Kristen here – I am having a total “duh – why didn’t I think of that?” moment here. I think Jenn’s idea of using a simple TV tray to set your food up on is so smart. If you lack room in your home or if your source of light changes throughout the day, having lightweight, portable table to move around is such a great idea!
Giveaway details also detailed at the end of this post!
Photo Title & Recipe : Molasses Granola
Blog Name & Link: Jenn Cuisine
Equipment Used: Nikon D200 DSLR, Nikon 50mm f/1.8D AF Nikkor Lens
Technical Details: Focal length – 50mm
Auto ISO, f/2.8, 1/15 exposure time
Aperture priority mode
Photo Editing Photoshop Elements: Upped brightening, contrast and saturation in both photos, as well as some cropping.
Setup Details: I am no professional by any means, and my constant battle with taking pictures for my blog in my home is lack of good light. My main source of natural light is our sliding doors, which face the west. Directly outside is some very dense growth of trees and other wetland plants which are helpful in that direct harsh light is rarely an issue, but getting enough light to take quality photos is always a challenge.
For this shot I had a very minimal setup – I placed the granola in a bowl on a wooden TV tray and pushed it as close to my sliding doors as possible. I took the shot from two different angles. The first has the light coming in from the right. The second was more eye-level with the food, and the light was coming from behind me. My exposure time was short enough I did not feel there was a need for a tripod.
Props: 1 TV Tray, 1 pyrex bowl
Additional Tips: There are a couple of key differences between these two photos.
1. Light. The direction of the lighting compared to where the camera is can make a big difference as far as the shadows and color that your camera sees. While the after shot does have a bit of glare from the pyrex bowl, because the shadows are much less prevalent it really allows the color to come out better. The before shot comes across looking a bit dark to me. I like to use something simple like a TV tray because it allows for me to move the subject easily. Since I can’t direct the light where I want it to go, I like to be able to move my food (or me) to best find the light. If I’m not using a TV tray, I usually have my food on my coffee table which is also fairly mobile.
2. Perspective. Shooting a picture at eye level with the food can often give a more dramatic effect. It gave the after shot an impression of having more height to the food, even though absolutely nothing was changed in the styling whatsoever. The after shot is also a lot closer to the food.
3. Background. In the before shot, the only background is the wood of the TV tray. In the after shot, there is also some color in the background from looking into my apt. By shooting with a fairly low f-stop/wide aperture, the entire background is nicely blurred so that nothing is distracting or keeping the food from being the main focal point.
Culinary Snapshot Participation Giveaway!!
You read that right…we are having a giveaway here at Culinary Snapshot. Our first giveaway is for a $50 Amazon.com gift card. Been eying some new camera equipment, photography books, editing software, etc? I hope this gift certificate will help one lucky participant splurge a little. Qualifying for the drawing is easy. All you have to do is submit a before and after photo (can be pre/post editing or setup/finished product) with the appropriate details any time from the beginning of Culinary Snapshot through midnight CST on August 1st. Those of you who have already submitted qualified photos are already entered to win! I will use the random number generator to draw the winner of the gift certificate. Number of entries into the drawing is equivalent to the number of qualified photo submissions you make.
I have had a couple of people pop forward with opportunities to win their products, so hopefully we will have participation giveaways on a regular basis.
Also, think your photos aren’t good enough yet to submit to Culinary Snapshot? Never fear… we will be having a “Fix My Pic” post once a week too. If you have a photo that you want fixed, send it in to me at admin <at> culinarysnapshot <dot> com with details of what you feel can be improved within the picture or specific questions you might have and we will let our community of shutterbug food bloggers have a go at fixing it up. These photo submissions will count towards the gift certificate drawing as well. One “fix my pic” submission per blogger per giveaway time frame.