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Food Photography - Learning Through Experience 3

Today we have a beautiful guest Lubna Karim from YummyFood with us who is sharing her food blogging journey with amazing photographs. I came to know her last year through one of her events, Joys From Fasting to Feasting where she had invited me for the guest post.
 Though we didn't start off well at first and still whenever we chat , it starts of with an argument hehe. But I have an utmost respect of her and her work. Her blog  describes  each phase of life, her happiness, sadness, difficulties, her turmoil & most importantly her passionate nature in the ways she deals with each part of her life with full commitment.  She is a gifted writer with an amazing talent of food photography and styling. Today Lubna is sharing  with us all her knowledge about food photography along with some tips to better blogging. Over to you Lubna.

Salam and Hello….Warm welcome to all the wonderful readers of Gheza-e-Shiriin. It’s been my immense pleasure to write a post for you all. Hope you enjoying reading this post. This post is all about my food blogging journey. Try to read each and every point carefully. ‘Experiment’ is the only term which I can suggest to you all when it is the matter of food photography. In food blogging, the most important two things apart from a good recipe and recipe writing style are, ‘Food Photography’ and ‘Food Styling’.
Lets first start with Food Photography……
A lot more people ask me, how to improve food photography skills? Is it all about camera…??...Thus ‘Black Beauty’, a DSLR….help in taking good pictures??? These are some regular queries asked by many…My simple answer is ‘know your camera’. Even a basic camera can do magic. Read the manual which comes with camera carefully. Check out online what else is available regarding your camera. Read it. The more you know about your camera, the better. Experiment in all the modes available along with all the features.
Natural sunlight is best of all. You might have read this zillion times…but one thing I have observed over the period of time is ‘Knowing Light’. Initially I use to take my food to living room or to front door or to terrace sometimes…just to get fresh natural light. Early morning light is different from evening 4pm light. The intensity of light is more during afternoons, which may give hard shadow to a picture.

One more thing which I have observed is, light coming from a particular direction. Say in the below picture the light is coming from right side window, which is North…not much change in light from 11 a.m. -3 p.m.

But in the picture below the light is coming from same right side but from east. The light tends to fade from 11 a.m. – 3 p.m.

The below picture is clicked in bright day light where the light is coming from top. No reflector is used.

In the picture below the light is coming from all the sides and I clicked it around 9.30 a.m., where the intensity of light is not more.

Natural light depends on lot more factors like, Weather, Country, Season, Building Floor, Size of light, Time of the day, etc.,

Showing mood of the food is one more aspect in food photography. Say in the picture below, I wanted to show wintry morning light in my soup…to go with post, weather and season…..

Nothing can be comforting than chilled lassi on a bright summer day….so I clicked this picture in the summer afternoon light…

If the recipe is for any occasion or festival give it the mood needed….The picture below is of cake which I made for my blog’s fifth anniversary…a candle and ribbon says it all….

I clicked this picture of Lukhmi during last Ramadan, and I need to show it…so the styling was done in such a way that you can know, it’s a festive food.

The key to good food photography is to learn how to diffuse and reflect (natural) light.
DIFFUSING LIGHT: Direct light or harsh natural light or abundant light can create harsh shadows or washed out bright spots in photos. This can be easily be handled by keeping a thin white sheer between the subject and light source. For example, a white cotton lining cloth will ease your work. This technique of using a sheer white cloth is called diffusing light. You can even check online for diffusers.
This can also be called as bouncing light. Using reflector you can bounce the light to spread evenly and you can even control shadows of the subject. You can see in the picture below my darling Lil’M is holding foam board for me. You can color foam boards to get different shades in a picture. Sometimes a thin sheet of aluminium foil can also be used as reflector.

Apart from these, there is side light, front light and back light. Take these pictures for example; I have shot these in three different lights…check out….

Hope by now you would have understood the light play….Experiment to experience the nature’s wonderful light play in your pictures.
Styling of food is to bring out best of any recipe. They say a man first eats with his eyes…so this implies to our food blogging too…Whenever anyone enters our blog, appealing picture of a recipe is more important. They are different recipes…recipes for every reason and every season….call it party food, wedding food, comfort food, routine food, kids special, breakfast, lunch box, romantic dinner recipes, drinks, summer recipes, winter recipes, even rainy day recipes….
With styling and plating you can bring out that season and reason of cooking of particular recipe. Some of the pictures below are quite an example for food styling depending on the concept of the food,

It is whole a concept in itself. Keeping the length of the post in mind…I am restricting this to talk about this in future if possible…White props are best for food photography. There is no limit for this…Keep your eyes open for props wherever you go…The best props which are always handy and I use more often are under Rs.50/-. I won’t pick up anything which is expensive and I am not comfortable clicking using it. Sometimes a picture doesn’t call for many props. A simple styling or no prop pictures can also be eye candy…These are some examples.

A simple fresh garnish can also do magic to the pictures…Check below.

Human touch in food pictures can give life to picture. Check this shot.

A clean neat layout with appealing header for a blog can also be a major factor when you are food blogging. Array of recipes with pictures if displayed in the side bar can enhance the look of the blog.
That’s all for now. If you are looking out to learn more on this subject, then the series on Food Photography & Styling on my blog from esteemed food bloggers has lot to say on this. Do check out. My pinterest boards on Food Photography & Styling and Low Light Food Photography help you learn more.

Hope you have wonderful time reading this post and hope this post of use to you. Thank you Huma for giving me this wonderful opportunity to write on a subject which is my favourite but never dared to write on it.

Thanks Lubna for giving my readers this amazing detailed  post & we hope this will definitely help us to take much better photographs. As I always believe there's a never fullstop at learning, this series will continue with more bloggers and we will  Learn Through Their Experiences.
Till then Byeee and do put in your thoughts about this post and questions if any.

For the previous series of Food Photography - Learning through Experience
  1. Rekha from Foodilicious Pictured share her experience on photography on different backgrounds.
  2. Kamalika C from  Silencesing shares her journey from point to shoot camera to DSLR along with some editing tips.

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