My tips for home food photographers

Joined Apr 3, 2009
Can you tell me the settings you are using on your DSLR in the pasta photo? I am a hobbiest and like to photograph food but my pictures always lack field of depth and always seem dark and just don't look good.



I can PM you pictures of my set up and equipment if that would help
Joined Oct 23, 2008
Hey Brian. I'll see if I can find the raw image and get the exif data off of it. In that shot I used quite a bit of light, and some was placed very close on the left side to create that "blow out" effect. There are ways of dealing with light placement, and I will elaborate on that with an addendum to this post if enough people are interested. For your specific complaint I'm going to quote the wikipedia article I linked, from the specific section "Effect of lens aperature" because you may find that both your lack of depth of field and the darker images are related to this.

For a given subject framing and camera position, the DOF is controlled by the lens aperture diameter, which is usually specified as the f-number, the ratio of lens focal length to aperture diameter. Reducing the aperture diameter (increasing the f-number) increases the DOF; however, it also reduces the amount of light transmitted, and increases diffraction, placing a practical limit on the extent to which DOF can be increased by reducing the aperture diameter.

Motion pictures make only limited use of this control; to produce a consistent image quality from shot to shot, cinematographers usually choose a single aperture setting for interiors and another for exteriors, and adjust exposure through the use of camera filters or light levels. Aperture settings are adjusted more frequently in still photography, where variations in depth of field are used to produce a variety of special effects.
In some cases, you simply aren't providing enough light, but you should be able to compensate with exposure time if you have a tripod and a static subject like food. Please do PM me a link of your setup and some of your shots you weren't happy with and I'll see if I can come up with any suggestions.
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Joined Feb 26, 2007
Excellent post Eastshores.

The photgraphy in a cook book can really sell it.  The amount it has changed over the years is amazing.  There used to be just a picture of the plated food from above the plate, perpendicular to the surface the plate was laid on.  Blecch.

Now it is so much better, depth of field, backlighting, sidelighting, different angles, super close-ups etc etc.  I played around with macrophotography with an old style SLR  many moons ago, it can take some patience, that's for sure.  At least with digital now you can see the results immediately and change what your set up is if needed and try again.

The lighting and the technology one has is by no means all there is to it. The composition is a big chunk of what makes it work,  What to include in the background, how to reflect the essence of what you are trying to picture, highlight and convey, certainly matter.

If you can find on the forum here some of RPM's food photos, they are pretty good.  Many others also, I just put that as an example that sprang to mind.  I always get hungry looking at them - and that's the idea hey ?  /img/vbsmilies/smilies/licklips.gif
Joined Apr 3, 2009
Thanks Eastshores,

PM sent. If you want to use my photo as an example of what NOT to do please feel free :)



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Joined Oct 5, 2001
 Great post but I think this should go in the Wiki/ article area. It is such good info. Would it be ok if we moved it Eastshores?
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