FOOD PHOTO TIPS: Part 2 - Lighting & White Balance

ann_tJanuary 1, 2013

Posted by canarybird (My Page) on Wed, Jul 15, 09 at 18:24

FOOD PHOTO TIPS: Part 2 - Lighting & White Balance

Hi everyone! For those who are learning to use their cameras, I hope you are still interested in my little tutorials.

As I mentioned previously, I'm recounting only what I've learned or read in the past years while playing with my cameras.

But I hope I can help those who haven't had the chance to experiment as much as I have and who are still struggling with the manual.

So let's go once more to look at setting up by a window in daylight. I'm continuing with the numbering of photo examples in case I need to refer back to any one of them by number.

Side Lighting - Daylight

To continue with indoor daylight exposures, let's move the tripod around to the side and see how the subject looks with a light from the window, coming from the left side...(tomatoes and peach haven't shrivelled yet thank heavens). That's also a very beautiful lighting and it has been seen in many paintings of old masters, such as the Dutch painter Johannes Vermeer (remember Girl with the Pearl Earring) where he creates mood magic with light falling from a left window onto household objects and people. We may need a little practice to get the same effect but here you see the highlight on the left side of the tomatoes in the LCD screen Fig. 9.

At this moment the camera is in PORTRAIT mode which is found on the SCENE menu with the icon of a girl's head. Portrait mode is meant for capturing subjects that are fairly close to the camera ....imagine someone sitting on a chair in front of you and you are going to take their portrait. In some, if not most digital cameras, portrait mode has a slight warming effect which is meant to enhance skin tones. So it can also be good for taking food shots. If you are without a tripod, hold the camera firmly and brace your elbows against your sides, remembering to press the shutter button halfway to let the camera focus, then smoothly press the rest of the way down.

Fig. 10 shows a short tripod good for tabletop photos. At this short distance, there will be some slight distortion of the subject. If my table were a little longer I would probably move the camera back a little and zoom in. Fig. 11 shows the same with a piece of white paper at the right to reflect light onto the dark side.

You can see the difference it makes in Fig. 12 where the paper was removed. Look especially at the plate underneath the bowl. Where it is bright in the first photo, it is shadowy in the second. I would need a taller piece of white board or foam to be sure and get the bright reflection on the contents of the bowl as well, although you do see some light reflected on the tomato. Since the camera is so near to the subject I would stay in PORTRAIT mode and add an option to the camera setting by clicking on my TULIP ICON which activates MACRO. (Have I scared you with this?) Sorry. Macro can come later then, but if you have seen that little tulip on...

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