Food Photography & Props

by Shawnda on June 28, 2012

The allure of food photography is to make the food look as good to you as it tastes to us. There aren’t many secrets to pretty food photography – but you need good lighting and you need pretty food.

Requests for Prints

I do not sell prints but I do provide the hi-res photos of your choice along with a print release for $12/photo (or $9/photo for orders of more than 5). You can then print at the company of your choice (I like Canvas on Demand) or whoever might be running the best Groupon deal. Email me so we can chat!

Tutorials, Tips, and How-Tos

I’ve been working on a photography, prop, and styling series called “Photo Fridays” to share the things I’ve learned along the way. Some extremely talented stylists and photographers took the time to answer questions, help us out, and share their craft with us – anything I can pass on is free for your taking :)

Setup & The Basics

The “Bounce and Fill”
Behind The Scenes
Seeing the Light at Food Blog Camp

Styling & Composition

The Making of a Margarita
Light vs Dark
Inspiration from a Food Styling Workshop
Styling Notes from Food Blog Camp

DIY Prop Tutorials

DIY Serving Board Instructions
Milk Bottles
Refinishing a cutting board
Wooden Table Top Instructions
Refinishing a $7 Target Dollar Spot Find

Post Production/Editing

How I Edit

Gear. Fancy equipment. LENSES!

Please note, when referencing the specific equipment below, I’m a Canon girl through & through and probably can’t talk specific Nikon- or other brand-equivalents.

What camera do you use?
I spent the first 2 years using a Nikon Point & Shoot before getting a Canon 40D. But I got camera body envy when my husband purchased a Canon T2i – it was smaller, lighter, and the resolution was better. The 40D still does better in low-lighting situations but I shoot 90% of the shots here with the T2i.

What lenses do you use or recommend?

  • 50mm/1.8 – You cannot beat the bang that you get for your buck with the “thrifty fifty.” This was my first lens purchase and the first lens I recommend to any blogger getting started with a DSLR.
  • 50mm/1.4 – I upgraded to the “nifty fifty” a year or so later. You can shoot a bit wider aperture with the 1.4 than the 1.8. The glass is better and that is reflected in the price. However, many people have reported problems with the autofocus going out on it around the 1-year mark – I’ve had to have Canon repair it twice and they wouldn’t honor the warranty on the first repair even though it was within the warranty period. For all the trouble I’ve had with it, I vote “stick with the 1.8.”
  • Tamron 17-50mm/2.8 – I liked the freedom to zoom in/out without moving because I didn’t have a crazy amount of much room where I used to shoot the photos for this blog. It also made it easier to compose shots when I was working on a tripod. I covet the Canon 24-70 but just cannot justify that size of a purchase when the gear I have does what I want it to.

Do you use a flash?
Only during the fall/winter… or in backlit shots. Trying to shoot dinner early at 5pm when it’s pitch black out totally stinks so I usually convert myself to a weekend blogger at that point. Before Santa brought the Speedlite 430 EXII, I was using a Lightscoop. It was a great deal for $25 but you could only take landscape (wide) photos and not portrait (tall).

Do you use Photoshop?
No, I use Lightroom. And it’s awesome and way more affordable. Please check out the How I Edit edition of Photo Fridays for more information.

What’s this business about a tripod?
Sometimes it’s so dark that I have to use a tripod so I can use a really slow shutter speed to get the photo I need. It’s also awesome to use back when I went through a “tethered” stage (more on that in a Photo Friday soon). We were given a Manfrotto as a gift so I don’t have another recommendation.