Although I felt lucky to be invited to a food photography workshop with Nikon and Currys PCWorld, I also felt out of my comfort zone. I don’t blog about food (in eight years I’ve done one recipe), I don’t use an SLR and being completely honest you’re not going to follow me on Instagram for my photographs of food. So for me, the evening was about meeting new bloggers, being introduced to macaroons (and as they are food bloggers being told how to make them) and gaining confidence with dSLR.
Current photography kit
My photography kit currently consists of my phone (HTC One M8*) and a Canon compact (G7X*). This is my second compact with manual settings, I bought the first one (Nikon P300*) so I could try manual settings without having to carry a dSLR but unfortunately gave it a few too many bangs so the lens motor failed.
As I’ve used manual settings for a few years I understand the concept of the relationship between Shutter speed, Aperture size and Iso setting, and if you change one you need to change at least one of the others to retain the correct exposure (assuming the setting to be photographed doesn’t change). For example if you increase the aperture size, so more light can go in, you will need to reduce the shutter speed, to reduce the time light can go in, otherwise the picture will be overexposed. The art of photography comes from choosing the setting to achieve the photograph you want (short shutter for defined drops of water, longer shutter for blurred water flow) and then balancing the other settings.
So I understand the theory, but I do not find it easy to implement, I either move dials until I get what I want, or freeze and change the dial to automatic setting. Although I am getting better.
A great thing about the Nikon school is the inspiration around you; everywhere you look there are amazing photographs from the Nikon Ambassadors. And I have a new favourite photographer Kate Hopewell-Smith because of this picture (sorry about my reflection). I’m going to imagine that my daughter and I would look just like this if we had a session with her!
The key things I learnt about food photography are:
- good to have large aperture (small f number) so there is shallow depth of field meaning the background blurs
- nice to fill the frame when showing details of the food
- setting the white balance is important to show the true colours of the food
- macro lens is useful to get sharp close up focus
Here are some of the photographs I took during the workshop.
dSLR, compact or phone?
This was the first time I’ve felt a desire to have a dSLR. However, the big question is would I use it if I had one? I think if I was taking photos of food or products at home it would be easy to decide on the dSLR, but I tend to take snapshots of the people I’m with or the place we’re visiting and use them to make scrap pages so I can share our memories. The best camera is the one you have with you, so my phone and compact have a big advantage as they fit in my pocket or handbag. I’m concerned about the extra weight and size of dSLR; is it worth carrying it for the level of my ability? But then will my ability develop if I don’t challenge myself with a more advanced camera?
How do you approach photography? Do you use compact or dSLR? What would you like to use?
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