Today I’ll be sharing part 2 in the “How to Take Better Food Pictures” series my friend Ben is writing for me. He’s starting basic and working up towards more advanced!
In case you missed part 1, check that out first: How to Take Better Food Pictures. Enjoy!
How to Take Better Pictures of Your Food
Part 2: Stabilize Your Shot!
by: Ben Powell
Hey everyone, I’m back with another food photography tip! We’re still starting with some real basic concepts but I’m sure this is something even you DSLR users either forget about, or don’t go through the trouble to do. But it’s super important! So without any further delay, here is food photo tip #2: Stabilize Your Shot!
Last time we talked about how you should get rid of the flash so your food doesn’t look so washed out and how natural light is really the best thing for your food to look good. But what happens when it’s night time? Or you just don’t have a good source of natural light? You may notice that when you take pictures of your food without flash sometimes, the colors may look better but the picture comes out so blurry! Check out these shots:
Ewww. Blurry! What are we even looking at? Doesn’t make it look very appetizing. The reason our cameras are doing this is because it’s too dim in the room, so the shutter of the camera (the thing that goes "click") stays open longer to let more light in. But, if your hand is shaking even a tiny bit, the camera is going to record it and it will show up in your photo as motion-blur. No matter how still you think you can hold your hand, we all shake and we can’t do anything about it. A lot of point and shoot cameras will give you a warning if it’s too dark to keep the image sharp.
Taking it handheld?
Better Read the Signs!
Fortunately in the case of food photography, your subject doesn’t move at all (unless you’re being extremely adventurous) so we can simply use a tripod to stabilize our shots! You probably aren’t going to want to lug a big ol’ tripod everywhere you go (although it’s good to have one) but there is a really elegant solution that can be found with GorillaPod. I have a GorillaPod that fits onto my iPhone4 (it comes with a special bumper to secure your iPhone to it) but you can get them to fit any size camera including DSLRs. AND they’re small enough to fit in your bag or purse so you can take it everywhere you might take your camera anyway!
Mini Tripod and GorillaPod
Simple enough, right? Actually, there’s one more precautionary step we’ll need to take, and that’s to make sure we put our cameras on a 2 second timer. That’s because the actual action of pushing the button will cause the camera shake enough to make your picture blurry! Some of you may have already figured out how to put your camera on a timer and thought to yourself: "Why the heck would I ever need a 2 second timer?" Well, mystery solved. You’re welcome.
Timers are always signified by the little clock symbol. They’re in different places on each camera, but here they are on my cameras:
Timer Button on my Canon Powershot
Timer Button on a Canon Rebel t2i
Anti-Shake Button on the ProCamera app
If you combine the use of a tripod with this 2-second-timer technique, your pictures should come out quite nicely. Here are the final results:
Thanks for the great guest post, Ben! I actually just purchased a tripod the other day — even though I do almost all my food photography outdoors (and therefore don’t need to worry much about motion-blur), I found that even if I’m outside, if I’m using my macro lens to take REALLY close shots (like the one at the top of the post) it’s hard to keep still enough without a tripod. I love the 2-second timer tip — I’ll try that next time!
Do you guys have a tripod? Have you ever used the 2-second timer option?
Oh, and while we’re talking about Ben — remember that fun photo shoot I did with him a couple months ago in DC? He sent me the rest of the photos! Here are a few of my favorites :)
Fun, huh? :) Thanks again, Ben!