If you have ever stumbled upon any of my social media feeds, you will quickly come to learn that I love food and love taking pictures of it. Yes, I am one of ‘those’ people. I do not stand on chairs or set up tripods, but my friends and family know—picture first, eat second.
I decided to attend a food photo workshop that just so happen to be located at a winery, #WINWIN … The workshop was put on my Niagara Culinary Tours hosted at Stratus Winery in Niagara on the Lake. Our fearless workshop leader was the ever so lovely Jen Chan. A talented self taught food photographer from Toronto. A glance at her Instagram Facebook or Twitter feed is sure to make you lick your screen.
The agenda was kept light and was perfect for the beginner to intermediate photographer and geared to both traditional and phone camera photography. We were all asked ahead of time what we used to shoot our pictures, what we wanted to learn, what our biggest issues were with our photography. We covered things like composition and the rule of thirds, setting your scene, cropping, lighting, depth of focus, post processing and of course FOOD!
Once the first part of the ‘talkie’ was done it was time to eat? NO NOT YET! Foodie photog rule #1 — pictures first, maybe more pictures, then eat. It was so amazing to watch this room come alive and people move and pose the food and squat or climb to get the best angle for the best shot.
Then, it was time to eat…and drink of course…
I would love to share everything I learned at this workshop however that would make this post far too long and rambling. So here are a few of my favourite tips and take aways…
- When shooting on a smart phone be sure your ‘grid’ is turned on to help you find focal points. Simply Google how to do this with the phone you have and you will find easy step by step instructions.
- When doing side shots of food always push the food right up to the edge of place closest to you. Best for depth perception in pictures.
- Always allow extra room around your photo for cropping.
- Natural light is always best and morning is best for soft light. If a bulb is needed buy a daylight bulb with around 5000k…you can google that as well.
- When shooting in a restaurant hold you hand over the table under the light source and see where the shadows fall..Choose the seat with no shadows for best results.
- When shooting groups odd numbers are more pleasing to the eye. Use a prop to create an odd number like a fork or glass.
- If using an iPhone tap on the object you want to focus on and a little sun appears and if you move it up or down with your finger it gets lighter and darker…Thank you to @ClBuchanan for this tip…I had no idea… #Clueless
My FAVE tip of the day was about the App Snapseed available for android and iPhone. I have used this add on my iPhone for ages and love it but had no idea about ‘Masking‘ and it has totally changed the look of my food pictures…I screamed and hugged Jen when she showed us this and she may now be seeking a restraining order on me.
The look I am going for is that bright white glow surrounding the food and the food being the focal point yes still maintaining the vibrant colour of the food. However masking can be used to make any portion of the photo you chose to really stand out in your shot.
Here are some more before and after(s) using ‘Masking’ on the Snapseed App.
Masking and some cropping and rotation…
Please do not blame me for the hours you may spend on this. If you are a photo app nerd like me however you may thank me.
There are many tutorials available on YouTube for Snapseed to help you get the most out of the App. If you have an iPhone there is an actual iPhone editing academy that has videos on the app and the masking process. If you are looking for a fun, free easy editing app for your computer I suggest trying Pic Monkey. You can upgrade to a paid product but the free version allows you to get great edits on your photos.
Thank you to Niagara Culinary Tours for Hosting such a FABOOSH event! Be sure to check them out, they do amazing food tours all over the Niagara region. HUGE love to the deelightful Jen Chan from @Foodpr0n …sorry if I scared you with my excitement…and do Stratus Winery for the amazing venue and tasty wine. Big love to Chef Jason Dobbie from Oban Inn and Spa Restaurant for the amazing food and Chef Catherine O’Donnell from Willow cakes and pastries for the amazing dessert.
**This is not a sponsored post. I paid my own way to the workshop and receive nothing from anyone or any product mentioned in this post.**