We supercharged the start of our 2019 with January's Women Who Really Cook workshop meeting!
On a still & chilly evening of January 23rd out in New Brighton, we walked into Dennis Becker's warm and well-lit photography studio for a Photography and Styling Workshop hosted by food photography stylist & WWRC member Lisa Golden Schroeder. Along with Photographer Dennis Becker, Lisa shared with and showed WWRC members how to compose and style great photographs at a variety of photo-shooting stations.
We all had a chance to try taking photos in this commercial food photography studio as well. So, bring a camera of any kind and your product (if you have one).
Lighting, reflection, props, shadows, angles, textures, shapes, and so much more were covered during our evening's guided tutorial!
For those interested in learning more from these industry experts, you can contact our host, Lisa Golden Schroeder's for more information:
Phone #: 651-491-7442
ALSO, a VERY SPECIAL thanks to Anne Andrus, owner of Honey and Rye, and her employee/guest, Kate Hovde Sharp, assisting her with the delicious assortment of goodies!
PHOTOGRAPHY TIPS FROM LISA & DENNIS:
Top Tips from Lisa...
• Always have a camera with you. I (Lisa) do own a very nice camera that can do all sorts of cool things—much of which mystifies me. But I do not always carry this camera with me. So once I started using my phone camera I found I could shoot all sorts of stuff I wanted to post and share. Ask any photographer what her favorite camera is, and she’ll tell you it’s the one she has with her!
• Turn off the flash. I learned years ago from a wonderful food photographer that if I’m using a point-and-shoot camera (i.e. my phone), it’s important to turn off the flash. Make the most of whatever light is available and resist that burst of immediate light. A flash tends to flatten everything out, bathing your subject in an even and generally unflattering light.
• Keep your hands steady. In low-light conditions even the slightest movement can throw off your focus. Brace your elbows against the table or counter to keep the camera steady. Or, I’ve seen friends use a water glass, if we’re in a restaurant, as an impromptu tripod.
• Shoot food as it’s being prepared. I frequently find that the best point, or the most interesting details, in a food’s life is during the cooking process. Don’t get hung up on capturing the perfect plated shot. I’ve shot a roasting chicken while it was still in the oven!
• Clean up a bit. Wipe glasses and plate edges, removing smudges and greasy fingerprints. In good light, they really stand out.
• Work quickly. This is my best advice as a food stylist. I find that most dishes, whether in the process of cooking or plated at the table, are beautiful with little fussing. If you spend too much time setting up your shot, the less fresh the food will look. If you want a finished shot, take some time plating the recipe; carefully look at how the food works together in an artful and appetizing way. Just don’t take too long.
• Get in close. Make the food your hero. If you shoot too wide, pulling in too much visual noise, a viewer won’t know what to look at. Find what pros call a “focal point”—what you want people to look at. If you use a camera’s macro setting you can bring parts of a shot into sharp focus and allow the background to go into soft focus, or what’s called a shallow depth of field.
• Shoot a lot. Photos may look good on your camera’s tiny screen, but I’m often surprised when I see them larger on my computer. Focus can be way off, or the light may be too bright or too dark. So I click away when I find a subject I like—just don’t share them all on Instagram. Move around to find the best camera angle and learn to edit your work—creative cropping can also make a huge difference. Just remember that the single eye of the camera sees differently than your two eyes.
• Filter for effect. I do like to play with filters that are available with photo apps or in Instagram—playing with color density or creating a vintage look can be fun if used judiciously.
Top Tips from Dennis...
• Keep compositions simple.
• Look at food photography you like and try to emulate it. It’s a great way to learn lighting.
• When using a window to light your food, position your subject with the window 3⁄4 from its back and side.
• Use a white card to bounce a little light back into your subject if needed.
• When using window light make sure no direct sun is coming in. Sometimes you can use sheer curtain fabric in front of the window to soften or diffuse the light.
• Use plates that blend into background, making your food the star of the show, not the plate.
• Shooting at a wide-open aperture will make your photo less busy and makes your food the focal point.
• Experiment with different camera angles. Not all food looks good overhead or at extreme low angles—find the most appetizing viewpoint or the angle that gives the most information.
• Design 101: don’t put square bars or brownies on square plates and don’t put cookies on round plates. Consider contrast in shapes & texture.
• Try to compose in odd numbers. Three elements are much easier to compose than four.
If you want to hire a professional photographer, look at their work! You want to collaborate with someone whose work you admire. An experienced commercial photographer will talk to you about your marketing objectives and who your target audience is, so the photos you create together will tell the right story. This is more than just creating pretty pictures.
When asking for a bid or project estimate, share as much information as you can with the photographer and know that every bid is negotiable. If you have a specific budget (or amount you can afford to spend) share that up front; it will save a lot of time for both you and the photographer.
Lisa, our host, along with Dennis, at his photography studio!
One of Lisa & Dennis' most recent photography projects!
Thank you Honey and Rye! Your goodies were amazing...thank you for your generosity, Anne!