I have not been feeling like making a food post this week since I am a bit stressed out.
The reason for my stress and maybe grief is the shy hedgehog in the above photos; he does not like to be photographed and so those are the only photos I have of him.
I call him Jorma the hedgehog.
Jorma has been living underneath our patio for the summer and we have grown fond of him during this time. This Wednesday evening I was on our patio, writing like I usually do when the weather is good, and I saw Jorma emerging from some bushes, he walked in a funny way and so I took him to examine what was wrong with him.
What I noticed was that his other back leg was there no more - it had been cut off by something. Jorma did not seem to be in a shock so I placed him in a box and left him with some water and meat.
The next day I phoned the local animal shelter and also a friend who takes care of wildlife that has been injured. She then phoned a veterinarian she knows and luckily this vet agreed on taking Jorma for an examination yesterday evening.
Now, at the moment, I am waiting for some information on the condition of Jorma. I do know that hedgehogs can survive with just three legs, but if the leg is infected and the infection has spread to the bone he will be put to sleep.
I do not know why I have felt so strongly about this whole ordeal, it is not like I would not be used to seeing injured animals since I worked at an animal shelter for many years. I just wish for him to heal so that he can be set free once again.
When I did a post about food photography I regretted the fact that I did not write anything about composition and DOF which means depth of field in photos. I will take this opportunity to write something about them since I am not going to make any food posts this week.
I think that there are some easy things which you can do with the composition in food photos to make them look better, it is of course a matter of personal taste in the end, but this is what I like to do.
With bowls I don’t like to photograph the whole bowl because just taking a picture of the other half makes for a better looking photo in my opinion. Like this.
The whole bowl with chillies, this picture has also not been edited, except for some RAW editing:
Only half of the bowl in the photo, this has been edited with Corel; I have used a hard light layer with the opacity of 30, removed some noise and used unsharp mask. The result is maybe too bright, but I like it that way.
The same thing with a deep plate.
The whole plate does not look very good; imagine some soup in it for example. This photo has also been edited in RAW only.
Only half of the plate looks better and you can see that I have used Corel. One layer of hard light and some unsharp mask.
The same thing with a shallow plate.
And once again I think that only half of the plate showing looks better.
As for rectangular or square shapes I don’t like to take pictures like this one with lemons.
All of these lemon pictures have been edited with Corel using hard light layers, unsharp mask and noise reduction.
This is what I usually do: I turn one of the edges towards me like this.
This is another style that looks ok, I think.
Another thing which makes for good looking food photos in my opinion is to take a very close shot of the food; it usually makes you just want to grab the food and eat it, pictures of larger things or many plates and dishes do not have the same effect - usually that is of course - there are always exceptions.
Round objects, like cakes etc, are very hard to photograph as a whole at least I find it hard, so I use the same technique as with the round plates; the easiest thing being to shoot only half of the cake, or pie.
By adjusting the depth of field, you adjust the portion of the photo that is sharp, if it is for example 2.8 then only a very small portion of the photo will be sharp, when you increase it you will have a larger part of the photo appear sharp. As you adjust the DOF, you will also need to adjust the shutter speed.
It seems to be that many like to use a small value making only a small portion of the food appear sharp, I find this to be boring, although I do it myself too.
In this photo the Av (aperture) is 2.8 and I focused on the vine of the tomato in the front, the Tv (shutter speed) is 1/30, the ISO is 100.
In this one I increased the aperture, it is now 5.6 and the shutter speed is 1/13.
This one has an aperture of 11 and the shutter speed is 1/5. You can see that a lot more tomatoes appear sharp in this photo than in the first one.
Maybe it comes down to personal taste, but I think that an aperture of 5.6 worked best?
Lastly the amount of contrast in food photos makes a big difference, adding contrast to food photos does sometimes make the food look a bit ugly and not very appealing. On the other hand a very small amount of contrast gives photos a bit of a dreamlike quality and calmness.
I myself like using very little contrast, and I mean I like to use, not that I do use, since in my photos you will see some contrast. There is something very appealing about photos with very little contrast.
These two pictures have only been edited in RAW and the first one has very much contrast and the other one very little so that you can see the difference.
Very little contrast:
Very much contrast:
I don’t think I will be posting much else about food photography or photography in general. I did enjoy taking these pictures and writing this though, it gave me a chance to reflect on what I have learned and what I like in photos.
What it comes down to is personal taste in the end and I think it is best to trust your own eyes with photos - taking the kind of photos that appeal to you.
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