‘B’ is a longer than the 30secs preset shutter speeds available, is something used for very low light shots, fire works, lightning, light painting and abstract images. Use of a tripod is a must for such shots.

Mandeep 2014 (1)

If you found this article usefull, please check our Basic DSLR Photography weekend course , where we explore all the essentials of Digital SLR photography in detail. It is an intensive, 10 weekend (60 hours) course 

How to shoot through glass?

There are lot of occasions we will be shooting through transparent glasses. Especially scenes from inside a car or airplane, aquariums, merchandise on display, exhibits in a museum, artifacts and lot more. If we are not careful, we may end up with disastrous pictures.

inside a display case

Inside a display case

The following few tips can help you to get the shoots right when you shoot through the glass,

  1. Use manual focus to get the subject behind the glass sharp. Some autofocus cameras may not get your subject sharp when it is behind the glass.
  2. Clean the surface of the glass if possible to get the subject clear. Dirt is a major enemy for shots through the glass.

    from Indigo

    Inside a flight

  3. Shoot from near the glass to make the dirt/scratches go out of focus. This also could take the reflections outside the frame
  4. Use Polarising filter to remove unwanted reflections of the surrounding on the glass. Rotate the glass element of the filter till you see the reflection going off.

    from giant wheel cubicle 011

    Shot from a Giant wheel cubicle

  5. Do not use direct on camera flashes while shooting parallel to the glass surface. Stay little diagonal to use a bounce flash light from the ceiling or walls.
  6. Avoid back light as it unnecessarily reveals all the dirt/scratch on the glass

    Energy

    Shot from inside a car

  7. Check for proper exposure as there may be drastic difference in brightness in the scene. Play with exposure bracketing to settle for something you want.
  8. You could try HDR imaging technic for high contrast subjects

    from a car

    Shot from a moving car

  9. Use the best of white balance control to shoot subjects inside glass cases lit with different kinds of display lights.
  10. Include the frame or the edge of the glass using wide angle lenses to establish the glass if you want to show that you are shooting through it.

If you found this article usefull, please check our Basic DSLR Photography weekend course , where we explore all the essentials of Digital SLR photography in detail. It is an intensive, 10 weekend (60 hours) course 

 

How to create the feel of depth in the photos?

The feel of depth can be understood as the feel of walking through the photo. A photo is two-dimensional and the feel of three dimension is all about the feel of depth in it. An illusion of the third dimension is tried in all the photos to give the feel of reality. It is the added perspective mainly from the point of view. Our eyes can see in three dimension as the scene in front of us is not flat. The feel of variable distance of different objects in the frame is known as the feel of depth.

To establish the depth, the photo must contain multiple planes or layers in it. May be foreground middle ground and a background._MG_4178c

The following tips may give us a feel depth in our photos

  1. Use wide-angle lenses for a greater feel of variation of the object sizes in the frame and the feel of distance in it.IMG_9664c
  1. Avoid using very long focal length lenses as they compress the scene and make it look very flat without depth.
  1. Lookout for multiple planes or layers as seen from the point of view. Every distinct planes will give an additional feel of depth in the photo.IMG_0404c
  1. Include or add a foreground element in the scene to get a comparative distance from the main subject_MG_4723c
  2. Lookout for visually identifiable real or imaginary lines or curves running from the corner of the frame diagonally across. This will give an illusion of depth and distance.IMG_9490c
  1. Avoid flat front lighting and use sidelight with good shadows to define the planes and distance.
  1. Shoot from a diagonal angle to give the feel of diminishing perspective. This will give a feel of depth to the scene.   IMG_0242c
  1. Include repetitive and overlapping patterns to add the feel of depth
  1. Use shallow depth of field while shooting portraits and people shots. The out of focus background will give the feel of extra distance from the main subject._MG_0005c

If you found this article useful, please check our Diploma in Professional Photography course , where we explore all the professional aspects of photography in detail. It is an intensive 6 months fulltime course 

How to use backlights for an effective feel of the photograph?

Back lighting is something which gives us the feel of mood and glow in the photos. In particular, the back light with a feel of rim at the edge of the subject truly brings the third dimension of the subject. The translucent subjects reveal fantastic texture details in the backlight scenes. Landscapes looks refreshing with a good backlight

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The following tips may help you to shoot nice backlight shots.

  1. Choose to shoot in early mornings and late evenings for an effective back light.
  1. Use mist, smoke, stream, dust and extra humidity for an effective visual of backlight._MG_4991c
  1. Position the Sun at an oblique angle and let the light pass through the scene towards the camera.
  1. Use good lens hood or light cutters to avoid unwanted glare or flare in the shots. An added glare or flare sometime gives an extra punch to the photo.IMG_0149
  1. Take exposure for the shadows and underexpose for about a stop or more for a better details of highlights.
  1. Use gentle fill in flash for people shots to get the details of the shadow areas.IMG_0096c
  1. Be careful about Auto focus. Most of the entry level DSLR cameras may not be able to autofocus the scene that easily. If you are comfortable and the subject is fairly not moving fast, then you can try manual focus.
  1. A shift in the white balance towards amber will be good for day light shots.
  1. A landscape shot with the feel of shafts of light using back light will be looking fresh and energetic.                          _MG_0211c
  1. Add an extra contrast in the picture style setting or while working in the digital darkroom.
  1. The punch of steam or smoke will be appetizing while using a gentle back light.
  1. Use a gentle rim or back light for all the portraits and people shots to enhance the texture of hair and skin textures._C1A6700
  1. A bright back light where the exposure is settled for highlights, results in a beautiful silhouette.
  1. A back light shot of a food setup and transparent products are definitely appetizing.IMG_3842s

If you found this article usefull, please check our Advanced DSLR Photography weekend course , where we explore all the essentials of Advanced Digital SLR photography in detail. It is an intensive, 12 weekend (72 hours) course 

Vidiyale Vaa program with Mr.KL. Raja Ponsing – Kalaignar TV

How to avoid camera blur on subject?

Camera shake or camera blur is a crucial problem while shooting in slow shutter speeds and it is a major issue with the beginners. It is the feel of visual jerk or vibration seen in a photo. A point and shoot instinct without understanding the effect of slow shutter speeds results in camera blur. The image looks unclear, without sharpness and the out line of the subject is not well-defined when there is a camera shake.

This is a big challenge if you are a nature/wild life/sports/macro photographer using long focal length lenses. Lenses with built-in tripod collars (70-200mm, 100-400mm) are supposed to be used on a tripod especially you are shooting in the available light.

The following tips will help us get rid of unwanted camera shake resulting in blurry pictures.

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  1. Use faster shutter speeds possible in a given situation.
  2. Try increasing the ISO sensitivity or larger apertures instead of reducing the shutter speeds in low light conditions when you are not using a tripod.
  3. Choose a shutter speed higher than the reciprocal of focal length of the lens while shooting the camera hand-held. For example, use 1/60 while shooting at 50mm and 1/125 while shooting at 105mm. This does not matter when your camera is on a solid tripod.
  4. Use fast lenses (lenses with wider maximum apertures viz.f/2.8,f/1.4,f/1.2 etc.). Fast lenses will give you scopes to use fast shutter speeds.
  5. Activate IS or VR image stabilization technology of your camera/lens for shooting below the reciprocal principle as mentioned in point 3. This may let you shoot at least two stops lower than the reciprocal principle._MG_0026r
  6. Use sturdy tripods to hold on the weight of your camera plus lens and other accessories perfectly and confirm the camera is not shaking during the exposure.
  7. If you do not have a sturdy tripod, you can try holding the camera firmly by leaning on to a stable support or you can even use a sand bag and set your camera on it.
  8. For very slow shutter speeds and long exposures do not press the shutter release directly with your fingers; instead use the remote shutter release or self timer release.
  9. When shooting in live view mode (both still images and video) hand-held camera operations, use the camera strap on your neck and stretch in front tight to hold the camera steady.
  10. Check your image at 100% magnification level to identify the camera shake. The LCD on the back of your camera cannot give you a clue about camera blur in its normal display.

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If you found this article useful, please check our Basic DSLR Photography weekend course , where we explore all the essentials of Digital SLR photography in detail. It is an intensive, 10 weekend (60 hours) course.