|Self-portrait (reflection), flipped|
Last Saturday I was lucky enough to be included in #LightsCameraCurrys – a photography workshop organised by Currys & Canon. I must admit I felt a little cocky when I headed out for the Joe Blogs headquarters in Kings Cross… I am, 2+ years into blogging, in a pretty good place with my food photography and generally know my way around a camera. Just don’t ask me to ever read a camera manual – I am completely allergic to them. But, as it turns out, I still have a boatload to learn, especially since food photography is such a niche discipline.
The course was led by the engaging Paul Hames who energetically tried to cram an entire photography foundation course in only a few hours and, for the most part, succeeded. I was transported back to my Graphic Design college days as I took notes furiously and pestered Paul with many questions. Before I forget what I learned here are the top tips from the workshop.
1. YOU are the most important component in your photography. Not the camera, however fancy it might be. A good lens comes second and the camera is only third. A decent lens can breathe new life to an old camera – invest in an affordable and versatile ‘nifty 50’ i.e. a 50 mm lens.
2. Switch to manual. Paul called this ‘bringing the soul back into your photography’ and it is the only way of taking control of your camera. I couldn’t agree more, having made the switch in the blog’s early days. I have never taken a decent food shot on the automatic setting!
3. You manage your photography by controlling the light sensitivity = ISO setting. When you are shooting food in a controlled ‘studio’ environment (even if that ‘studio’ is your kitchen or computer desk) a low ISO setting (100 – 400) is preferable. But when you are shooting indoors or in low light conditions don’t be afraid to turn the ISO up high – Paul had us shooting at 1600 setting indoors.
4. Overexpose! I have been overexposing my food shots for a while so it’s good to hear that by going up a couple of stops on your light meter you end up with crisper and brighter images. Give it a try!
|My attempts to shoot Paul ended up like a corporate magazine cover….|
|Sara of Hello Mushroom|
|Mel of Le Coin de Mel|
5. Portrait photography is something I am not very good at. Paul’s advice? Break the ice (time to try out some dirty jokes!) and shoot when your subject is engaged and not looking directly at the camera. Play with your angles – if you are shooting children, get down to their level. An 85mm lens is a good option for portrait photography (and I left mine home on the day). I stalked my fellow bloggers and got some decent shots when they weren’t looking!
6. Anticipate and embrace ‘happy accidents’. If you are shooting at an event, anticipate people’s reactions to capture the genuine laugh or unguarded moment. I am going to be putting this into practice soon shooting a friend’s wedding.
7. Scale – add a human element to breathe life into your vistas. Super useful if you find yourself on a mountaintop or even up a few steps…
|Playing with scale…|
|Reflections & anticipation: pigeon, get ready for your 5 minutes of fame!|