Improve Photography composition with Golden ratio

Golden Ratio is probably one of the most mysterious rules of photography. Not only because it’s too scientific, but it’s also not easy to apply without any additional help. So what is this Golden Ratio, and how you can improve your photography composition with it?

Let’s get back to the fact – how composition grids are used in general. All of them are created to put the elements of composition in order. Some items will be positioned along the lines, others may be positioned at intersections. Why artists and photographers do it? This method is used to guide the eye movement of the viewer and attract attention to specific details of the picture. In other words, it’s an attempt to control the impression created by an image.

Improve Photography composition with Golden ratio

While, in painting, the artist could think in advance and build composition for a while; photographers are not that lucky. They do have a chance to build the composition in commercial photography, but when they shoot a street or a concert or an event, it’s just not possible. But if you learn the composition rules, you may apply some of them during the shoot, and then perfect the photographs with the cropping tool during the post production in Adobe LightRoom (Just press ‘o’ when you work with the ‘crop tool’ and you will see many grid options one after another). You may find that most of the grids will work with good images and won’t help much to the bad ones. 

So what is Golden Ratio?

The Golden Ratio is also known as Fibonacci Ratio which is approximately equal to 1:1.618. It’s not only represented by a spiral but by many other shapes, the key is proportion. The Renaissance artists were engaged with the science. They were researching everything. They were trying to understand human bodies and did experiments on it, Leonardo was trying to build up the flying machine, alchemists were trying to get the gold out of the lead (Plumbum). Obviously within all this passion, the fine art was influenced by science. The composition elements were placed on a specific grid, they were in specific proportions and particular quantities (0, 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21… Is Fibonacci Sequence). Everything had its meaning, simple still life in a “Last Supper” would tell us a story about the character, the smile of Mona Lisa was not just a smile but something more. So, shall we go that deep when we simply make some pics for Social media? Hmm. Definitely a food for thought. 

The grids which represent Golden Ratio.


Seeing so many grids, the first question that arises is how can it be helpful? Well, being honest, most of this grids will be applied after the shoot, not during the shoot. If you photograph a lot and try to perfect your pictures with every second click, you may find that you already follow the golden ratio rule naturally. After all, as they say, it’s a natural harmony, so if we aim balanced pictures, we will end up with the images close to the Golden Ratio proportion.

In conclusion, I will give you a very non-scientific advice. Follow your heart and intuition, try to feel the composition. See as many Renaissance paintings, as you can, here is the wonderful collection, check it out.
And if you want to be inspired by the magic of Golden Ratio, watch the video below. It’s absolutely inspiring and self-explanatory masterpiece.

7 food food styling techniques to start with

A food stylist is a food professional on the set. He or she plays a very important role in the process of food photography. They often have had culinary training as chefs. The task of the food stylist is to present the food in such a way that it looks natural yet makes the viewer hungry. As food styling is also a creative professional, these professionals are supposed to visualize the final photograph and work together with the photographer.

Food stylist has to know

  • How and from where to purchase the best food for the shoot?
  • How to care about the food props during transportation?
  • How to cook in such a way that it looks yummy but may not taste like that?
  • How to create a mood and set up on purpose?
  • Basically, in order to achieve this professional food styling, you need to know a thousand of techniques. Here are a few of them.

7 food styling techniques to start with:

Using undercooked food

This one is probably one of the most important techniques. The undercooked vegetables look brighter and retain the shape better, raw egg yolk looks better than the cooked one. The undercooked meat is lighted with a torch.

A thickening or thinning of the liquids

Milk is often replaced with a thicker liquid such as cream for splashes or pouring. However, some liquids are made thinner to achieve the smooth pouring.

Ice Cream Imitations

An ice Cream is a very sensitive dessert. It requires a low temperature, fast shooting and a lot of styling techniques. So the artificial ice cream replaces the real one, whenever it possible. It is often made from the potato mesh, chemical mixtures, starch, butter, or other ingredients.

Spraying food with liquids

The water is spread over the salads and leafy vegetables. The oil spread over the meat or other glossy foods. While water adds freshness, oil enhances the color and the texture of the object.

Steam or smoke

It is used to create a feeling of the freshly cooked food. This job can be performed in a variety of ways. The equipment to generate smoke can range from a very complex machines to a cigarette smoke by an assistant.

Brushing with browning agents

Some browning agents are very useful. You may make a bun look yummy, raw chicken crispy and cooked. Some of them may be also transformed into coffee, tea, bourbon, rum or whiskey with a little use of water.

Adding drops

A cold drink is probably not cold at all and those lovely drops on the glass are just a mixture of the water and glycerin or other chemicals.

There are many more food styling techniques. Some of them are widely known, some are secrets of the pros. When we photograph the food, it’s often a real food, as it has to be real by the law if you advertise this particular food itself. However, if you advertise wafer cons, you don’t need to use a real ice cream for the images. You may add the value to the burger layers with the cardboard and toothpicks. Or you may use artificial food if you are trying to sell the utensils. In any case, the job of the food stylist is to make food look appetizing, natural, edible and irresistible.

You may also  like to know How to keep your props clean or Preserve green’s green.

Planning the food photography photo shoot

It’s an interesting fact when I plan the photo shoot in my studio, approve drafts with clients, decide the setup in advance, collect the props – the entire photography process goes fast and the results are usually impressive. The moment client says we will decide during the shoot, I can add 3-4 hours extra. The reading of “Planning the food photography photo shoot” is advised for clients, so for photographers. So, let us take a look at how to avoid these extra hours, just by making a plan!

Make yourself a Q&A session. Take the pen and paper. Here are some questions to answer:

Who will see these pictures?
Describe your target audience, the people who need to be caught by the visuals, while others may not notice it. The more accurate explanation you find, the better result you will get.

What do I wish to get from the viewers?
Do they have to buy your product or they have to be inspired by the illustration of the recipe and cook? This final goal may dictate the treatment of the composition: close-up, empty space, colors, etc.

What emotion will they feel?
A good photograph always brings forward some emotions. In case of food photography, it can be hunger, desire, passion, inspiration, love, and you name it. So what emotion you need to arise to reach the goal mentioned in the previous question?

Where are you going to use these pictures?
Social media requirements are a lot lighter than the magazine advertisement. Also for the online usage, you need more pictures than for the print. In other words, how are people going to experience your photographs? Would it be a timeline in some popular SM? Nice glossy page of the expensive magazine or a book? Maybe it will happen on some food site where other pictures will compete with it or it’s a big advertisement in a shop? Maybe it’s a giant screen in a cinema hall? The way how viewers experience the picture may give some ideas for the shoot treatment.


Come with the idea!

The answers to the preceding question probably inspired you with some sort of idea. Does not really matter if it’s still raw, note it down. Actually, write down all the ideas which just came in your mind. You may like to brainstorm it with your colleagues. You may like to discuss it with your photographer. Polish it, come with several really good thought on how to move forward. By the way, if you need some inspiration on how to get better ideas, check this out. Once finished, proceed towards the next questions.

How many products or dishes you want to shoot? 
A Food photographer can finish from 6 to 10 setups in one day, if we talk about serious professionals. Probably you do not need to shoot all dishes in a complex setup. I’m asking because startups often want to shoot 300 dishes for the site or more. You may create 6 extraordinary images to highlight the theme and the values of your brand. But all other pictures you can create with a simple setup, say on a white background. It will save time and money. Draw a list of the dishes in which you decide what is requires a primary attention while the other secondary.

Who will cook and style the dishes? Do you need props or prop hunter? Which props will reflect the idea? Do you need the models and make-up artist for them? 
If you need extra specialists, you need to think about it in advance. They need to be paid and the cost of the photo shoot doesn’t cover their services (project cost maybe different, than the cost of the simple shoot). They are required to sync their time schedule, as well. Excellent news – a photographer usually knows such specialist and can advise someone.

Once we have an idea, the list of the dishes and experts. We have to decide a location. The place for work has to match the technical requirements, mood, and need. For example, if we shoot with artificial light, we need a lot of space just to place the equipment around the table and no people around (it’s not safe for clients to jump over the wires). If we shoot with natural light, then we need to have enough big windows and good weather on the day of shooting. Whatever you choose, get the maximum from the location, so if you shoot in the restaurant, incorporate the interiors and some branding elements such as napkins with logo or so.

And here is the final stage – you find your idea, you know exactly what to shoot, and where. Start making drafts. You do not have to be an artist to make drafts. But you need to realize the way how the light falls on a dish. Your draft will include basic composition, props ideas, and basic lighting vision. These drawings will help in saving a lot of time and making the shoot organized. It’s really important that both the client and the photographer agreed upon these drawings. Ideally, a photographer is supposed to create the drawings, but if client draws the drafts – it’s also good.

 

How to find the inspiration for the photo shoot with Pinterest

We all need some inspiration from time to time. When you are in a creative profession, you have to generate ideas on an hourly basis. What to do when you are a newbie and all good ideas get suddenly vanished? Well, it happened even to the best of us. Here is a simple method which can push your creativity and help in a time of burnout.

Let’s say you want to tell a story about a restaurant. To find inspiration, we will use Pinterest — the social media based on the photographs that people pick from the internet.

So, how to find the inspiration for the photo shoot with Pinterest? Open Pinterest  and type in the search field “restaurant”



You will see a lot of pictures which can already inspire you for some ideas. But let’s move forward. In the line below the “search”, you can find additional keywords to make the results more specific to your needs.

For example, we search for the “restaurant branding”.

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We can also add some styles required for the project, such as rustic, vintage, modern, and you name it. See what the search on “restaurant, rustic inspiration” reveals.

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We can even add the materials if we know how our location/restaurant looks like.

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I can already sense that somebody will mention “plagiarism”. No. I do not ask you to copy the pictures. And it’s probably impossible to make exactly the same picture in the other location. But seeing how other talented people deal with the task similar to yours, can rise many fruitful thoughts and ideas in your mind.

How easy is it to work with? Well, very easy! You can’t remember each and every picture, I’m sure. So, create a “secret” inspiration board for the particular project (you may like to delete it eventually, or make it “open” when you are done with it.)

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This collection may inspire you as long as it exists. My advice once you make the collection- go through the pictures and delete the irrelevant ones as compared to other images in the collection. Carefully crafted “inspiration board” will work better than an unfocused mess of the photos from here and there.

You can also create boards for some specific moods or colors, which may work without a link to some specific assignment. Create as many creative boards, as you need, and make them work for your creativity. By the way, just because Pinterest users pin new pictures every minute, you may also follow the trends within the industry you are going to shoot for.