Last week we had our first Bloggers' Buzz Photography Club (BBPC) session and it was good fun to say the least. The topic for the class was lighting. After a short slide show explaining the different aspects of lighting (in lay man terms, and not technical), we split the class into groups of two and did some practise sessions. Participants were left to style and photograph the food with lighting taken into consideration.
Below is the slide show that was shown at the class and we are sharing it here for those who are doing the photography session virtually. They are mostly self explanatory, but feel free to write in and ask questions if something is not clear. I must stress again, that this is a very amateur class that will focus on practical details and not the technical side of it. Please do refer your camera manual if you have any trouble with settings and such.
Follow these 10 simple lighting tips and most of your issues are sorted. Don't be afraid to experiment with lighting. Worse that can happen is you will end up with a bunch of rubbish photos. But hey, that's the good part about digital photography..you just delete them and start all over again.
I must stress the importance of white balance here (point 4). We couldn't cover a lot of it on the day of the class, but we are hoping to do a class on it sometime in the near future. But for a very basic description, check out this Tutorial by Spice Foodie. Also figure out how to adjust WB on yours cameras.
You'd think a bright sunny day would fetch you fabulous photos, but the shadows they can throw are terrible. So diffuse your light by putting a white table cloth, bed sheet or if your curtain blonds are not the thick ones draw them to evenly distribute the harsh light that's coming in from the light source. I am a lazy photographer, so I just draw my curtain blinds and then adjust camera settings accordingly.
Below is an example of what diffused lighting can do to your picture. Notice how the shadow has reduced drastically. Of course if you have a white board to bounce light off the other side, you'd get a much better picture.
In the picture on the left I preferred a bit of shadow in front to give it some sort of definition. The picture on the right, notice how the diffused light has caused even lighting on all the subjects?
Simple way to remember shutter speed. I know that photography gurus would cringe at this sentence, but this is how I remember it.
Not the best example of top lighting, but you get the drift right?? It is mostly avoided because of crazy shadows. The second picture is perhaps a better example of top lighting. (It was taken during our practise session)
Play around with props.. adjust it, change it, garnish it, change backgrounds, add textures etc till you figure out what looks nice. The above series explains how i went about deciding the right props and styling methods.
Most food photographs (weirdly) look nice in portrait mode, but don't restrict yourself from giving landscape mode a try as well. Also, vertical shots, from right above can sometimes make the dish waaay more appealing.
I asked the class to pin point what all was wrong with the picture below.
...and these are some of the things they had to say about it