photography basics

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70% of Instagram users are committing these sins while photographing food.

I’m quite an active Instagram user myself with a few thousands of followers, I observe a lot of photographs every day. What can I say? Some of the pictures are amazing and those accounts have huge followership. But the majority of people just click what they appreciate and put the pics on Instagram without a thought. And it’s perfectly fine when you have a personal account which is probably visited by a bunch of the close friends and relatives. But, what if you are running your blog and want to attract more people there via Instagram? What if you try to develop the business account, and not just a personal room for a family? Well, in this case, the quality of your photographs and the strategy are critical. Because you are providing your content for the readers, it’s not about you anymore; it’s about them. And when we talk about food-related businesses such as restaurants, cafes, bakeries, shops, food blogs, nutrition coaches, online shops – the quality of visual content is, even more, significant, as “client eat with their eyes first”.

The first sin is

WRONG WHITE BALANCE

What is white balance in camera for food photography

 

WHITE BALANCE

You presumably noticed these symbols on the camera being displayed or on the advanced smartphone apps. These are white balance options. You need to know more about white balance to achieve photographs which don’t look like some yellow disaster. The strange yellowish images are mostly the victims of the tungsten light. As AWB (Auto White Balance) can’t work within this “light temperature range”, it allows a camera to produce whatever it sees (and at that moment, the camera is practically blind). To fix this issue just chose the symbol with the little light bulb. It will dramatically improve your picture, and even if the photo is not perfect, it will be easier to correct it during postproduction.

If you need more information, read this post about white balance and the one on light temperature.

The second sin is

SHAKING HANDS & BLURRED PICS

 

USE TRIPOD FOR YOUR SMARTPHONE PHOTOGRAPHY

Well, it’s not easy to make a sharp picture in a poor light condition. More than that, it’s almost impossible. That’s why photographers work with a tripod. The good news is that you can use a sort of holder with your smartphone too. I simply use my selfie stick mounted on a basic tripod. If you don’t have a tripod, put your camera on a table or other stable surfaces such as book or bag and put the camera on timer.
The best idea is to stop shooting in the darkness. If there’s no enough of natural light, simply learn how to use artificial light efficiently. It’s obviously better to photograph in a good light condition to achieve some great clicks.

The third sin is

BORING OR BAD LOOKING SUBJECT

BORING OR BAD LOOKING SUBJECT

Yes, I quietly passed some composition mistakes or crazy looking filters. Yes, one of the most common mistakes is the poor looking subject. It’s one of the primary and undeniable rules of photography — 90% of the time you will get what you look at. So if your dish isn’t styled enough, the elements of the composition were not put in a right place, the final photo will not look exciting.

So here is the tip. (It’s easier to perform when your camera is fixed on a tripod)

  • Put your basic composition and fix the camera.
  • Then modify light, dishes, props, till you love it on a camera display. Make a few clicks, adjust the settings.
  • Now you can put the food.
  • Make some styling tweaks on the dish, take a few more snaps.
  • Now add some garnishes to the dish and make your final shot.

One of the most critical conditions for the food to look good is that it has to be super fresh. All garnishes have to be very fresh and strong (read here how to achieve it) and props clean (read here on how to maintain the props)

In conclusion

It doesn’t sound that pressing. Just three common issues to fix and your photographs will look so much better. Obviously, when you run a business account, it’s never only about pictures. It’s also some branding, some strategy, and some story behind. But if you start with good images, it’s already a big deal. You do not need to become a National Geographic photographer in a day. But nowadays, all customers are very particular about visuals; they are searching for authenticity and photography. It’s just a right medium to reach the heart of your potential reader or buyer.

Well, as I informed you so much about branding and strategy which work together with photography, here is the deal — Download this Book and try to apply the ideas from it. I know it will help your food enterprise improve the visual communication and thrive. Cheers 🙂

Learn photography basics

Photography is about a lot of fun and a lot of skills too. While clicking is a common joy for many people, skills are yet to be conquered. Well, the technical knowledge may be boring. After all, it gives us a chance to make great pictures not only for your business but also of your family and friends. So, study hard and take even more fun after that.
Learn Photography Basics

Here the list of the posts on how to Learn photography basics and click better pictures every day.

  1. What is Exposure in camera?

  2. What is Shutter speed in camera?

  3. What Is Aperture in camera?

  4. What does ISO in a camera

  5. What is White Balance in camera?

  6. What is a Color Temperature in Photography?

And this list is going to grow…
If you like to know something specific please share in the comments below!
Cheers 😉

What is shutter speed in camera?

The definition of the shutter speed
Here all is simple. The shutter speed refers to the amount of time that the shutter is open. It measures in fractions of seconds. The bigger the denominator the faster shutter speed, the less light getting trough.
The measurement
Very fast shutter speed will be displayed as 1/2000 or more, when it reaches 1-second or slower it displayed as the number with double quote 30″ (equal to 30 seconds)

Freeze the motion
The faster shutter speed allows to freeze the motion, such as splashes. Slow shutter speed may provide interesting motion blur effects.

What is shutter speed in camera?

 

How to use it
  • When you deal with the very bright daylight situation you may use fast shutter speed such as 1/1000 or more.
  • The bird in the sky in a sunny day and you want it looks very sharp — your shutter speed will be above 1/2000
  • You kids are playing and you want to have clear sharp pictures — your shutter speed will be above 1/500
  • When you work with the studio light the shutter speed synchronized with the speed of the flash and it not suppose to be more than 1/250 or 1/125 (check the instruction of your camera)
  • A portrait will require anything from 1/125
  • If you shoot handheld you shutter speed suppose to be not less than 1/60, otherwise images may not be sharp.
  • If you have to use slower shutter speed you need to use support such as a tripod or useful replacement of it.
  • You want to make mysterious waterfall with blurry water and sharp landscape your shutter speed will be below 1/30
  • If you want to photograph the city in the night you will use very slow shutter speed something like 30″ and small aperture from F/13 to F/22. In this situation, very strong tripod is the must (even micro move of the camera will destroy the photo)
P.S. If you like to click stories about street food, markets, malls and other activity you may need to use faster shutter speed in a low light condition. In this situation, you will need to adjust shutter speed aperture and ISO read here how.

What is exposure in camera?

The exposure in photography is one of the most important elements. Well, if you click everything in the auto mode, exposure will be adjusted automatically. But if you want to photograph, then you need to work with manual mode of the camera.

The of exposure (digital photography)

Exposure – the unit of measurement for the total amount of light reached the image sensor during each shot. The exposure is controlled with the Shutter speed, Aperture, and ISO. All three are together called exposure triangle.

The exposure triangle
Exposure consists of the three components: Aperture, Shutter Speed, and ISO. Each represents the equal side of the exposure triangle. To use this idea, just imagine the perfect triangle with equal sides. It is natural that to change the length of one side, you will need to change the lengths of other two sides too. All the elements in a triangle are related to each other, and of course, they are also related to the light condition you are shooting in.
exposure-explainedLet’s consider a few examples with natural light
Let’s say, you like to photograph the portrait on a bright day. Additionally, you plan to focus on the eyes and blurred background. The background is also far away from the model. You may like to use “big aperture” (F/2 or F/4.5 depends on your lens) on a bright day, you may use ISO 100 to achieve a less noisy image. With this condition, your shutter speed will be very high, depending on the amount of light; it could be above 1/1000 or even more. Once you set up the Aperture and the ISO, you may change your shutter speed and check the result via the light meter in camera. When the indicator is in the center your settings are done. Try to remember them. In photography, a camera is just a tool to get amazing pictures, so it’s ideal if these settings come into your mind automatically- without disturbing the creative process.

Alternatively, you may like to photograph a friend with a lovely cityscape behind. But you would love to see details of the wonderful architecture behind. In such a situation, you will need to use a smaller aperture – F/7 or smaller (depends on your lens). As your aperture is now smaller, you need to adjust the other components. You may like to increase the ISO by about 200 or more, and then adjust the shutter speed the same way as you did in the previous example.
Both of the examples are relevant if you use manual mode. In other modes such as Shutter Speed priority or Aperture priority, the numbers will be decided automatically by a camera. If you use one of the automatic modes, everything may be decided by the camera. But please notice that human judgment leads to more creative and interesting photographs.

How to achieve the right exposure
The “Correct exposure” means you have enough details in a final image. The “Overexposed image” means the details in the light area were lost. The “Underexposed image” means the details in the dark areas were lost.
Most of the cameras have some sort of light meter. During the professional photo shoot, the photographers use the more sensitive external light meter. But for everyday shooting, the inbuilt light meter is good enough. The light meter indicates the exposure condition under natural light. But if you work with impulsive and unpredictable lights then you need external light meter such as Sekonic. The external equipment is quite expensive, so there is another way. You have to practice with your lights a lot and remember the numbers on your strobes or speed lights with relation to each camera setting. It sounds close to impossible, but after few months of practice, it will start working and your numbers will be close to the right measurements.

In conclusion
Keep the size of the Triangle equal. Remember the settings. Plan the shot. If you need more specific information, please check the articles from Photography 101 series.

What is white balance in camera?

Red, Green, and Blue are the 3 primary colors that form the white light. They are mixed in various proportions – depending upon the color temperature of the light. If the color temperature is high – the light is bluish. If it’s low – the light is reddish.

 

Definition of White Balance
The white balance is used to remove the unnecessary color casts so as to make the image look more natural. Hence, it  is set according to the color temperature of the light sources.
Working with White Balance
In most of the cases,  a white balance is used to avoid the casts. While some photographers choose to use  the “wrong white balance” to produce very creative pictures. You can also create very warm pictures if you use the “shade mode” in the daytime. The opposite (cold) is valid if one is using “tungsten mode”. While DSLR has special mods for all the different types of lights – it’s not really necessary that you must use flash white balance when you use the Speedlight or strobe. Most of the modern digital cameras will calculate ambient light and provide you with a decent result on an “Auto White Balance Mode”, specifically when two or more color temperatures from the different light sources are mixed in the one set. In such cases “Auto white balance” is good to use, or neutralize particular light sources with color filters or gels. There is also the more professional way to set up the white balance by using neutral white, it called “Custom White Balance”. Most of the DSLRs will have instructions on how to set up the “Custom White Balance” for your particular camera.
What is white balance in camera?
While shooting on film was required to adjust light sources with filters and gels. However, when we are shooting with the digital camera, it’s easier as you can use the Auto White Balance (AWB). Also, if you photograph using RAW or DNG format, you may adjust your white balance later while processing the images. However, some of the details may be lost if the transformation is too dramatic. So it is always recommended to use the correct white balance during the shooting. To adjust the white balance in RAW pictures, the photographers use “Gray cards“. They are put within the set later as they help in picking the neutral gray during postprocessing.

 

P. S White balance in food photography is usually aiming the daylight color temperature (except for some special occasions like candle light dinner or so). That’s why many food photographers say that natural light makes food look tastier.

What Is Aperture in camera?


The aperture definition in digital photography

 

The aperture is the unit of measurement that defines the size of the opening in the lens. The size of this hole will regulate the image sensor’s degree of exposure to the light.
It measures in F-stops. The diaphragm is the device which controls the aperture opening. So we can say that the aperture is the hole which control the light entering trough the lens to the image sensor.

 

Get the DOF
The aperture controls depth of field (DOF) the smaller F-stop number the more blurred background you will get and opposite, a background will look sharp with the large F-stop number. When people talk about small F-stop numbers it called “big aperture” and when its large F-stop number it called “small aperture”. Even though it sounds confusing that just refers to the size of the opening when the aperture is wide open and more light gets in it shown with small numbers such as F/1.8 it called “big aperture”. “Small aperture” (F/14 or F/22) refers to the small hole and lesser light entering in.
What Is Aperture in camera?
Moving objects and aperture
While “small aperture” provides more sharpness it also requires more time to perform. Which also guide us to the conclusion that when we deal with the moving objects we may like to use “big aperture” unless we want some blur motion effect. But what if you want to photograph people in the restaurant and it doesn’t have big windows and light is dim, but you still need a sharp picture? You will make an adjustment to the other components in exposure triangle, read here how.

 

Buying the lens

Every lens has its own aperture ratio. The smaller number on the lens (F/1.2 or F/2) the better it behaves in a low light situations. However, if you only shoot with studio lights you may be fine with the larger numbers on your lenses such as F/5. As we talking about food photography here where the nice bokeh is an advantage, you may like to purchase lenses with bigger aperture diameter (F/1.2 or F/2). And for sure read some reviews before buying.

 What Is Aperture in camera?
P.S. If you like to click stories about street food, markets, malls and other activity you may need to use faster shutter speed in a low light condition. In this situation, you will need to adjust shutter speed aperture and ISO read here how.