Photography

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When I started this blog, it was a way for me to document my personal growth as I taught myself how to cook and bake. As I became more involved, however, I began to discover my love of photography in the process. My original posts were horrible, but I leave them up there to remind myself how far I've come since August, 2011.

To go from this: 

To this:

took a lot of hard work and practice. I had substantial help in the beginning from Ken, but over time I began to pick up my camera and compose my own shots. I have a long way to go, but I am enjoying learning as I go.

Camera:

The only picture of me holding the camera that I currently have

Though I originally used my Canon Powershot point and shoot camera, I misplaced that right before my big trip to Disney World and replaced it with a Nikon D3000 SLR with an 18-55mm (3x zoom) NIKKOR lens.

Update: I have now purchased a macro lens!!! So I now have a Tamron SP AP 60mm lens, and so far I love it. It's allowing me to do so much more with my shots.

I noticed a drastic improvement in the quality of my photos just by using the auto mode and changing the F-stop, and that was fine for several months. But more recently I started itching to push myself further, and have begun to teach myself about food styling, lighting, composition, and how to use the settings on my expensive camera to get the pictures I want.

Food styling:

For anyone interested in food styling, I would highly recommend the book Plate to Pixel, by Helene Dujardin. I devoured it, and have started to think about my shots, the composition, and the props I will use before I even start cooking.

I scrounge for props everywhere I go, but my favorite places have been Christmas Tree Shops, Target, Wegmans, and garage sales. I've put a lot of money into purchasing table settings, place mats, bowls, glasses...etc. I'm hoping to expand my collection to add variety and complexity to my photos.

Since taking this picture my blogging wall has doubled in size, along with all of my purchases. It's sort of an addiction...

As my props have begun accumulating, I dedicated a modular storage unit in my dining room to organizing and displaying them. This way all of my blog stuff is in one place, and I don't have to hunt for each item I want to use.

Lighting:

I currently live at home with my mother, while I work to pay off loans and save money for graduate school. The kitchen is roomy enough for my various culinary exploits, but there is a large issue with the natural light.

Mainly, my house is flocked by 5 gigantic maple trees. They keep our house nice and cool in the summer, cause our grass to grow in patches, and make raking in the fall a nightmare.

They also prevent most of the natural light from entering my house. What light does reach the windows comes in as dappled, and while it's a pretty, ethereal effect, it does not make for nice photography.

In the past I've attempted to combat this by shooting in my kitchen, using two fold-up Ottlight lamps t0 illuminate my scene.

Again, I saw a marked difference when I began to use them, but I still hungered for more versatility. I now use a light box set up on my dining room table with more directional lighting, adding the ottlights in a pinch if it's still too dark.

I have even started lugging the light box into my backyard to make use of the afternoon sunlight that is not obstructed by the trees.

I mostly shoot using a tripod so that I can utilize the settings on my camera that allow me to shoot in lower light situations, and I have begun editing my photos using Adobe Lightroom 4 (I used to use iPhoto).

If you have any comments or questions about my photography methods, suggestions for how to improve my photos, or even recommended books or websites to check out, let me know! 

 

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2 thoughts on “Photography

  1. Pingback:

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  2. Zainab @ Blahnik Baker

    It’s amazing to see your progress!! You have great skills. I just bought that book and I am learning a lot already. Unfortunately, I still have a canon power shoot and until I can upgrade, I’ve been playing around with my scene. I love shopping for props and may have a problem in storage! Thanks for sharing your tips and advice with those of us starting out.

    Reply

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