We love to see texture in our photographs—so why do so many food photographs have the food sitting on shiny white plates? Because that’s what restaurants use? Because that’s what we have at home? I’ve been doing the photographs for Michael’s next book and when we started the art director, Vanessa, pretty much told me where to go to buy plates. She did not want to see shiny white or patterned plates and now I understand why. A white or patterned glossy plate is going to draw the viewer’s eye away from the food because it is so bright. Non-glazed ceramic in earth tones work well and use the salad plate size so you don’t end up with a big collar around your subject. Also using things that are not plates at all—like old metal Read On »

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My photo above.  And below is the photo that Michael took with his iPhone because he wasn’t sure I’d have time to take one. And I have to say it’s not bad (he may be picking up a few photo tips like I’m getting some cooking ones from him). But—there are a few things wrong here that is basically just laziness. To start, he could have moved the crap away and that would have given him the space on the counter, eliminating the distracting lower right corner. The other would be to take the beans out of the plastic. Anything white, silver, or shiny is going to attract the viewer’s eye and plastic is simply not a good look. And speaking of white—that white bowl is doing this too. Something made of organic materials or Read On »

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I’ve always loved B&W photographs because they seem to say, “I am timeless, I need no pretty colors to attract—I am edgy.” With the age of digital also came the not having to choose between B&W and color film. This is truly a great thing, but you can’t just push the “remove color” button to convert your digital color into a B&W and many people do. If you do that you’ll end up with a very flat looking photo—here’s an example form Michael’s book, Ratio: Do you see the difference? If you ever did any B&W printing in the darkroom you would for sure. I did 2 things— increased the contrast being careful not to push the highlights too far so they look hot and I also burned in the rim of the bowl because Read On »

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Someone asked how I go about composing my CSA vegetable photos and instead of thinking about the lighting, I immediately thought about the challenge of photographing a group of many things without its looking chaotic. The direction that each element is pointing can lead the viewer’s eye throughout the entire photo or it can run it off the page. In this Okra photo you have the direction of the wood grain in the bottom directing your eyes to travel up and to the right—then the Okra pieces are varied so that your eye travels around—the uncut Okra sweeps up to the right but the wood grain at top left pulls you back. If all your elements are going in the same direction the eye does not want to stay on the image. And—BTW This was Read On »

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This is the final version of this photograph of lemon confit I did recently. It was lit with strobe lights, camera on tripod with a long shutter speed (1.5 sec.) to get the evening light outside the window. It’s been cropped and corrected in Photo Elements, which I will discuss next, but here is the lighting set-up: This photo was taken with my point and shoot with the strobe modeling lights left on so that I could show how the lights effected the subject. When I took the photo, I turned off the strobe modeling and room lights so that the only available light was the evening light out the window. The final photo I chose has a fill card in front to the right, but not too close, I like the contrast of the Read On »

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