One of my favorite things about blogging is being able to tell a story through photos. Without your readers in the kitchen with you, it can be challenging to figure out a way for them to still feel connected to you even when they are across the world. Being self-taught in photography, I’ve never really had someone sit down and tell me the “do’s and don’ts” of photography. But throughout the years, I have found that simple changes to my mental approach while shooting has helped my photos progress. I’m a firm believer that you can learn all the tips & tricks in the world, but if you aren’t willing to adapt when things aren’t going the way you want them to, then it will be hard to propel yourself (and your skills!) forward. So today, I’m going to share a look into my thinking processes while shooting, to give you a little insight into how I approach a photoshoot.
Experiment with Angles
The great thing about having a adjustable tripod is that you can really zone in on the area you want to focus. Want to get a overhead shot of the fancy decorations on top of a cake? Use the extension arm to get a steady shot from above. Want to focus on the texture of the inside of a muffin? Adjust your tripod to table height and get up close and personal to really show your readers all the details. One thing that helped me when I first started taking blog photos is to really think about what it is about that particular food that is special. What is it you want to highlight? Analyzing its “best features” can help you determine what angle to shoot with.
Pay Attention to Tangents
I first learned about tangents in a drawing class in college and if you’re not familiar with them, it is essentially just paying attention to the spacing between objects. Most often tangents can be found on the edges of a photo, where the edge of a bowl may be cutting off at an awkward spot. Or where two items are too close together, causing them to compete with each other. Tangents can offset the natural feel of a photo and should be considered when styling images. The more you shoot, the more you will naturally adjust things like this while shooting. For example, if I were to reshoot the photo below, I would either remove that coffee cup completely or scoot it in more toward the center so that more of it was showing. But in its current placement, it only distracts from the fluidity of the photo and because it is unrecognizable, it could have been removed.
Use Props to Tell A Story
When it comes to photography, I would consider myself more of a minimalist. I love using colorful props in my photos, but I also try to consider their “place” in the story when choosing them. When choosing props, I think its important to ask yourself if the props are contributing to the story or are they distracting from it? Let’s pretend you are shooting a tray of fresh baked cookies. In the final shots, you may try placing a glass of milk or a spatula. But would it make sense to place a measuring spoon or cup of flour next to the finished cookies? Probably not because those things tell part of the earlier story of when you were first mixing the dough. Things like measuring spoons or eggs may work well for process photos (showing them how to mix, etc.), but they don’t always make sense for finished shots. (Unless you serve raw eggs with your cookies!) The photo below shows mega-sized cookies, so I wanted to show their scale by comparing the cookies to my hand, as well as a ruler. Most food photographers will say not to use hands as props, but in this instance, I thought this would be fun to show just how big they were.
All these tips aside, the great thing about photography is that you are the boss! Tips and tricks you read are great, but ultimately it is up to you to decide what feels natural to you. If you’re shooting for personal projects, you are in charge. Have fun with it, aspire to be original, and before you know it, you will have developed a aesthetic that is a reflection of you!
Hey there! I’m Melissa – a US-based web/blog designer, entertainment stylist, and blogger at www.designeatrepeat. I love baking, crafting, and obsessing over my sprinkle collection. Find me on Instagram at @designeatrepeat and say hi!
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