poor scientist. will blog 4 food.

the culinary adventures of a self-described foodie

Photos FAQ

This page is a bit of a misnomer, since no one has actually asked me any questions about my photos and/or cameras, but I think the FAQ format is far more interesting to read than paragraphs upon paragraphs of camera talk. So without further ado, here it is!

What digital cameras do you use?
I’m a Canon girl all the way. All of the photos posted before September 2009 were taken on my trusty little Canon Powershot SD750. (As a sidenote, I’m not sure why the price shot up to ~$300, but I bought it for around $180 back in 2008). Last August, I upgraded to the Canon Rebel XSi, which was recommended to me by several of my closest friends (I know about 5 people who own this exact camera!)

What about lenses?
I usually use the 18-55mm kit lens that came with the Rebel XSi. I also own a 50mm f/1.8 fixed lens. Photos using that lens can be seen here.

Do you use any other camera accessories?
The flash that came with my Rebel Xsi is OK, but the Precision Design bounce flash that EF gave to me as a Christmas gift in 2009 is fantastic.

Having gone through my share of unwieldy, useless camera bags, I was also weary about picking out a good bag for my DSLR. My friend PC, a pro photographer, recommended the Kata brand of camera bags for their durability, design, and price point. I went with the DR-467i that includes a laptop sleeve, and it’s been great for all of my trips near and far.

Do you recommend any vendors?
My friend PC also recommended Adorama for all my photography needs. I have to say that I’m so pleased with their fast (and usually free) delivery and their very reasonable prices. I bought both the Rebel Xsi and the 50mm lens refurbished at a great discount. I was a little scared about buying refurbished gear, but both the camera and the lens were indistinguishable from brand new items.

Locally, I recommend Looking Glass Photos. They really know their stuff, have a great selection, and fixed a glitch with my lens for free.

Any tips on food photography?
As with most things, practice makes perfect. The luxury of digital photography is that you can play around with camera settings and compositions and instantly know what works and what doesn’t. Natural lighting is your friend. In the case of low light, I recommend a good bounce flash or cranking up your ISO.

As for composition, that is in the eye of the beholder. It helps to look at photographs you like and try to understand what exactly you like about it. Is it the contrast, or the lighting, or the lines? When I first started this blog, I learned a lot by reading smitten kitchen’s approach to food photos.

I sometimes refer to food styling in my posts. I think the key to that is to present the food as you would want to eat it. Basically, if it looks monochrome, add some color, texture, whatever, to make it look more appetizing. Sometimes all it takes is a little toss of the pasta or some pepper. I also like to catch my food after the first bite. Recently, I’ve picked up taking photos of food as it’s being prepared.

Does anyone pay you to promote their products or services?
No, but I wished they would. Just kidding. Everything I’ve mentioned in a positive light here is by my own accord.

2 thoughts on “Photos FAQ

  1. Thank you SO much for this! I haven’t told you yet- but I bought a DSLR too! So I have a question- I don’t work in a lab with microscopes anymore, so the typical things you have on hand to clean lenses, etc, are not at my fingertips anymore- any recommendations? I bought an OTC kit that was CR@P and left more lint than there was dust in the first place! Also, any recs on condensation after going from AC to outdoor heat (besides being patient and waiting, I mean!!) ;)

    • Congrats on your new DSLR! To keep your lens clean, I definitely recommend a filter. A UV filter (usually around $5) will do the trick of protecting your lens from scratches and dust. For dusting, I recommend a “magnetic” cloth — they’re supposed to be charged to remove lint without depositing lint. You can also use the air in a can (I’m sure you used something like this in lab). For more hardcore cleaning, which I’ve never done, I’d go to a trusty shop and ask for recommended cleaning kits, or going to camera websites and reading reviews of various products.

      I have no idea how to control condensation. Sorry!

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