Sunday, September 17, 2017

Are you a cook as well as a photographer? Take pictures of dinner.

I am learning to cook. At the age of 70 I am making dinner not only for myself but for my wife. And she is liking my cooking. I guess I can read and follow instructions well.

Shooting food is not all that difficult. First, use window light. It is clean and often soft but directional. Perfect. And serve your meals on dinnerware that looks good. No chipped dishes. No cheap, scratched plastic plates.

Keep your images simple. Simple means quick and quick means fresh, as in fresh from the oven. Food looks best when still warm. Gummy not only tastes poor but often cold and gummy does not photography well either.

One warning. Light usually comes from above. This means shadows usually fall below object. Place your meal to be photographed, with what will become the top of your picture, such that the top is closest to the window. This will give your images a naturally lit by the sun look.

And don't be afraid of trying different angles and different lenses. I tend to favour slightly long lenses like 85mm or 105mm shot from above but wide angles like a 35mm shot from a low angle can work as well.

Good luck and good dining.

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Someone's listening. Who? My granddaughter.

I started this blog simply to encourage folk to spend a little time thinking about their photography. Cameras may be point-and-shoot but people don't need to be: Think and then point-and-shoot is a better approach.

One thing I've harped on while writing this blog is light and its quality. Is the light harsh, is it soft, is it clean or is it tainted with colour? Old fashioned tungsten bulbs, for instance, give pictures a yellow cast or even a reddish-orange look. Some modern lights are nicely colour balanced. When in doubt, consider shooting your pictures without the electric room lights. Turn the lights off.

Today my three-year-old granddaughter, Isla, got out a book with instructions on how to draw simple animals pictures. The book is aimed at young children. Isla loves the book and was soon drawing cats. The one she did of the cat on a pillow was especially good for a child her age. I got my camera. I needed to record this.

Isla told me to "hold it" and "wait." She ran over to the kitchen light switch and turned off the overhead pot lights. There was a lot of light pouring into the room through the large, kitchen window overlooking our backyard. "This will make the colour better," Isla told me. She turned toward the window and posed. The moment I saw the image on the back of the camera I knew she was right.

The little kid follows instructions well. Hey, one only has to look at her drawing of a cat on a pillow to know that. And clearly she's been listening and watching as I take pictures. Although, I am a little embarrassed that it was my granddaughter and not me who turned off the overhead pot lights.

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Daylight LEDs deliver bright, clean light

I don't like this picture. It's too clear these kids know they are having their picture taken. It is almost a posed picture. Ugh. That said, it does capture their personalities: childishly goofy and pleasantly funny.

So, why am I posting this. What is there to see here? Anything? Or should we simply move on.

What's to see is the gorgeous lighting. The child on the right is perfect. And the light is amazingly clean. Look at the white of the sink. It is white. Not yellow. Not green. It's white.

The lesson here is that today's daylight LEDs really do closely match the colour temperature of daylight. This is good to know. Why? Because bright, clean light can make a picture sparkle. Shot with straight-on strobe, the amateur goto indoor light, this image would be flat and fall flat.