Food bloggers, challenge yourself: Shake things up with your photography and do something different for a change!
Do you know Georganne from LilaLola? She makes amazing decorated cookies! Over on her blog she freely shares her talent and tips & tricks.
This year she is posting monthly challenges for her readers. Now, I don’t really do any cookie decorating these days but the March challenge can be applied to pretty much any food blogger and photographer.
This month Georganne encouraged everyone to change things up with their photography. Nothing specific; just challenge yourself and do something out of your normal routine.
For me, photography is a challenging part of blogging every month. So far I am still using a point & shoot camera but I have learnt so much in the last 6 months. After reading Tasty Food Photography, a very helpful guide by Lindsay from Pinch of Yum, I ditched the auto mode and got to know the manual settings of my camera. I even learnt how to use Photoshop for my editing!
I know and realize that many of you are much more advanced in your food photography journey but please bear with me in this post.
Thinking about Georgeanne’s challenge and wondering what I could do different with my food photography this month, I realized that I actually (have to) change things up on a regular basis. In our current traveling lifestyle, we move to different places every few months.
With our minimalist approach to life and travel, I don’t have an arsenal of props or backdrops, instead I use ‘natural setups’. So changing accommodations also means my setups are changing every time.
This frequent change can be challenging but it also keeps things interesting. Our previous place had large windows and glass doors - letting in plenty of natural lighting almost all day long. My pictures from that time mostly reflect that bright atmosphere.
Our current apartment in Vietnam is much more constraint on natural light but so far I have discovered 3 great ‘natural photography setups’ here. I call them the warm, the cool and the moody.
Remember the Chocolate PB Banana Bites?
I photographed them in the entrance way leading to our place. The structure of the natural stone tiles lends subtle character and I like how the warm, earthy color tone complements the peanut butter color.
This second setup is also located outside. Can you see where I took the pictures of these peanut butter bars?
This ‘backdrop’ is part of the metal fire escape stairs. The current gray color creates a cooler mood than the stone tiles. The paint is chipped and showing at least 2 other previous colors. A naturally ‘distressed look’.
When I take pictures here, the kids from the day care in the neighbouring building can see me through their window. They must be so confused, wondering what this weird white lady is doing crawling on the ground with dessert and a camera 😀
And now, last but by far not least…. my most favourite but also most challenging setup:
This is the desk in our place. Isn’t it a beauty? I was so excited when I spotted it as we were viewing the apartment. For me this desk was reason enough to take the place. Luckily, everything else worked out well too 😉
It is this rustic, distressed desk that caused me to try dark & moody food photos for the first time.
Unfortunately, the top has been refurbished with newer, lighter wood and there is no natural light coming in from the right, where the cabinet is. In its actual position there just isn’t enough light. I have to crank up the exposure so high that the images get this grainy look (at least with my camera) which you can probably see in above pictures.
So in order to use this desk as backdrop I have to beg my husband every time to help me move it about 90 degrees. (It’s a heavy desk but sweet treats make for great bribes). Once moved there is this ‘grazing’ natural light coming in through the opened front door – not too much that it would take away from the dark & moody feel, but just enough to make decent photos possible.
Well, this sums up my food photography change up.
Do you regularly change up your photography? If not, how could you switch things up a bit?
A different setup?
Going outside maybe?
Using props or no props?
Adding text to your images?
Whatever you do, just try something different 🙂
Even if I couldn’t offer advice to the advanced photographers among you, maybe I can at least pass on this challenge and get you thinking in a new direction.
As always, I would love to hear your thoughts!
Food Photography Bali
As an entrepreneur in the food industry, food photography is very important to increase consumer interest in buying your product.
Jennifer @ Leelalicious
I completely agree! Thank you for commenting, Food Photography Bali!
thanks for sharing your photography tips. this is something i still have to work on. i don't think i'm creative in that way, but i do appreciate others' photography!
I hear you, Dina! I think there is always something new to learn with photography. It can be overwhelming at times, especially for food bloggers like us whose actual passion lie with food and recipes. But I guess since we can't hand out bite-sized taste teasers through a website, its the pictures that have to 'sell' the food 😉
Joanna @ Chic & Gorgeous Treats
Those are a great idea and thanks for coming over to my blog too. Do stay in touch and I am off to explore your posts. Have a great week! Cheers, Jo
Thanks so much Jo. Thank you for visiting as well 🙂
You've definitely given me food for thought! I usually pride myself on thinking out of the box, but can see that I need to do more of that with my food photos. Thanks for the ideas. BTW, love all three settings you came up with--the cool, the warm and the moody.
Thank you Kathleen! I can see from the posts on your blog that you definitely are a very creative mind 🙂
Jocelyn @BruCrew Life
What a fun post! I tend to photograph my stuff all the same, although I do change my props and sometimes the background. I need to look around my house for other things I can use!!
Thank you Jocelyn! I love your nicely propped setups. If I get the opportunity to do more set ups with props, I will definitely look at your pictures for inspiration.
Loved this post. Came here via thebakedequation on instagram 🙂 apart from changing things up, it can be challenging for newcomers to food photography to learn how to do setups, so it's always interesting to see how other blogs work! As a newcomer myself I've only just learnt about exposure and aperture so think my photography for the next few months is going to be v experimental! Thank you for sharing such wonderful ideas!
Nabeela, thank you so much for coming here 🙂 The blogging world can be so wonderful with people sharing and inspiring each other along the way. I wish you all the best for your creative journey. Do you have a website as well or are you learning for other purposes? Do let me know if you have a site, I would love to check it out 😀
Thank you for your reply 🙂 ah yes of course, how could I forget! - my website is beelabakes.blogspot.com.
Ahh...awesome! Will head right on over there 😉
Jacquee @ I Sugar Coat It!
LOVE the moody set up, but also love the cool set up - very urban looking. Really enjoyed your post!
Thank you Jacquee! I wish I had a better camera or more skills to make the 'urban look' pop more. But I'll keep playing around with it.
amy @ fearless homemaker
I love this! I tend to get stuck in a rut, photographing all my photos in the exact same way. I really must mix it up more - thanks for the inspiration!
I am happy I could give you some inspiration Amy 🙂
I only have two hour window a day for great light where I shoot. I have been tempted to go outside for shooting. Great last photo!
Thank you so much Tess! I hope you do try going outside. I know for me it added a lot more 'photographable' hours to my day and thereby gives more flexibility.
Ok so I am so in love with the "moody" setup. I am going to move my chairs up against some of our cool furniture. What a great idea?? Thank you so much for sharing your set up. I have just started to try adding text to my images.
I am so glad to have you here Melissa, since your post was part of the inspiration for this. Happy to hear I could give you an idea with the 'furniture+chair set up' 😀
sally @ sallys baking addiction
You're getting me more excited (and less scared) of my big move in a few weeks. I few my new apartment won't have the best lighting or the set up will be hard to work with for my photography. But change is good! I love the "moody" look of your photos lately!
Yes, change it good! I can be challenging but it us grows us. Looking forward to seeing your creations from your new place 🙂