Notice anything different about this post? No? Look closer. Look at the photos. Don’t they look more interesting, more dramatic, less “well-lit, bright and cheery Carolyn type photos”? Well, maybe it’s not that obvious, but it’s definitely a bit of a departure for me. See, I had my one-on-one lesson with fellow blogger and photographer extraordinaire, Brian Samuels of A Thought For Food. It was a lovely way to spend the mid-day, and it certainly was informative. One the one hand, it showed me that I actually do know a fair bit about photography, food styling and composition. On the other hand, it showed me that there is a lot to learn and a lot of things I could be doing differently. And I took home some great pointers and am absolutely determined to get a new, not overly expensive lens that I think will really help as I try to move forward.
I presented Brian with quite the challenge when I brought over these Pumpkin Breakfast Cookies for our little photo shoot, because they aren’t the prettiest cookies I’ve ever seen. I might even call them downright ugly; a blah shade of beige and kind of lumpy to boot. They were an experiment for my kids as a gluten-free breakfast treat, and from all accounts, they tasted quite good. The kids ate them happily as both breakfast and after-school snack so they certainly served their purpose. They are packed full of goodness, with bananas, pumpkin, raisins, oats, oat flour and mini chocolate chips. But attractive…not so much.
Brian rightly suggested we take the focus off the cookies and play with other aspects of the set up, and we had a lot of fun with it. We used his camera and mine, and I played with the lens I am hoping to get for Christmas, which allowed me to focus in on one part of the photo and have everything else very out of focus. Apparently this same lens will help me in lower light situations, a good thing as we head into winter. I am not sure I will be able to wait for Christmas!
He also got me out of my comfort zone and had me take shots in portrait orientation. Although I turn my camera on its side for pictures of people a lot, I never seem to do it for food. I have a hard time getting the picture I want that way, but under his tutelage, I got more comfortable with it. I found that he used his natural light differently than I do, having it come from behind and throw interesting shadows into the photo, and this was sort of a revelation for me. We also tried some outdoor shots and shots that included hands holding the food as he kindly played hand model. In the end, I think I got some great photos and I have already been trying to put his tips into practice with my other recipes. I’m a touch limited until I can get that lens (itching, I tell you, I am itching to buy it now!), but it was really a worthwhile experience.