January 19, 2015 - Fundamentals & Equipment

by Francine Way


Today we will explore a new book titled "Food Photography" by Nicole S. Young. I selected this book for several reasons: it received a decent rating in Amazon, it is easy to understand, and it has a project for every chapter to reinforce the concepts covered. 

Chapter 1 intends to educate its readers on photography fundamentals, like aperture, shutter speed, and white balance. A project on page 21 drives home the author's points on white balance (WB), camera modes (Daylight, Shade / Cloudy, Tungsten, Aperture & Shutter Priorities, etc.), and ISO. Below are the pictures I took to complete the project:

WB - incandescent

WB - incandescent

WB - flash

WB - flash

WB - fluorescent

WB - fluorescent

WB - cloudy

WB - cloudy

WB - daylight

WB - daylight

WB - Auto

WB - Auto

WB - shade

WB - shade

Comparing the color differences, incandescent and fluorescent produce interesting shades of blue and purple respectively. Though I can see how these shades might be useful in outdoors setting such as sunsets, they don't produce appealing food photos. The daylight setting produces dark indoor picture in our case (I used a soft diffused light for this session) and the flash setting casts a bright light around the oranges & truffles, effectively flattening all of the subjects. The cloudy setting is a tad darker than the shade setting. The shade setting is my favorite amongst these photos as it lents a warm tone to the subjects. 

Mode: Aperture Priority (widest)

Mode: Aperture Priority (widest)

Mode: Aperture Priority (narrowest)

Mode: Aperture Priority (narrowest)

Mode: Shutter Priority (fastest)

Mode: Shutter Priority (fastest)

Mode: Shutter Priority (slowest)

Mode: Shutter Priority (slowest)

Mode: Manual

Mode: Manual

Comparing the images, the widest aperture priority photograph is better than the narrowest. All things being equal, the narrowest setting produces a darker tone for the photo. The fastest shutter priority picture is better than the slowest one due to the less time needed to take the picture (less shake & noise possibilities). Amongst these pictures, I think the aperture priority set to the widest possible f-stop is the best. 

ISO: 100

ISO: 100

ISO: 1600

ISO: 1600

Comparing the images, the ISO 100 picture is definitely better than the ISO 1600 picture (less noise). 

Chapter 2 intends to educate its readers on photography equipment, specifically the use of camera, lenses, tripods, reflectors, etc. to optimize the quality of light for the photograph. On page 43, a project is laid out to drive home the differences between point & shoot (P&S) and SLR cameras and the different lenses covered in the chapter. Below are the pictures I took to complete the project:

P&S

P&S

SLR

SLR

Comparing the photographs, as we can see above, the SLR picture is more flattering to the subjects than the P&S. Not only the color cast is better, the SLR doesn't flatten the subject as much as the P&S texture as much. 

Regular Lens

Regular Lens

Macro Lens

Macro Lens

Comparing the photographs, it is obvious that the macro lens takes better close-up pictures. 

That is all for today. Tomorrow, we will explore the next two chapters of this book.