To wrap up her guest photography stint on DigginFood, Christa offered to share 10 tips for taking compelling photos of food both in the garden and the kitchen. Lucky us! I really admire Christa’s styling and attention to details and it has been an absolute pleasure to share her photos of quail eggs, pears, and salt with you these past few weeks. I hope you’ll continue to follow her work on her blog c neu photo and in the pages of Organic Gardening magazine.
I can’t wait to try out these tips (and eat the props!):
Tips for Both Indoor and Outdoor Shots
1. Watch your backgrounds. Check your viewfinder. Is there anything distracting–a color, a shape, clutter, a horizon line in your way? Move yourself or the camera to simplify your compostition
2. Avoid contrasty harsh shadow. Shoot in even lighting. Bright sunlight can cause harsh shadows, inside and out. You can buy a diffusion screen from a place like B&H or Adorama, or you can make your own. My friend got me a sheer white beach umbrella from Ikea last summer for $8 and I love using that to diffuse the sun.
If the light is too contrasty inside, I experiment with mini blinds or move what I’m trying to photograph farther away from the window. You can bounce more light into your shot using white cards as reflector boards, and won’t have those 1940′s film noir stripes of light across your photos.
3. Try some shots on a macro setting, or get a macro lens. This will help your depth of field, and will clean up some of those backgrounds.
4. Take notes! When you’re taking pictures of your produce, either write the variety name on a piece of paper, or pick up the plant marker, and take a picture of the variety name in front of the vegetable. Then you’ll have an easy record and you won’t go mad later when you’re trying to figure out if that tomato is a ‘Copia’ or a ‘Tiger’.
Indoor Food Photography Tips
1. Go Natural. Try not to use your flash when you’re shooting your harvest. It can make your vegetables look surreal—and peppers and eggplants are shiny enough without a flash highlight.
2. Less is more. Try not to over prop, make sure your surfaces are ironed and flat…and watch for little flecks of dirt or lint on the fabric pieces.
3. Try a tripod, even if you have a point and shoot camera. When I take pictures in low lighting, I bump up the camera’s iso setting to 200 or 400. I put the camera on self timer, so it doesn’t have camera shake when I push the shutter. You could also use a remote control or a cable release. Your images will be sharper, and you will be happy!
Garden Photography Tips
1. Change your perspective. Lie right down in the grass and shoot up at your garden, or climb on a ladder or take pictures from the second floor to get something of an aerial view of your hard work.
2. Photograph your garden from all sides. Get right in the bed, lean right into a tomato’s face to take a photo–then back off and take shots from farther away. Walk around all of your garden–if you take shots from all the corners you can get into, you’ll have a better record of what it felt like to be in your garden.
3. Early morning is the magic time to photograph your garden. Both the light and your plants will be at their best. Plants tend to get wilty and droopy as the day goes on, just like we do. (That is, unless you have some of those cool flowers that only open at dusk…)