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Old 11-27-2011, 05:24 PM   #11
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That is one way. Another is to use available light and bounce it around with the reflector. You can also use certain ones to have liight pass through to soften it.
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Old 11-27-2011, 07:53 PM   #12
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Okay. Well there's a problem. Incandescent lamps produce a continuous spectrum that peaks according to the design of the lamp. Common household lamps are warm (reddish) relative to photo lamps. Strobed xenon is relatively cold, approximating daylight under light overcast. Now, mixed sources are troublesome, because the response of the film or the digital sensor can only be optimized for one "color temperature." So, a sunny day is a problem, because the direct sunlight is yellow, and the sky that lights the shadows is blue. Thus, you get blue shadows or real yellow skin tones in the sun and green skin (yellow+blue) in the shade. Florescent lights are kind of like that but worse. They produce discontinuous spikes of different colors. Your eye doesn't care. It smooths things out and interprets them fairly normally. Your camera can't. There will always be peculiarities that you can't adjust for.

You don't have to get real expensive to get things under control. You can start with two or three of those clamp on reflectors from the hardware store and use them with 150-watt bulbs. Clamp to chair backs, stepladders, shelves, etc. There are two approaches for managing shadows. One is to accept that there will be some shadow, and reflect some of the light back into the shadow with a piece of crumpled aluminum foil taped to a square of cardboard. (It's crumples so you don't reflect a point source from the bulb. Use that at different distances, on the opposite side from the key lighting, until you like the shadows.

The other approach is to eliminate the shadows, which is usually the best solution with food, because the shadows are so complex. You can do that by greatly diffusing the light sources. One easy way is to get some of those wooden rings used in needlework to hold the fabric. Only you put in a very thin white fabric and clamp that between each light and the subject. If the diffused lights are all about the same distance and more or less equally spaced around the subject, there shouldn't be much visible shadow. You can also just hand two thin sheets, one each side of the subject, and place the lights behind them. And yet another alternative is to use reflectors. A white sheet as a reflector will much softer than a crumpled foil reflector. Using any of these with 150-watt lights will absolutely require a tripod or other camera mount.

And shoot many shots, trying variations on the setup. If you get real serious, you can go for a quartz light set, which is not too expensive, and a silver reflector umbrella set. Don't go out and buy a strobe setup until you master lighting by being able to observe directly what you have.

Using 150-watt incandescents will require you to set up your digital camera color balance for "indoor" light. Or, if you capture RAW image files, anticipate making that color balance adjustment in software processing.
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Old 11-27-2011, 09:08 PM   #13
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I'm learning food photography myself, so I can only comment on the photography as an amateur. Something I've learned from a food photographer friend is that light from a window (during the day of course) makes for beautiful lighting. Nothing else needed. When I don't use window light I use a single strobe and bounce it off the walls/ceiling and get nice soft light (another trick learned from my friend). I light comes from behind and to the side of the subject.

I have a little more expertise on the plating end. First, I think the plate is very attractive as is. Here are some ideas to make it better:

1.) I would take a look at the colors you have. The green sauce is vibrant and adds a lot. The vegetable and salmon have similar tones, which detracts from the great color of the salmon. The veg, in general, is lacking in color. What if you incorporated other ingredients with it. Squash has great color if you cook it right. It can also be made with great shape/definition. The vegetable mix appears to be overcooked and lacks the geometry that nicely cooked veggies would offer. (In food styling veggies are generally undercooked for this reason.) I can't seem to get this picture to link using the "insert image" tool, but here's a plate I did that I think shows what veggies can add to a dish as far as colors and texture. I didn't shoot this. My friend did. I made this as a demo at a cooking workshop. 2011149 Ryan-217 | Flickr - Photo Sharing!

2.) The salmon is the star. If you're using a sprig of fennel frawn I recommend having it stick out behind the salmon and perhaps be smaller. And I agree with Spork that you should only use it if fennel is in the dish.

3.) Another element on the plate would help it seem more complete. It's more simple than I think it needs to be. Perhaps another veg or a starch?

4.) If you're going to show the skin make sure it's clean cut, free of scales (I see at least one), and crispy. If it's not crispy it's not what most people would consider edible. You may get differing opinions on this, but I don't like to see skin presented that is not prepared in such a way that it can be eaten.

Otherwise I think you have a great plate. Best of luck with your shoots.
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Old 11-27-2011, 09:09 PM   #14
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Sorry, wrong link. Here it is: Cider-Braised Veal Osso Bucco | Flickr - Photo Sharing!
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Old 11-27-2011, 09:22 PM   #15
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Right. I neglected to suggest the natural light approach. As with the other methods, remember the problem of mixed light. If you use window light, turn out bright interior lights. You can use a simple reflector or reflected or diffused small strobe to soften any shadows, but you may get enough light coming back if the interior walls are light to soften shadows. How much treatment shadows need depends a lot on the subject. Shadows have to make sense, and one of the charming things about working by the light of a window that's obviously present in the scene is that the shadows are seen as perfectly natural. The viewer tolerates a little more "art" than in other lighting setups.

And you can work outdoors, too. But, again, you have to manage the two light sources, the sun and the sky. Work under a large white shade that will effectively mix the two, or use a reflector (or small stobe) to throw sunlight into the shadows.

Take a look at this. Note the setup using hardware store reflectors and at the bottom, the really nicely done shot by window light.
Great Ideas on How to Do Food Photography | Shoot Food Photography | To Learn Photography
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Old 11-27-2011, 10:23 PM   #16
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What kind of lens are you using?
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Old 11-27-2011, 10:51 PM   #17
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Bakechef, I use a Canon Powershot SX1IS, which has a fixed lens. I got it some 2 years ago when I couldn't afford a SLR but wanted a descent camera.

I guess what I need to achieve next is to find a good single light source and use another to soften the shadow. Right now the brightest two lights are the two incandescent lights mounted on the ceiling that must be turned on/off together, which always causes double shadows. I guess I just have to spend the 160 dollars for a lighting set lol.

Here's an example of a pizza I made today (I made four different kinds):

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Old 11-27-2011, 10:54 PM   #18
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That is a pretty pizza! Nice background, too!

Great picture! Love it, you are learning fast!
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Old 11-27-2011, 11:22 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hyperion View Post
Bakechef, I use a Canon Powershot SX1IS, which has a fixed lens. I got it some 2 years ago when I couldn't afford a SLR but wanted a descent camera.

I guess what I need to achieve next is to find a good single light source and use another to soften the shadow. Right now the brightest two lights are the two incandescent lights mounted on the ceiling that must be turned on/off together, which always causes double shadows. I guess I just have to spend the 160 dollars for a lighting set lol.

Here's an example of a pizza I made today (I made four different kinds):

You seem to be getting very nice shots with a point and shoot. It is a little easier to get good sharp photos with good exposure with a DSLR.

I am more of a casual food photographer, but this is what I could get with a 50mm (non-zoom) manual focus lens (circa 1980) on a DSLR. I was using natural light. I really like the sharpness and background blur that this lens can achieve.


I got my DSLR at a really low price a few years ago, and the lens was from my dad's camera case.
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Old 11-27-2011, 11:46 PM   #20
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Thanks Princess!

Quote:
Originally Posted by bakechef View Post
You seem to be getting very nice shots with a point and shoot. It is a little easier to get good sharp photos with good exposure with a DSLR.

I am more of a casual food photographer, but this is what I could get with a 50mm (non-zoom) manual focus lens (circa 1980) on a DSLR. I was using natural light. I really like the sharpness and background blur that this lens can achieve.


I got my DSLR at a really low price a few years ago, and the lens was from my dad's camera case.
lol I love those manual focus lenses. My dad had a very old mechanical camera with a manual focus lens, also with manual aperture and shutter control. I loved fiddling around the focus nob lol
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