If anyone had told me 10 years ago that I’d become an avid, and published no less, photographer, I’d have collapsed in a laughing fit.
However, I have become one. It’s amazing what you can do with a decent camera and a little knowledge of elementary physics…namely light and optics. And that is exactly why I love it because it merges my artistic side with my scientific side. Much of my work is assigned under license to various businesses.
My equipment consists of a Canon 6D full-frame camera, 50 & 100 mm prime lenses and a 24-105mm telephoto. I use a Manfrotto tripod and a Sunpak Pistol Grip tripod–the Sunpak being used for my mono arm for overhead shots. My lighting consists of softboxes and assorted lighting arrays. I don’t shoot much in natural light because my house is surrounded by trees so I do not get good light from any window. My backdrops are from Swanky Prints. I edit with Adobe Photoshop Creative Suite.
I always advise investing in GOOD equipment. Your photos are your “sell.” Food is a visual medium so it’s important to take the best photos you possibly can. Photos taken with tablets and phones, while they may be OK to show family and friends what you cooked, are not capable of producing professional-level shots. Do you need a full-frame DSLR? While I recommend it, it’s not necessary. I shot for years with a crop-sensor DSLR and took some of my best photos. A crop-sensor body and a 50mm prime lens will cost you between $200-$400 and that’s not unreasonable. Consider it an investment in you and your site.
Apart from minor exceptions that are noted, all food and photos that appear on this blog are prepared, styled and photographed by me. The food is 100% edible too–no Elmer’s Glue-All standing in for milk here!
A Sample of My Work
This would not have been possible without the help of Lindsay, from “Pinch of Yum’s” wonderful e-book on photography. If you want a copy, and I highly recommend it, just click on the picture link for her book directly below
I will also, if time permits, give private lessons to improve your food photography. First I suggest getting Lindsay’s book for the basics. I will pick up from there with topics such as getting out of “auto” modes and really seeing what your DSLR will do, more intensive editing techniques, lighting and of course how to get your photos accepted on “food porn” sites.
Just a final note–my work is copyrighted. It is registered by block copyright in the US Library of Congress (the real deal), so ownership is easily proven. I also subscribe to Digimarc (digitally embeds a watermark in each photo) copyright protection service which will track the use (and subsequent misuse) of my photos, so cropping off my text watermark doesn’t do any good, since the digital one remains embedded. Also, every photo is a crop–meaning there’s something missing.
I have the unaltered digital negative which is irrefutable proof of copyright ownership. Since my work is also timely copyrighted with the US Library of Congress, unauthorized use is subject to statutory damages of up to $150,000. Plus I can recover attorney fees. More can be read about unauthorized use here. It’s easier to just not do it or ask for written permission. Unfortunately, internet thievery of images, often used for profit, is a reality. I really wish I didn’t have to do this, but I do.