TECHmunch Tampa April 21, 2012Presented by Susan Filson
Anyone can learn to make beautiful pictures. All it takesis the desire to learn and a willingness to invest your time. You don’t need to have a fancy, expensive DSLR or a lot of pricey equipment, either. If you know how to use it, you can get great shots using a pocket-sized Point & Shoot camera. I am not a formally trained photographer. But, with the help of some good resources and generous friends who are pros, I have learned a lot about how to make a picture pop. And, I’m still learning every day. My hope is that I can pass some helpful tips on to you!
Heirloom tomatoes at the Portland Farmers Market taken with a Panasonic GF1
Artichokes at the Portland Farmers Market taken with a Panasonic GF1
Tip # 1: Buttons! Buttons!What the heck are all of those BUTTONS? • Learn how to use your camera. • Read the instruction manual! • Find a good camera- specific “How To” book and read it too. • If you don’t know what your camera can do, you wont know how to make it do what you want! • Practice! Practice! Practice! It’s free!
Tip #2: A picture paints a thousandwords. Tell your story!• What mood do you want your pictures to convey? What feelings do you want them to evoke?• Use tools like Evernote & Pinterest to create an “Inspiration Board”.• Draw on your own memories & experiences when searching for ideas.• Tell your story!
Always use natural light whenever possible. Play around with light by physically moving around your subject to see how the light plays off it from different angles. Use the “clock formula” to try out different ways to light your subject. Bounce your light to control shadows and create interesting effects.
Use the number positions on the clock as a guide for setting up the light source for your photos. Practice directing the light flow from various positions, ie 3:00, 9:00 or 12:00. Note how changing the direction of the light flow can completely change the feel of your pictures.
White plates & bowls make food stand out. Avoid serving vessels with busy patterns. They compete with the food. A fork , spoon or knife placed casually in a shot gives the impression that the food is about to be, or has just been eaten. Layering linens and stacking plates adds texture and dimension.
Scrapbooking paper Ceramic floor tiles Salvaged wood paneling and doors Fabric remnants Scenic posters mounted on foamboard Antique kitchen gadgets, bottles and jars Old baskets, buckets and fruit crates Human hands
When staging a shoot, try setting up a whole vignette or “scene” to set a mood & make your food more “real”. Add props like utensils, napkins, drinks & vases. Drips, spills & half-eaten plates make the viewer want to “dig in”. Place ingredients used in your recipe, like fruits or herbs in the shot. Don’t overdo it. Less is sometimes more.
Keep a little food styling toolbox handy with tools to make your food “picture perfect”. Fill it with things like tweezers, toothpicks, q -tips and a small spray bottle filled with water.
Compose your shots to bring your viewers’ eyes to what you want them to see first. Understand the Rule of Thirds, but don’t let it “rule” you. A sharp eye is the best composition tool. Cropping is your friend.
Composition technique used by the pros Grid divides a photo evenly into thirds Place main elements of photo where “power points” are to create more balanced shots and engage the viewer Rules are made to broken
Learn to shoot in manual mode. Learn to shoot in manual mode. Learn to shoot in manual mode. Learn to shoot in manual mode. Learn to shoot in manual mode.
PROS CONS RAW files are the RAW files are huge! They complete (lossless) data can easily gobble up a ton from a camera’s sensor. of space on your memory What you see is what you card and hard drive. get. JPEG files are Special software is needed partially processed in your to open RAW files on your camera. computer. You can make RAW files must be endless, non-destructive converted to another file edits and tweaks to an format like JPEG before image. you can use them on your RAW gives you more blog. control.
Unless you are a seasoned professional, most of your photos will need some kind of editing. There are many post-processing options available, at various price points and levels of difficulty. There are also several free applications on the web. Finding the right one for you and learning how to use it can take your photos from “OW” to “WOW”!