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[personal profile] kronman
A few weeks ago I started a food blog--The Odd Cupful. I've been using it as an outlet to write, share good food, and work on my photography skills.

So far lighting has been my biggest challenge because I take most pictures in the evening after Wesley has fallen asleep. Then, of course, there is the mad rush to take pictures of the plated food before it gets cold. I've learned to speed up the process by having as much ready to go as possible beforehand, but I'm still learning the best angles for different layouts of food.

To give you an idea of how crappy my kitchen lighting is, here are the cinnamon rolls I made the other week. No flash. No light reflecting. The only window in my kitchen is above the sink. This was taken on the counter opposite the sink around 8am.

You can see them, but the rolls are underexposed and the back corner is blown out. At first I thought, "hm, not so bad," but I'm not going for "not so bad" photography. I needed a way to soften the light in my house and better direct it.

Now here are my rolls the following weekend with a "studio" light--aka a 60W lamp in a box with a layer of muslin to diffuse the light.

Still not perfect, but worlds better than before. I felt good enough about this picture to use it. The light is directly to the right of the plate. I still had to brighten the image a bit post-production, and the shadows on the left are still a little strong. I bounced the light with a whiteboard on the left, but there doesn't seem to be enough light getting there to begin with. I needed something brighter.

Now we're getting somewhere! This is last night's dinner of quinoa with black beans and lentils. I bought a brighter light: 150W full-spectrum incandescent. I also mounted the light with a clamp light so it can be more movable. I just draped two pieces of muslin in front of it. The light set up is on the right 45 degrees above the table, and I bounced the light to the left side of the plate with a whiteboard. I have other issues with the picture itself such as positioning of the camera and focus, but the lighting? The lighting is so much better now.

I'd like to collect a few different fabrics for "napkins" and backdrops and some additional white dishes for presentation. I also learned that I need to start shooting on manual. I understand the basic relationship between aperture, ISO, and shutter speed, and it seems my camera kept telling me that the picture would be overexposed when I didn't feel it would be. So off I go to manual land, wee! It's a big step for me to graduate to shooting in manual.

Oh, and I'll be posting the recipe for the quinoa on Thursday if any of you would like to give it a try. (It's an easy veggie dish if you don't make it already, [ profile] caelumgrey.)


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Erin Kronman

October 2013

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