So, when I started my first project to take photos of different type of food at a local restaurant, I was nervous.
A terrible gut feeling! Trying to keep composed I did set up my camera on a tripod and did my very best to keep composed and setup a table as the photo set where to place the food. The lighting in the room was pretty bad so I grabbed my flash and set it up remotely at a 45-degree angle.
The chef brought me the first plate which I carefully positioned on my set.
I took my first test image and it was kind of OK. It worked! Having the money to go out a buy expensive equipment is great but when you unsure about spending money you cannot afford to lose is hard. But there started and ended my food photography career.
What an up and down! I just don’t seem to have the luck to get that second job and a kickstart to a long career in photography.
I will not give up. I shall persist in my photography even as a hobby! Lol. I love Photography!
This is where I fit in the best.
I love being outdoors and not having to interact with the human race. Its best to leave me alone and get the job done.
This assignment had all the makings of happiness for me. The rate was great. The location was great. The weather was great.
I got my camera equipment ready the previous evening. All the batteries charged and lenses cleaned. I didn’t need too much equipment for this shoot, just my camera, 2 lenses, a few memory cards and a tripod.
In the morning I got up very early, well before sunrise and was on the road in my red golffie. 15 minutes later I was setting up my tripod first the first shot as the sun came over the horizon.
The best time of the day for photography. I nailed it. For over an hour I shot this building from a ‘hundred’ different positions.
All by myself!
We use cameras to capture our images be it film or digital cameras.
This process allows us to see history in a sense and view our pictures whenever we feel the need to see our creations.
In the past this process was burnt onto film and developed. The film was only the transfer mechanism and although it was possible to see the image on film, we still needed one more step. Take the image from the film and projected and enlarged onto paper.
If one developed your own prints, you could manipulate the image with either dodge and burn techniques or with the chemicals used to develop the film onto paper.
But once the image was burnt onto paper there was no turning back that final image. The art was created for the life of that photo.
Today we take photos on digital cameras and the images are stored as files onto silicon chips be it on our phones or computers. These files can be opened at any time and pretty much on any device with a screen.
With the ability of apps, we can adjust the light created and edit the photos into either more attractive and eye-catching images or even into unrealistic and startling images.
Either way the process has been simplified to where anyone can do this.
The life of a photographer has changed; the life of every living person has also changed. And the way we do business will also change.
We are poorer as we surf the net and look at those holiday destinations that are only a picture in a dream for now. Even when the countries open up their borders things will be very different.
Our freedom to travel is shot! Although some will still be able to travel and those with persistence will make their trips and take their cameras, the other group will look on the internet and only dream the day might come. Hope is a powerful word which I don’t think enough emphasis is placed. This 4 letter word has the power to keep us strung along and at the end there is no rainbow. I have lived through good and bad times in various countries and economic woes and one of the reasons I never progressed is HOPE. I used this as my reason for keeping my dreams alive but I have missed the other word ACTION. Action is what I should have done. Nike has it right!
So as a person who always wanted to do photography all I have done by the age of 50 is dream of photographing and freezing the frame.
Hence this blog, where I am feeling a little sorry for myself but we will persist and I will take out my camera whenever I can.
Where will you photos be used. Screen or Print?
If its for property sales consider that the first thumbnail or image to be the exterior of the property. So spend ten times more time on this shot. This will be the hook.
Discuss with the Realtor on the strong points of the home. Is there a view? The next strong photo could be the view from a patio or deck.
The light. Early morning or late afternoon is always best for outside shooting. If you are able to shoot at these times then remember to turn on all the interior and exterior lights.
The camera lens. Shoot straight on and not up or down with wide angle lenses. This will keep distortion to a minimum.
Shoot 2 angles in each room. One straight on and one from the side. This will give the viewer the best picture of the complete room.
Follow a sequence. If the bedroom has an on suite bathroom don't display the 3 bedrooms followed by the two bathrooms.
Leap Year - an extra day to make money or because the 29th of Feb falls on a Saturday maybe you should just party 4 times as hard.
If you are paid monthly and work Mon to Fri then just as well it falls on the weekend. Nothing gained, nothing lost. But one could take advantage of this extra day in the year and book an extra photo gig. It could be a wedding or an event that one has an advantage over others who just wanna be a couch potato. You must have it in you though. To find that inner push. On the other hand if most of your work days do fall on the weekend then not much can be said for any gain. You just won't lose out. If I do take advantage of my couch on Saturday the 29th then do I really lose out on the big bucks?
Somewhere along the line in the text above I did lose my train of thought as it seemed a futile exercise to write about any gain for having an extra day this year. It does still stand as a loss for those that are paid monthly. Simple maths, last year I got paid for 28 days and this year I have to work for 29 days. Lol.
Photographers and editors should stick to what they do best, grab your camera and turn it on! It's the first step.
Do what you love and stop drowning. I hear that it is very hard to find work as a photographer. Millions of people now hold a capable phone camera in their hand. And with the latest releases (09 Mar 2020) from iPhone, Samsung and a host of other brands, the cameras are getting better with the latest phones having up to 4 cameras to switch between wide angle or a zoomed image. Crazy I know! Keep in mind that the sensor sizes are small and with other limitations too. Back to our topic… I'm still knew in this game and yet to do my first paid gig. How I’m hoping this will be soon. So a couple of pointers from other experts. Find your niche of photography. Apparently you have to concentrate all your energy in one field. I prefer to be a Jack of All Trades than a Master of One. Different views for different folks or was that strokes. Never mind we will soon see what’s best for me. Be good at what you do. Practice makes perfect really will set you on the right path. Watching a whole lot of Youtube videos by Peter, Matt or Kelby1 helps but you must get out your gear and shoot. Go out into the open and shoot everything from the butterfly to the tallest building in your city from sunrise to sunset. And when you cannot go outside (Corona Virus) nothing says more than staying indoors and using natural light or the light from dad’s torch and snapping a bottle of red wine. Get your name out there is probably the hardest on this list. Create a website, place Google ads, knock on doors, work with other photographers, send out emails. Ahhh make a list just like this! Target each genre like real estate, sports or portrait photography. Screw that niche. Get whatever gig pays the bills. Oh yes, charge! Sometimes doing a gig for free will help get photos into your portfolio which is needed when sitting with a bride to be and she wants to see your work. So don’t undervalue yourself. If you too expensive you will frighten the living daylights or to cheap might say I am not a good photographer. Shop around to see what other photographers are charging in your area. Keep on top of your game from answering your emails in time and professionally to keep up with the latest technology and equipment and even the software. This is a fast paced world. Finally, go out and look for work! This is like any other business, open your doors and let people know you are in business. Standard marketing 101. I still think it’s the right time to become a pro photographer. Even with millions of competing photographers in this world, there are billions of people with a thirst to find that next viral photo. Do it now.
Food Photography is challenging!
It isn't a simple, easy task of placing a plate of food on a board and snapping a photo.
One must first consider which angle would be best for the size and shape of the food. Some dishes look better from the front and some from the top. Will your front shot be straight forward or at a 30 degree angle. A dessert in a glass might have different layers to show off, where a pizza might suit a 45 degree angle or an over head shot. Have in mind which medium the photo will be used and if will be better suited in portrait or landscape mode where even the positioning of text might be a factor in how you take the photo.
The second challenge will be a suitable background and foreground elements. Establish what mood is required from the client like using a dark wood in contrast to using a white and shiny surface. Cutlery and little jars of sauces and oils will add to your story telling.
Thirdly is colour. Your backgrounds and props should add to the feel of the food. Always use colours that amplify such as a black metal tray will enhance red foods. Same is said with white plates which is a first choice for most chefs as most foods look more vibrant on white. Coordinate colours that are complimentary such as colours that are next to each other on the colour wheel. Complementary colours are on the opposite side of the colour wheel and contrast and accentuate each other such as a green salad in a red bowl.
Light is everything. Without light there is no photo. Poor light will not create any interest or mouthwatering temptation. Natural light is great and might need some diffusing so as not to blow out the highlights and soften the shadows. Flash and continuous light means you don't have to rely on the outside weather conditions or time of day. Flash is harder as continuous light is always visible as you make any changes to power or in using cards to reveal details or for more contrast. Tip - props and backgrounds should not be brighter than the main subject as our eyes tender towards the brightest part of the image.
Five is attention to detail with lines and layers. Use your props such as knives and forks to lead the viewers eyes to the subject. Taller props should be behind the main dish and slightly dark. Table clothes can create layers and not only be a flat surface.
The world wide web and through our computer will only deliver to 2 of our senses. Sight and hearing. No wonder that Airbnb insists on pro-photographers take images of listings for their website. Having dull and boring photos just does not appeal to the eye which obvoiusly is more important to hearing any noises of the property. Showcasing a property or house without any appeal or where the lighting is poor will not help in marketing. Whether it is the rent, sell or just feature in a magazine for the best garden in the suburb, one must always make use of a real estate photographer. Setting up and taking a photo can take around 5-10 minutes but one must also consider that it can take up to half an hour to setup, tidy and beautify a room. So the photographer should have an eye for design and further be able to look through an image into the depths of light and result in an image that draws the eye.
In a previous blog I mentioned that the photographer should not only take photographs but also beautify a room. This person must be able to take an untidy room and turn it into attractiveness, to take a boring room and with the eye and camera produce an image that shows appeal and charm. A subtle touch by moving a chair to face or partially face the camera will help a long way from showing a snap shot to a professional exhibiting his or her real estate or interior photography. It isn’t for everyone.
Sitting in front of my computer and thinking up of ideas and words that i can best relate to my clients expectations of getting onto the World Wide Web. Slowly i brain storm what will be the final showing of my clients business into pages of text and images that will hopefully attract clients to become my client. What a world we live in.
Identify your target market for personalised marketing campaigns. Words can be worth a thousand pictures in marketing photography. Build a customer database to keep track. Start an email list to stay in touch with your clients. Create a referral program to get new clients. Word of mouth is the best advertising and is for free. Use Google Business pages to improve your visibility. Use social media to increase your exposure. Establish co-marketing partners. Build a company brand even if you work alone.
It is such a wonderful feeling when i get my gear out. A breath of fresh air to venture outdoors and snap photos of people, views and buildings. Not having to bother with work and to appreciate what we have and what will come our way. Images of beauty. Photos of love. Do what you are passionate for. That that lens and point it to a thing of beauty. Photographers that do what they love. A lucky person!
From the turning on of a camera to turning off my computer. What a world we live in that i can turn on my camera as i find the appropriate framing of a shot through the view finder. In the blink of my eye i press the button and magic happens instantly from the live view through the lens onto the sensor then transformed in digital data and stored onto a device which i then remove and transfer my photographic images on another device embedded in my computer. A little more magic as i open Adobe Photoshop and tranform the colours and shadows as best as my memory can recall through my eyes.