It was about 4:30 PM on a gray and rainy day. Very rainy. But there was light! Daylight. A gray-bluish one. A perfect day to make pie that turned into a day without electricity for a few hours, then trying to shoot the pie quickly while there is still daylight – yep, it was still a gray-bluish one – and barely making it in time to pick up my kids from schools 10 minutes before they shut their doors. Sheeew.
But we had fresh, warm apple pie for dessert that night. It’s been ages since I made pie. So why did I bother in the first place?
I have recently join a group on Flickr managed by Lara Ferroni, a food photographer who also runs the blogs Cook & Eat and Still Life With. On her Flickr group you can submit your food photos according to the challenge she gave that month and get feedback from her as well as other group members. Cool, no?!
I’m really into learning more about food photography lately. When I have time. The assignment for this month’s Still Life With Remake was “Double Crusted Fruit Pie, shot top-down. You can see Lara’s photo, which I tried to follow as an example, here.
As the good planner-ahead that I am, I made the dough the day before and was planning to assemble and bake the pie in the morning. Destiny had other plans. As I was rolling the dough, after cooking the apples, there was a power outage that went on for a few hours. So finally, in the afternoon the power was back on and I baked the pie. Immediately after I took it out of the oven, I started working on the photos so I can make it just in time to pick up the kids and before it gets too dark. I wanted to have some day light advantage.
I placed the pie on a wooden board that I put on a chair by the window in my kitchen. In order to get the shot from above without placing the pie pan on the flour (which I don’t like doing. Unless I have too), I used my tripod and climbed on a chair so I can work the camera.
This was the best shot I got.
The one I chose from about 15 others like the one below where the serving spoon is way too big in proportion to the size of the pie and the piece I cut out:
I thought the chosen photo had the best light and showed most detail. The only problem… it had a greenish hue so I had to fix that.
The pie looks a bit green as a result of my green kitchen walls reflecting a green light back on the dough. Maybe also the grayish light that day contributed to that?
I fixed the color so it looks more natural and “real” with a simple software I’m using, Microsoft Office Picture Manager, by changing the hue.
I used my new lens which I told you about (in the “food porn” post), a Canon 60 mm f/2.8.
The following day I played with the other two lenses I have, the one that came with the body of the camera, a 18-55 mm, and the second one, a 50 mm f/1.8, to try and learn more about their features.
I think the 50 mm f/ 1.8 50 is not as good for food porn pictures as it has a limit with close ups. For example, the photo below was taken with the 60 mm because the 50 mm couldn’t focus on the object from such close distance. I think the 60 mm also has a more of a 3-dimensional affect. See on the right side where the edge of the pie plate is. I feel as if the 50 mm produces more flat/2-dimensional looking photos?
But the 50 mm is good for low light shooting. I used it in this post when we went to a restaurant for dinner. It was dark and the indoor lights were low and orange-red. I shot without a flash (of course) or a tripod and got ahhh, decent results. I bought it because I noticed the limits of the kit lens right away and most people and food bloggers I asked/searched recommended buying it. It’s cheap (about $100) and very good for its price and I was a total beginner then. Now I feel I’m just a beginner. But not total.
I like my basic kit lens, a 18-55 mm, because it has zoom in and out which makes it easier to work with compared to macro, but it’s slower than the other two and not so good for low light. It serves me well for family photos, especially trying to capture my kids, who move fast, but it has limits with farther distances.
I’m still not sure if a 60 mm is what I need… I’ll need to work with it more to really understand.
My questions for you, if you don’t mind sharing,
1. What lens/es do you use for your food photography?
2. I’m inviting all levels, beginners to experienced, would you like to write a guest post here and share your food photography tips, experience, knowledge, equipment?
Categories : Food Photography