There is a tiny bit of shopaholic in all of us. We spend hours in store window shopping and browsing through online stores… oh and if you are interested in photography, the quest to the best camera, the best lens and the that awesome lighting equipment is unending… and here I am, claiming that no matter what your skills are, you can improve your food photography without buying a single photography gear.
If you like to take photos, you are bound to be tempted to buying that camera or that lens. More often than not, people assume that buying a new gear, specially a new camera will change their photograph skills. I strongly believe that buying a new camera is not going to make you a great photographer. To become a better food photographer you don’t need new gear. You don’t have to buy anything at all. You can improve your photography skills without buying a single gear.
Here are some ways that will make you a better photographer without spending any money:
Know Your Superpowers
Have you read the camera manual cover to cover of your existing camera? How many times? Majority of us never use full potential of our equipment. This is because we do not read the manual as camera manual and equipment handbook are too boring. The result is that many of us are unaware of all the functions in our camera. As a result the power of our equipments is never fully realized and we don’t know what our superpowers are. For example, I am sure some of us will be surprise to hear that we can immensely the potential of point and shoot and use it very close to a DSLR with unchangeable lens.
Before you decide that you want to spend on photo gear, learn about composing a photograph and elements of art. Composing a photograph is the most critical aspect of photography. Whether you have a $200 point and shoot or a $5000 DSLR, if you can’t compose your shot well, nothing is going to save you. There is a lot that can be written and said about composing food photographs and photography in general. We will cover that in future posts.
Worship Natural Light
Can’t stress enough that photography is only about one thing – playing with light. This whole art revolves around light. Learn to see and “handle” light and you are much better photographer now. How much light? where to put light? what kind of light? It all about light. And the best light for food photography is the natural light. Rather than trying to buy a lighting equipment, use natural light. Natural light brings the true color in a photograph and capturing objects in it is much simpler. You don’t have to worry about white balance and post processing to get the true color in your photos. Matt from Wrightfood is a big fan of natural light and many of his food photos are taken in natural light.
Meditate on Background
A great background strengthens a subject and creates a stunning photograph. On the other hand, cluttered background distracts the viewer and stirs undeniable chaos. Background of a photograph is most important element that can be improved without spending money on new gear. For food photography, this is specially important. The background should support the food and not overtake your subject. Meeta from What’s for Lunch Honey uses background in food photography very creatively. But then there are days when you just can’t get rid of that clutter from background and that when you need shallow depth of field.
Say No to Direct Flash
One final thing – don’t use direct flash. What is direct flash? Direct flash is when you use flash from your camera (or an attachment for that matter) directly on your subject, without diffusing it. Direct flash flattens the image and messes up the color and tone in most cases. Now, at times, direct flash can be adjusted, but that depends on your camera and its functions, which takes us back to point #1 – know your superpowers. My recommendation while photographing food is avoid using direct flash at all times.
Next time you think about buying a photography gear, think about this post and improve on these before buying a new camera or a lens.
Friends, I need your help. I am always eager to find out whether the posts are helping you or not and the only way to find that out is when you tell me. So, please comment below, tweet this or share it on facebook or your favorite site. This will help me plan for future posts. Thank you for your help in advance.
Photo Courtesy: Budget SLR Gear by Claudio Matsuoka
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