Hmm. Maybe I should downgrade my stats from "modest" to "pathetic." This is what I use. And yes, that's my messy kitchen in the background. Just showing you reality folks! There's harsh overhead florescent lighting at night and little natural light during daytime.
I was amused when I noticed that someone had searched to see what type of camera I use. My photos are adequate for food blogging, but any nice photos were shot purely by accident. I can't afford a nice camera, don't understand what aperture and F stops are, and am much more concerned about improving my writing than my photography.
So if you want real advice about photography, I defer to:
Bee and Jai of Jugalbandi's Do-It-Yourself Tabletop Lighting System
Digital Photography School's How to Make an Inexpensive Light Tent
Kitchen Wench's Basic Photography Tips for P&S Cameras
Pioneer Woman's Photography (For Photoshop tips.)
Steamy Kitchen's Lowel EGO Lights for Food Photography
Vegan Yum Yum's Food Photography for Bloggers
And for food porn, well, there's just way too many blogs to list.
So this section of "How to Start a Food Blog" isn't about how to take photos, which can be a good or bad thing depending on how you look at it. It just means you don't need a fancy camera to start, or have, a somewhat successful food blog. It just backs up my first point, that content matters, whether that content is the writing or the photography.
Litsa's Kitchen said in my previous post that my dishes look real and homecooked, that people wouldn't get frightened from looking at too unrealistic photos. Instead, she just gets the urge to cook. Hey, thanks Litsa, you get it! ;)
But seriously, my feelings about my photography for this blog are that the photos give an accurate example of what the dish should look like, whether it's created at home or in the restaurant. The photography serves to complement the writing. With some blogs, it's the other way around.
I use a Canon SD1000 and prior to that, a Canon SD110. While not every photo comes out perfect, there are a few things I learned to do with my point-and-shoot camera. Turn off the flash. It makes food look flat. Natural lighting is best, but if you don't have it, try and increase the ISO on your camera to let in more light. If you don't know what that means, read your camera's manual. A higher ISO adds graininess to the photo, but sometimes that can't be avoided because the alternative is a photo that's simply too dark. And lastly, turn on the macro function. That's the little flower symbol on a Canon. That's it for my photo tips. I have no fancy tricks. I just take lots of photos and occasionally get a few usable ones.
I'm not sure about other services, but Blogger limits free photo storage to 1024 MB. With my penchant for step-by-step large photos, that meant in about one year of active blogging, I was nearing my limit and debated whether to pay for extra storage. Then I started playing around with Flickr in order to watermark my photos. That turned out to be a great thing as the bigger and better photos you've seen since March are a result of that.
I use Flickr so I can't speak about other websites. Those of you who use other photo services, please chime in with advice about what you like or don't like about what you use.
So why Flickr? I already had an account with Yahoo photos. When they closed down, everything was automatically transferred over. Flickr's editing tool made it quick and easy to watermark my photos. I tried doing that with Photoshop but all the "layers" thing just confused me. Mainly, it's because Flickr makes me a better photographer. I couldn't find the original article, but a while back when I had difficulty uploading images to BiggestMenu, one of its creators BuddyDVD, sent me a link about how Flickr automatically sharpens images when I upload them. So the result is actually better than what came from my camera.
Here's what I mean. This is the original photo uploaded to Blogger in size large. Perfectly adequate for my purposes.
This is the same photo untouched, except for adding a watermark, but uploaded on Flickr in size medium. Sharper, brighter, and larger. A better image yes?
Also, the watermark helps deter content thieves. Or at the least, when people steal my photos, they'd have to go to the trouble of cutting out the watermark. And for people who cut and paste my photos and republish it on their blogs, the watermark means that someone stumbling upon it will at least know where to find the original source.
Another benefit is that using Flickr means the photos don't eat up my Blogger storage space. It's super-easy to figure out, but if there's enough interest in a specific tutorial, I can do a separate post. Flickr gives you an HTML code, which you paste into "Edit HTML" format and that's it. A free account gives you 100 MB of space to upload each month. You also have access to making mosaics like what I did with my "100 Vietnamese Foods to Try" post using Flickr tools by Big Huge Labs, created by John Watson of Flagrant Disregard.
Blogging is a great way to record and share what I make and eat, but I'm not going to take 100 photos and let my food get cold before I eat it. I'm not going to wait until the right time of day to cook so I can get the right lighting. Some bloggers do, and they've got gorgeous photos to show for it. That's just not me.
How about you? What camera do you use? Where are your photos stored? Do you use any photoshopping tools? How do you feel about watermarking photos? Any other advice about photos to fill out my woefully inadequate suggestions?
- How to Start a Food Blog
- On Blogging and Food Blogging
- Choosing a Blog Host
- Picking a Name: Be Clever, Original, and Memorable
- Posting: Frequency, Topics, and Accuracy
- Giving Credit: The Right Way to Link, Copyright, and "By," "Inspired," and "Adapted"
- Your Online Identity: Blogging Interactions and Comment Policies
- Photos: Photography Tips, Storage, and Watermarking
- Design: Layout, Navigation, and "Above the Fold"
- Blogrolling: Will You Be My Friend?
- Building Traffic: Participate in the Community and Respond to Your Stats
- Measuring Success: Cheerleader or Nerd?
- Public Relations: Handling the Freebies and the People
- Monetizing Your Hobby: To Ad or Not to Ad
- Bottomline: Have Fun, but Protect Your Work
1 year ago today, Ravioli with Basil, Squash Blossoms, and Ricotta.