Friday, January 20, 2012

Food Photography and Styling - The Challenge

Challenge 1, Fruit on a white background - no props 
Launching Liv Life a year and a half ago I was fairly confident in the photography arena.  Shooting at the school or local soccer games brought an immense amount of satisfaction as parents constantly sent requests for copies of my photos and poured on the compliments. Then moving to the dance stage I provided candid shots of our girls from competitions and events, and again, many parents showered me with love and compliments when I shared these photos.  Landscape, however, remained my passion as my camera traveled with me all over the world, and I even sold a few prints.

With the launch of Liv Life, my first project had me taking a photo of Korean Style Pork with Asian Slaw.  The recipe was wonderful, my photo... not so much.  Taken later in the evening in my somewhat darkened kitchen I popped up my flash for a brighter shot, and much to my embarrassment I actually posted that image and at the time, was fairly proud of myself.

Since that day I've worked to improve my photography in the food arena and currently have a sense of immense awe for professional food photographers and stylists.  Time and again, my fellow bloggers as well blow me away with stunning shots and set-ups, and though I feel my photography has improved, I still have a long way to go.

Hence, when Laurie, of A Favored Life, asked me to join her new Food Photography and Styling Group I jumped at the opportunity.  Joining this group of extraordinarily talented ladies I suddenly felt, again, very inadequate.  Spectacular shots of all kinds have me once again in awe of the sheer talent of these professionals and hobbyists and I'm honored to be a part of the group.  As an example, please take a peek at Elaine Melko's gorgeous shot of a pear on white, our first photography challenge.

For our first Food Photography & Styling Challenge, the directive had us photographing fruit on a white background - no props.  I was lucky enough to have a recent image already prepared from our Margarita Lime Jello Cube post with sliced limes on the white background.  With my biggest struggle usually being White Balance and Lighting, this method is far from easy.  My lime image (shown above) was literally a one-shot-wonder and taken almost as an afterthought along with the Margarita Jello Shots.  I'm fairly pleased with the color and balance, though the photo is not as sharp as I would have liked.

Margarita Lime Jello Shots (totally addicting!) shot also on the white background with similar settings.  As they are not totally fruit, they are not eligible for the challenge, leaving us with the beautiful lime slices instead.
For my lime shot, I photographed the slices on the white board that came with my non-professional, yet ever-so-helpful, light (Lowel EGO Digital Imaging, Tabletop Fluorescent Light Unit) and the natural afternoon light that pours into my kitchen.  The lime image turned out fairly nice - shot with my favorite food photography lens, the Canon EF-S 60mm f/2.8 Macro Digital SLR Lens at ISO 500, f/10, and 1/100.

The pomegranate at the top was a last minute addition to the post and will be revealed further in a salad post that is upcoming (Grapefruit, Avocado and Arugula with a Lemon Vinaigrette).  For this image the info reads: ISO 800, f/6.3, 1/30.  Shot with the same lens as the limes.

I'm eager to get a start on next month's challenge... something including vegetables and a collage.  Stay tuned, and let me know your thoughts about photography... what do you enjoy and what are your biggest challenges?

43 comments:

  1. All of these are great, but I'm partial to the Margarita Lime Jello Cubes! They sound great!

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  2. I love the freshness of those limes. They look so juicy and I want to pop one into my Diet Coke right now.

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  3. Wow. These are wonderful. especially like how you used some red "spilled" around the pomegranite. very well done.

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  4. Adore the limes. Fresh. Clean. Can almost taste it.

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  5. Your lime shot blows me away!! Definitely worth being in a magazine! Great job!

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  6. Love those limes! They look amazing :)

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  7. Everything looks wonderful Kim! Love the lighting on your limes, they are perfect! So glad you joined us for this challenge, and I'm so exited for this year! You always rock those liqueur infused recipes.. can't wait to see what's next!

    Laurie

    A Favored Life
    www.thefavoredlife.com

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  8. Hmmmm, if you consider your shots to be "not so great", then I'd have to consider mine "not for public eyes", hehe. Do you have any helpful hints for beginners, please?

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  9. Hey now. There are no challenges here. It's all good with my point-and-shoot that doesn't have a removable lens (no, I'm not bitter. Why?). :)

    The lime photo is gorgeous, but the pomegranate is spectacular. Makes me want to pop the seeds in my mouth so badly.

    Grapefruit, avocado, pomegranate... I recognize that. EatingWell?

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  10. Hahaha, Kim you take AMAZING photos...I mean really. Don't think yours are inadequate. Quite frankly they are some of the best in the food blogging community!

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  11. You always take wonderful photos...I really want to start taking better pics...I think I'm just a bit lazy... The LOVE the lime picture...pretty. For some reason I'm much better at outdoor pictures than food pictures...

    xoxo from Trinidad

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  12. Oooh, I love the messy pom shot! All of these are so great...I'm guessing I need to get myself a macro lens!

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  13. I *wish* my pictures could even slightly compare to yours. Your pictures are gorgeous!

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  14. Love those lime shots! Spectacular color and probably made great jello shots!

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  15. I love each one of these - your photography is outstanding!!

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  16. I'm working on my photography too! Well Im taking classes, havent started to do stuff for my food/blog stuff yet. LOL. Great job so great that you guys are doing assignments!

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  17. I have always loved your photos. I am more of a cook, get it shot, post kinda' gal. (And, my pictures show it!) :)

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  18. Very cool, thanks for sharing this info! Gorgeous photography!

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  19. Very cool, thanks for sharing this info! Gorgeous photography!

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  20. All your photos are stunning, Kim, but I absolutely love the Margarita Lime Jello Shots. It's amazing how the white background works so well in bringing out the vibrancy of those little jello squares. That and your amazing photography skill, of course :-)

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  21. Stunning photos! My favorite is the top photo of the pomegranates!

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  22. Amazing post Kim, and what a professionally looking photographs..Well done dear!!!Congrats on joining the group!

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  23. Great post, Kim. Excellent photographs and tips. Will definitely be back to check out the next challenge.

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  24. I like all your pictures you take. Here you make all the yummy creations look soooo good!

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  25. Great photos! Although, the 1st one is a WOW! :]

    http://daily-iphoneography.posterous.com

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  26. Just stopped by again to Congratulate you on top 9!!!! xoxo

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  27. Thank you for sharing your quest to take better and better photos. I'd love to hear any tips you learn in your new group. I am primarily taking photos with my i-phone 4 and am still intimidated by manual cameras. I enjoy your blog as well. Thanks again.

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  28. jill @ MadAboutMacaronsJanuary 22, 2012 at 2:43 AM

    Loving your work, Kim. No wonder your photos have been in demand. I'm all ears for tips since I'm one of these helpless, hopeless point and shooters. Great shots and bravo on Top9, my friend.

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  29. They are all such gorgeous shots! Photography is my first love, followed by travel and then food:)

    ...food only gets priority because I eat three times a day :)

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  30. You are an inspiration!!! What fabulous photos, Kim! Congrats on the Top 9 today, my friend...the pomegranate shot is stunning~

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  31. gorgeous imagery! I love the pomegranate shot, no wonder it made the top 9 today!

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  32. The pomegranate shot rocks. Congrats on T-9!
    LL

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  33. Hi Kim. I loved reading this as I'm always interested in how other food photographer's approach their photo challenges. Managing light especially with really white or dark backgrounds can be so tricky. I love your shots; they all really hightlight the beauty of the food and your vision. Congrats too on the Top 9!

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  34. Kim,
    Your photographs has always been stunning to me, so I can only imagine how they will look, after your photography challenges.

    Congrats on the Top 9 today, my friend. I love the pomegranate shots.

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  35. What an awesome challenge. I am looking for some ways to revisit how I photograph things, rethink a few things of sorts. I am excited to see what next months challenge brings!

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  36. Awesome challenge! Love your pictures... especially the lime! Beautiful!

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  37. First of all, I've been following you since the beginning and you haven't ever put up a bad shot! Everything you do is beautiful and quit being so hard on yourself. I really need a lime now for my water, I'd prefer the shots, but it's still a little early for me, lol. Hope you had a wonderful weekend.
    -Gina-

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  38. Those jello cubes look awesome Kim. Great job :)!

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  39. Very helpful to readers that you included the 'how to' behind the shots (which are fab).

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