עָטִין
The BBQ BRETHREN FORUMS.


Forum Portal Recipes Smoke Signals Magazine Welocme Merchandise Associations Purchase Subscription Brethren Banners
Go Back   The BBQ BRETHREN FORUMS. > Discussion Area > Q-talk > BBQ Brethren Throwdowns

Notices

BBQ Brethren Throwdowns Join us in the backyard for a fun weekly contest and show off your BBQ creations! New categories are posted each week. Winners earn bragging rights, a Throwdown Certificate, and the chance to choose the next week's category. Fun people only please! If you take this too seriously you will have to leave the party until you are fun again.


Reply
Thread Tools
Unread 12-04-2010, 01:50 PM   #1
bigabyte
somebody shut me the fark up.

 
bigabyte's Avatar
 
Join Date: 05-10-06
Location: Overland Fark, KS
Downloads: 1
Uploads: 1
Default The *OFFICIAL* Throwdown Photography Tips Thread

Someone recently suggested posting some tips and pointers to help people improve their photography skills. I am by no means a skilled photographer, and really I don't know much of anything about taking good photographs. I am willing to share what I have learned however, those things that have made my photos better than before.

Since the entries posted and voted upon in the Throwdowns are photographs, it can be very helpful to try and get the best picture you can in order to best display your dish to the voters. Granted, the best picture does not always win, but they say a picture speaks a thousand words. So when you describe your dish and people see it in the picture, the quality of your picture could very well be the difference between almost winning and victory.

The first and most important tip I can give you is to use a real camera, and not a camera phone. By "real" camera, I do not mean a pricey digital SLR camera, although if you have one or can get one then that is of course the best camera option out there. What I mean by a real camera is one that can be mounted on a tripod and has the ability to adjust settings such as the light source, focal points, sharpness, or other such settings.

The second most important tip I can give you is to get a tripod. There is a very dramatic difference between the sharpness of a picture taken in hand vs one with a tripod. No matter how still you think you are keeping your hand, there are still very tiny vibrations happening, and these will affect your photo clarity, even if the difference seems rather small. For close ups of food where you want each crispy little flake, or small color variations and flecks of spice to "pop", you need as much clarity in your picture as you can get, so get a tripod.

The third most important tip I can give you is to play with your camera settings. For example, on my relatively inexpensive camera (which just died) there are various main settings like Portrait, Auto, etc, but the one I use for the Throwdowns is one called PASM which stands for Program, Aperture priority, Shutter priority, and Manual. When on this setting I can adjust camera settings. On my camera in this setting I can specify the light source which greatly affected my photo quality. After that, I played around with settings and took pictures to find to what worked best for me inside and outside. Since I learned by playing around with it, this is the advice I have to give to you, play around with it and learn what works.

Finally, the last bit of advice I can give at this time is to experiment taking pictures from various angles. Try setting up your camera on your tripod up high and shooting down at your food from above, or down low looking at the food as if it were more at eye level. Don't forget about zoom, and do not be afraid to move your camera back a ways from you dish and zoom in to get the best angle and lighting. Some of my favorite shots so far were taken with my camera set up 10 or more feet away from the food and zoomed in. It is all based on where you have you food sitting and what height your tripod is that dictates this. As you experiment, you will see what I mean.

Hopefully some other people with far better photography skills and knowledge than I have will add some tips of their own. Some of the photos I see posted on this site literally take my breath away. I am also looking forward to any advice and tips others are willing to share.

Please do not post in this thread unless you have advice to give, or have questions about any of the advice given. Any posts that do not in some way help to either offer advice or seek clarity on taking better pictures will be deleted. I would like this thread to be a knowledge base for taking good food pictures, and not a collection of "thank you" posts, or the normal fooling around and chatting (which I myself enjoy very much). Please keep this one strictly on topic.

Thanks to any and all who contribute!
__________________
Asshattatron Farkanaut, CGCFO
Chief Galactic Crockpot Foil Officer
Certified MOINK Baller & IMBAS Certified MOINK Ball Judge #0003 - Are you MOINK Certified?
Sole recipient of the Silverfinger and fingerlickin Awards!

Don't forget about the Throwdown Thingies!
The Secret Squirrel Society doesn't exist - Zero Club



Duh.

Last edited by bigabyte; 12-05-2010 at 12:23 AM..
bigabyte is offline   Reply With Quote
Unread 12-04-2010, 11:14 PM   #2
Grillman
is One Chatty Farker

 
Join Date: 07-05-09
Location: Aurora, Colo.
Downloads: 0
Uploads: 0
Default

Like Mr. Big said...learn your camera...each mode will likely select a
different area to focus on; so read the directions and practice. If you
have lost the owners manual..do a Google search for you model of Camera.

If you don't have a tripod...while holding your camera, bring your elbows
in close to your body; this will help stabilize you. Also...lean against a wall
or the Refrigerator, or something solid. This will also help to stabilize you
and reduce blurry pictures.

Also turn on the lights! Automatic cameras will select a faster shutter
speed when there is lots of light. The darker the room (or outside) is
then the camera will select a slower shutter speed...which can result
in blurry pictures.

Anybody that is using a digital camera ought to be able to improve their
picture taking ability just by taking LOTS of pictures.
Take 3 or 4 pictures close up (about 18 inches away) straight on.
Take 3 or 4 pictures from about 2 & 1/2 feet away.
Take 3 or 4 pictures from overhead.
Take 3 or 4 pictures from the right & the left.
Take some with a flash. Take some without the flash.
Take some pictures outside...when the weather permits.

Don't take just one or two pictures and stop. Take many pictures from
various angles and different light sources. This will give you better odds
and getting a very nice picture to submit for the Throwdown.

The more pictures you take; the better you will get, and the better
your results will be.
Grillman is offline   Reply With Quote
Unread 12-05-2010, 07:24 AM   #3
cmcadams
Quintessential Chatty Farker

 
cmcadams's Avatar
 
Join Date: 02-15-06
Location: Waynesville, Ohio
Downloads: 0
Uploads: 0
Default

For food shots, I've found it's usually best to use an opened up aperture (smaller number means more open). If not using full manual, at least using aperture priority is helpful. Then taking shots fairly close to the food helps the background blur a bit, helping the food stand out.

With that, white balance makes a big difference, too. If you see shots that look too yellow, that's often just a white balance issue. There's a lot of software out there to help with that, and much can be found free. A lot of even high end cameras tend to show indoor light as too yellow, and tweaking this can help the photo look much more natural.

And one thing that can help no matter what mode on a camera is used is thinking about the whole shot. You're going to take a photo of not just the food unless it's an extreme close-up. You're photographing what's next to the food, just in front of the food, and everything behind it. So sinks with dirty dishes, laundry piled up on the other side of the table, whatever it may be... it's all going to end up as part of the photo. Look around and behind what you're taking a photo of... then decide if that's what you're looking for in your shot.

and in line with Grillman's post, try to have enough light to not use the on-camera flash. Unless you use a diffuser or bounce of some sort, those flashes give very harsh shadows. You're better using room lighting and a tripod, placing the tripod where the lighting works best.

And take a lot of photos. :)
__________________
Curt McAdams
Livefire Blog

Livefire Whisky

CBJ, some comps, a few awards, Certified Artisan Steak Taster.

XL Big Green Egg, Bubba Keg Convection Grill, Weber Kettle, Charbroil Infrared and mad livefire cooking skillz! :)
cmcadams is offline   Reply With Quote
Unread 12-05-2010, 08:46 AM   #4
SmokinOkie
is one Smokin' Farker
 
Join Date: 03-02-08
Location: OKC OK
Downloads: 2
Uploads: 2
Default

Great posts guys. I'm not sure who suggested this thread but he was really forward thinking and smart, probably a good cook too.

So, my questions.

Preferred lenses. Obviously if you have a Digital SLR there are just tons of variations on lenses. Wide angles, macros, short telephotos (85, 105) etc. What do you like? Why

Preferred lighting methods? Advantages / disadvantages if any? Obviously you can use ambient lighting, but talk about options. Remote flash, light boxes, light stands. There are too many to chose from.

Thanks for the thread guys, looking forward to it. I'm working on mine own stuff to improve and this is helpful.

Russ
__________________
Russ
*****
Lt Col USAF (R)
Lastest Smokers (4) FEC100's including Twin Big Reds, FEPC1000 Pellet Grill, Cookshack 36" Charbroiler

[B][URL="http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1159993040"]Smokin Okie on Facebook[/URL][/B]
A[B]uthor:[/B]
[URL="http://www.cookshack.com/Websites/cookshack/Images/2010brining101.pdf"]Brining 101 PDF[/URL] & [URL="http://www.cookshack.com/Websites/cookshack/Images/2010Turkey101.pdf"]Turkey 101 PDF[/URL]
SmokinOkie is offline   Reply With Quote
Thanks from:--->
Unread 12-05-2010, 10:57 AM   #5
Ron_L
Moderator
 
Ron_L's Avatar
 
Join Date: 12-09-04
Location: Chicago 'Burbs
Downloads: 1
Uploads: 0
Default

Once you've taken the perfect shot(s), you'll need to post them to the throwdown thread, so here are some instructions on how to do this.

By request, how to post pictures

Posting Pictures From Google's Picasa Web Albums *New*
__________________
"Ron Rico, Boss. You can call me Captain Ron..."

The Naked Fatty!

FEC-100/BWS Party/Memphis Pro SS/PBC/LBGE X 2/SBGE/Mini BGE/Nomad Pellet-matic/Good-One Model 42/WSM X 2/Cookshack Smokette 008/Weber Performer/Saber Cast 500/Weber Gasser (RIP)/Weber Kettle X 2/Weber Smokey Joe/WGA/UDS/Coffee Roasting Gasser
Ron_L is offline   Reply With Quote
Thanks from: --->
Unread 12-05-2010, 11:19 AM   #6
BBQ Grail
somebody shut me the fark up.
 
BBQ Grail's Avatar
 
Join Date: 08-11-03
Location: Rocklin, CA
Downloads: 0
Uploads: 0
Default

Ree Drummond, The Pioneer Woman, in addition to be a great cook and cookbook author has a great section on Photography. If you are a Photoshop or Photoshop Elements user she has compiled some great custom "actions" that make photo editing and correcting simple.

I would encourage anyone that wants to learn more about basic to intermediate photography to spend some time on her site.

http://thepioneerwoman.com/photography/
__________________
Larry

The best way to reach me is with email: larry@thebbqgrail.com
BBQ Grail is offline   Reply With Quote
Unread 12-05-2010, 09:26 PM   #7
landarc
somebody shut me the fark up.

 
landarc's Avatar
 
Join Date: 06-26-09
Location: Saint Leanders Parish, CA
Downloads: 0
Uploads: 0
Default

I use a normal lens length, but, my camera is an old digital SLR that can focus down to 6" with the flick of a couple buttons, a roll of a wheel and a couple of pokes. I need a new camera. Still, I use direct flash on my camera when photographing for Throw Downs, my form of cinema verite.

However, I would also recommend considering the plate and accessories, a plate color and/or texture that complements your food really makes the food stand out. I have found that shiny surfaces and smoke pose particular problems for autofocus. Sometimes it is better to go with manual focus.

I do use a software program to adjust contrast, white balance and brightness on most photos I post to my blog, as I find that once I get the image to the monitor, the color is often a little off from reality.

Finally, I am not a fan of cropping images and over-shooting the image, I try to find and shoot the exact image I am going to use. Sometimes the format of the camera I use does not fit the image shape I want, I keep this in mind when shooting. But, I really try to get the image in a way that I do not need to crop and enlarge the main subject of my image.
__________________
The SS Platypus, sails again, to the support of the Vets!

"perhaps...but then again...maybe not..."
landarc is offline   Reply With Quote
Thanks from: --->
Unread 12-11-2010, 05:02 PM   #8
caseydog
somebody shut me the fark up.
 
caseydog's Avatar
 
Join Date: 07-08-10
Location: Texas
Downloads: 1
Uploads: 0
Default

I actually am a professional photographer with ASMP creds. I shoot food from time to time, and there are some good tips on this thread. My food photos on this forum are just snapshots that I quickly shoot between cooking and eating, so they are what they are. But, I have a few pro food shots on my web site. www.gzphoto1.com .

If you want really fantastic food shots, they have to be styled, which often makes them inedible. But, you can still make pretty darn good shots with your real food, if you take some time to make the plate of food look pretty. Try to add as much dimension as possible.

Light should be fairly directional, and a bit hard. If you set up a light source, aim it from the side or from behind. You want good highlights and shadows so your food doesn't look flat. Use a piece of white foamcore to reflect light in from the opposite position from your light source, as needed. DO NOT have your light source where your camera is, such as an on camera flash. That will make your food look flat and unappetizing. Try setting your food up on a table by a window off to one side, and use that window as your light source. If your camera is at 6:00 in relation to your food, have your window at 2:00 or 3:00. The highlights and shadows will add dimension to your food.

The tips from others on using a wide open aperture are good. Your food should be in focus, but other elements can go soft, to emphasize the food. And, a tripod will help a lot. Set up the camera and plate, and build your food on the plate, checking the look through the viewfinder as you go.

Photoshop is also a real gem with food shots, because you can really work with your image to make it sharp and correctly colored. Use smart sharpen to make the "sheen" on your food pop, and bump up the contrast, if needed, to add dimension.

Do a Google search on food photography. There are some good sites out there.

CD
caseydog is online now   Reply With Quote
Unread 12-11-2010, 05:18 PM   #9
cmcadams
Quintessential Chatty Farker

 
cmcadams's Avatar
 
Join Date: 02-15-06
Location: Waynesville, Ohio
Downloads: 0
Uploads: 0
Default

Cd, nice work! Want to do an online photography series? Give us assignments to get better? I'd definitely be up for learning from someone who knows what they're doing. :)
__________________
Curt McAdams
Livefire Blog

Livefire Whisky

CBJ, some comps, a few awards, Certified Artisan Steak Taster.

XL Big Green Egg, Bubba Keg Convection Grill, Weber Kettle, Charbroil Infrared and mad livefire cooking skillz! :)
cmcadams is offline   Reply With Quote
Unread 12-15-2010, 07:21 AM   #10
Gore
Phizzy

 
Gore's Avatar
 
Join Date: 10-05-08
Location: Hiding out from blood suck ghost snake gods, Nazis and scrap iron chefs trying to harvest body parts
Downloads: 0
Uploads: 0
Default

Chris, I don't know if this belongs here and you can delete it (certainly after a day when this deal is gone), but I just want to point out that slickdeals.net has a couple Canon cameras on their frontpage in the $100 range (one for ~$90 and the other for ~$130 with a coupon code posted). I've used a four-year-old version of these SD-series for most of my pics and like them because they fit in my pocket -- great for traveling. Certainly they aren't the best cameras in the world, but I think these are great prices and Christmas is around the corner.
__________________
Assistant to a Mad BBQ Scientist (and a squirrel): Primo Oval XL, Small Offset, Gasser, Optigrill, UBS
"I love everything about the pig, even the way she walks." -- Spanish proverb
(\__/)
(='.'=) This is the rabbit baby. Invests him in yours signature,
(")_(") and the help rabbit baby takes over control of the world!
Hmmmm, I wonder, WWGALD? Avatar courtesy of Grillman and NorthwestBBQ

Promoted by Bigabyte to "Idiot #1" , and dubbed "Phizzy" by Sir Ron.
Gore is offline   Reply With Quote
Thanks from:--->
Unread 12-31-2010, 10:34 PM   #11
bigabyte
somebody shut me the fark up.

 
bigabyte's Avatar
 
Join Date: 05-10-06
Location: Overland Fark, KS
Downloads: 1
Uploads: 1
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gore View Post
Chris, I don't know if this belongs here and you can delete it (certainly after a day when this deal is gone), but I just want to point out that slickdeals.net has a couple Canon cameras on their frontpage in the $100 range (one for ~$90 and the other for ~$130 with a coupon code posted). I've used a four-year-old version of these SD-series for most of my pics and like them because they fit in my pocket -- great for traveling. Certainly they aren't the best cameras in the world, but I think these are great prices and Christmas is around the corner.
Well, I notified a certain "Santa" figure....(maybe I should rephrase that) about this offer, and lo and behold, I got a Canon SD 1300 for Christmas! We left out brownies (thankfully) and I think that paid off in having this arrive that day. I wanted to do habanero ABT's just to see if there were any reports of flames streaking across the sky. I'm thinking the brownies helped. That's why they call them brownie points, right?

It seems to already be taking better pics than my old camera...although I do not have as many settings I can set with this one...but that may not matter!
__________________
Asshattatron Farkanaut, CGCFO
Chief Galactic Crockpot Foil Officer
Certified MOINK Baller & IMBAS Certified MOINK Ball Judge #0003 - Are you MOINK Certified?
Sole recipient of the Silverfinger and fingerlickin Awards!

Don't forget about the Throwdown Thingies!
The Secret Squirrel Society doesn't exist - Zero Club



Duh.
bigabyte is offline   Reply With Quote
Thanks from:--->
Unread 01-01-2011, 09:44 AM   #12
Gore
Phizzy

 
Gore's Avatar
 
Join Date: 10-05-08
Location: Hiding out from blood suck ghost snake gods, Nazis and scrap iron chefs trying to harvest body parts
Downloads: 0
Uploads: 0
Default

For $89 with the memory card, that was a steal!
__________________
Assistant to a Mad BBQ Scientist (and a squirrel): Primo Oval XL, Small Offset, Gasser, Optigrill, UBS
"I love everything about the pig, even the way she walks." -- Spanish proverb
(\__/)
(='.'=) This is the rabbit baby. Invests him in yours signature,
(")_(") and the help rabbit baby takes over control of the world!
Hmmmm, I wonder, WWGALD? Avatar courtesy of Grillman and NorthwestBBQ

Promoted by Bigabyte to "Idiot #1" , and dubbed "Phizzy" by Sir Ron.
Gore is offline   Reply With Quote
Unread 03-18-2011, 11:54 AM   #13
Groundhog66
Babbling Farker
 
Join Date: 08-20-10
Location: Livermore, CA
Downloads: 0
Uploads: 0
Default

Just wanted to bump this one up to see if we could get more input...
__________________
Tim -



[COLOR=Yellow]
[/COLOR]
Groundhog66 is offline   Reply With Quote
Unread 03-28-2011, 06:38 PM   #14
caseydog
somebody shut me the fark up.
 
caseydog's Avatar
 
Join Date: 07-08-10
Location: Texas
Downloads: 1
Uploads: 0
Default

Here is a super-simple setup for food that requires no lighting equipment. Just a camera and tripod.

I did this for a magazine review of a restaurant that was published in three magazines, and it was a piece of cake.

I used a table with table cloth, parked next to a big window letting in indirect sunlight, and used a small piece of white Foamcore as a reflector.

CD
Attached Images
File Type: jpg SuperSimple.jpg (49.3 KB, 778 views)
File Type: jpg FourWinds.jpg (184.5 KB, 777 views)
File Type: jpg FourWinds2.jpg (172.5 KB, 778 views)
caseydog is online now   Reply With Quote
Unread 03-28-2011, 07:26 PM   #15
landarc
somebody shut me the fark up.

 
landarc's Avatar
 
Join Date: 06-26-09
Location: Saint Leanders Parish, CA
Downloads: 0
Uploads: 0
Default

Nicely done CD, it is important to shoot during the day if you can. I recently met a food photographer in S.F. and he says he likes a similar setup of possible. Although, he had one shoot where the restaurant had no windows he could shoot next to.

I have found round plates to be an interesting issue of late, in terms of the odd little shapes left when you fill the frame. I need better plates. I like the heavy rim look for pictures.

Oh, this was shot with my camera phone, ambient light, on-site

Yes, I am quite proud of myself. Those colors in the bubbles are exactly what I wanted to capture.
__________________
The SS Platypus, sails again, to the support of the Vets!

"perhaps...but then again...maybe not..."
landarc is offline   Reply With Quote
Thanks from: --->
Reply

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Some Photography Help... (White Balance) Phrasty Q-talk 4 05-18-2011 10:43 AM
Food Photography Tips? cmcadams Q-talk 46 09-06-2007 11:26 AM

Thread Tools

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump

Loading



All times are GMT -5. The time now is 03:56 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
vBulletin Optimisation provided by vB Optimise v2.6.0 Beta 4 (Lite) - vBulletin Mods & Addons Copyright © 2014 DragonByte Technologies Ltd.
2003 -2012 BBQ-Brethren Inc. All rights reserved. All Content and Flaming Pig Logo are registered and protected under U.S and International Copyright and Trademarks. Content Within this Website Is Property of BBQ Brethren Inc. Reproduction or alteration is strictly prohibited.