Author Topic: Taking Quality Pizza Photos  (Read 21052 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline November

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 1877
  • Location: North America
  • Come for the food. Stay for the science.
    • Uncle Salmon
Re: Taking Quality Pizza Photos
« Reply #60 on: May 03, 2008, 04:17:02 PM »
I think I'm convinced that overhead shots, although easier to capture the entire pie in focus, is to be avoided. Thoughts? 

That's why you'll almost never see overhead shots in professional food photography, or most photography.  Isometric projection and perspective is the general rule for art, photography, and even engineering.  It gives the eye more information so that the mind can better determine what it's seeing.  It's a well documented phenomenon that when the human brain is confused by what it's looking at, it becomes anxious and affects our combined sensory perception.  Just as studies have suggested what lies behind the beauty of human forms (especially the face), symmetry plays a major role in how relaxed our minds are when we look at something.  Beauty isn't just in the eye of the beholder.  It's also in the symmetry.

- red.november


Offline 2stone

  • Lifetime Member
  • *
  • Posts: 520
    • 2stone blog
Re: Taking Quality Pizza Photos
« Reply #61 on: May 03, 2008, 07:51:03 PM »
Bill,

Nice pictures and pie. I would like to see more of your pictures.
When I first found this forum I would scroll through the threads looking
for pictures. As November says we are stimulated by the pictures and in
fact if they are good we actually start tasting the food before we physically
eat any of it. I enjoy looking at everyones pictures on this forum and I learn a
lot about pizza making just from the pictures.

willard
2Stone blog: www.2stoneblog.com

Offline Bill/SFNM

  • Lifetime Member
  • *
  • Posts: 4039
  • Location: Santa Fe, NM
Re: Taking Quality Pizza Photos
« Reply #62 on: May 03, 2008, 08:39:55 PM »
November,

Thanks for the interesting explanation. While I'm trying to take photos that are visually appealing, I'm also trying to accurately document my efforts. The 45 degree angle is a good way to achieve both if I use a small enough aperature and good lighting. Still a lot to learn.


Offline Bill/SFNM

  • Lifetime Member
  • *
  • Posts: 4039
  • Location: Santa Fe, NM
Re: Taking Quality Pizza Photos
« Reply #63 on: May 03, 2008, 08:41:00 PM »
Willard,

Thanks. Here are some more shots from the same pie:



Offline mmarston

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 534
  • Location: Altamont, NY (Albany)
  • I can stop eating Pizza any time I want!
Re: Taking Quality Pizza Photos
« Reply #64 on: May 05, 2008, 09:51:06 AM »
To get good light It's generally a good idea to avoid the built in flash.

If you have a DSLR camera heres a gadget that will improve the light from the built in flash.

http://store.garyfonginc.com/puf-01.html?gclid=CIri8fa1j5MCFQ-WGgodNwVUgQ


If you want quality photographs you generally need some method of diffusing the light source to soften shadows and then reflecting that light off of a silver or white surface to fill the shadows. Goggle photographic lighting and you will find a number of sites with tutorials ranging from DIY amateur to serious professional.

Photography's response to light is quite different from your eyes. It increases contrast and typically cannot render a wide range of brightness so shadows will be darker than you expect them to be.

Michael
Nobody cares if you can't dance well.  Just get up and dance.  Dave Barry

Offline enchant

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 290
  • Age: 61
  • Location: Marshfield, MA
  • World-class pizza maker in the making
Re: Taking Quality Pizza Photos
« Reply #65 on: May 05, 2008, 10:01:00 AM »
IMO, if the image is to be used to document a food item for informational purposes, a small aperture is appropriate.  However, if you're looking for esthetically pleasing images of an artistic nature, a larger aperture does a better job.

The common lenses that are used most digital cameras these days have fairly small maximum apertures, like 3.5 or so.  Once I can justify spending the money on one (and we're not really talking all that much money), I plan on buying something like an f/1.4 or f/1.8 for food photography.

This is one of the images from the original post in this thread.  Notice that the ends of the pizzarito are out of focus, and the background is very out of focus.
--pat--

Offline Bill/SFNM

  • Lifetime Member
  • *
  • Posts: 4039
  • Location: Santa Fe, NM
Re: Taking Quality Pizza Photos
« Reply #66 on: May 05, 2008, 12:22:32 PM »
If you want quality photographs you generally need some method of diffusing the light source to soften shadows and then reflecting that light off of a silver or white surface to fill the shadows. Goggle photographic lighting and you will find a number of sites with tutorials ranging from DIY amateur to serious professional.

Photography's response to light is quite different from your eyes. It increases contrast and typically cannot render a wide range of brightness so shadows will be darker than you expect them to be.

Michael
Michael,

Although I'm still pretty much a newbie when it comes to such issues, I have been playing around with food lighting a lot lately. "Food" encompasses a wide range of subjects and settings, but for many of my "food on plate" photos, I'm finding I like some large diffuse lights to reduce shadows, but some small light sources around the plate to bring out better some of the textures.

Biggest problem I have is to try to take photos of a plate of food while the ravenous hordes are clamoring to be fed.  :D

I do have a Lightsphere II that works great for portature. I'll have to play around with it my SB800 for food shots - off camera, right?

Bill/SFNM 

Offline mmarston

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 534
  • Location: Altamont, NY (Albany)
  • I can stop eating Pizza any time I want!
Re: Taking Quality Pizza Photos
« Reply #67 on: May 05, 2008, 02:28:38 PM »
Bill

High-end food photography is very challenging and often food “stylists” command higher rates than the photographer. Of course most of the food is not edible after it’s been “made-up” to look great on camera.

The Lightsphere is a good place to start. Try it above and to the side or even to the rear and use a reflector on the opposite side. If you have an art supply store nearby they usually have boards that are white on one side and silver on the other, makes a great cheap reflector. Crumpled and flattened aluminum foil (dull side) can be used in a pinch. You can also cut small pieces of the board to reflect additional light into specific areas. You should be able to fire your SB800 remotely using the popup flash if you have one. Dial the power way down on the popup or put some white cloth or paper over it to keep the output low.

Frankly I want to eat my pizza while it’s hot so I usually just bounce my flash off the wall or ceiling for a quick shot. If I really wanted to make a great pizza photo I’d do it when the ravenous hordes were not around. I’d make two pies, one to set up the shot and a fresh one for the shoot.

If I started setting up my lighting equipment while making pizza at home my wife would probably try to get me committed.

Michael
Nobody cares if you can't dance well.  Just get up and dance.  Dave Barry

Offline gregs

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 12
Re: Taking Quality Pizza Photos
« Reply #68 on: May 30, 2008, 01:55:32 PM »
I came across this link. Is it me or do these photos look like a hundred times better than any of ours?

http://www.asc.upenn.edu/usr/cassidy/projects/cooking/

Lately I've been lamenting how terrible my photos look. They just don't do the food justice.

Jeff


I guess I have no idea what these are for. Most look like the gammas need to be brought up, or a little dark and contrasty in general. If I were high lighting an item for sale, I would keep the contrast and use more direct lighting so it sparkles. There OK for a picture on the wall.

Offline Bill/SFNM

  • Lifetime Member
  • *
  • Posts: 4039
  • Location: Santa Fe, NM
Re: Taking Quality Pizza Photos
« Reply #69 on: May 30, 2008, 02:27:10 PM »
I've been reading up on taking food-on-plate shots and a couple of experts recommend lighting the plate from above and slightly behind to bring out the details of the food and to use reflectors up front to reduce the resulting shadows. Here is a photo I just took using this approach. I need to adjust the overhead lighting to eliminate the reflections off the greasy cheese, but the marauding  hordes got to the pie before I could do that. I'll play around more with this.

Bill/SFNM


« Last Edit: May 30, 2008, 02:30:23 PM by Bill/SFNM »


Offline Pizza_Not_War

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 388
  • Location: Portland OR
Re: Taking Quality Pizza Photos
« Reply #70 on: May 30, 2008, 02:39:53 PM »
Great looking pizza. I think the granite (?) stone color competes with the colors in the pizza. I would crop the stone out and do a side by side comparison to see what looks better. If you are good with photoshop or for us don't want to give money to Adobe guys, try GIMP (free) and select the stone and change it's color.

PNW

Offline mmarston

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 534
  • Location: Altamont, NY (Albany)
  • I can stop eating Pizza any time I want!
Re: Taking Quality Pizza Photos
« Reply #71 on: May 30, 2008, 03:36:33 PM »
Very good! You might try a polarizing filter on the camera to help with the reflections on the oil. You can also try to position a black board so it's being reflected and thus will not be so bright as opposed to the the wall or ceiling that I  suspect is being reflected.

Michael
Nobody cares if you can't dance well.  Just get up and dance.  Dave Barry

Offline Bill/SFNM

  • Lifetime Member
  • *
  • Posts: 4039
  • Location: Santa Fe, NM
Re: Taking Quality Pizza Photos
« Reply #72 on: May 30, 2008, 04:23:15 PM »
Thank you PNM and Michael for the help. This particular lens doesn't take a filter, so I'll try a different lens next time. I've got some different colored backgrounds I could try to see what egos best with the pie.

FWIW, here is a quick snap of the setup I used. The tripod in the foreground is where the camera would be.

Bill/SFNM


Offline mmarston

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 534
  • Location: Altamont, NY (Albany)
  • I can stop eating Pizza any time I want!
Re: Taking Quality Pizza Photos
« Reply #73 on: May 30, 2008, 04:35:50 PM »
Try lowering the light and maybe one reflector closer to the camera position. This should bring out more texture in the pie and reduce some of the reflections. Here's an idea. Get a frozen supermarket pie or a cheap takeout to practice on.

Michael
Nobody cares if you can't dance well.  Just get up and dance.  Dave Barry

Offline Bill/SFNM

  • Lifetime Member
  • *
  • Posts: 4039
  • Location: Santa Fe, NM
Re: Taking Quality Pizza Photos
« Reply #74 on: May 30, 2008, 04:42:09 PM »
Thanks, Michael, great advice. But a frozen pizza? What if one of the marauding, revenous hordes grabs a slice and tells me it's the best pie I've ever made?  :'(
 

Offline mmarston

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 534
  • Location: Altamont, NY (Albany)
  • I can stop eating Pizza any time I want!
Re: Taking Quality Pizza Photos
« Reply #75 on: May 30, 2008, 04:50:22 PM »
One less mouth to feed >:D
Nobody cares if you can't dance well.  Just get up and dance.  Dave Barry

Offline Bill/SFNM

  • Lifetime Member
  • *
  • Posts: 4039
  • Location: Santa Fe, NM
Re: Taking Quality Pizza Photos
« Reply #76 on: June 06, 2008, 01:31:16 PM »
So it isn't pizza, but here is a shot with a circular polarizer filter because the overhead light was producing glare. I think the filter did a good job. Not sure if I should adjust the lighting to eliminate the front shadows. I kind of like the look.

I re-calibrated my monitor. The background is supposed to be pure white. Is it on your monitors?




Offline November

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 1877
  • Location: North America
  • Come for the food. Stay for the science.
    • Uncle Salmon
Re: Taking Quality Pizza Photos
« Reply #77 on: June 06, 2008, 01:43:28 PM »
The background is supposed to be pure white. Is it on your monitors?

Although it isn't pure white, it looks fine on all my monitors.  I don't think you necessarily want pure white anyway.  That may be too much contrast.  I like the blackness level you have now (7%).  Attached is a side-by-side comparison between pure white and your background.

Offline Bill/SFNM

  • Lifetime Member
  • *
  • Posts: 4039
  • Location: Santa Fe, NM
Re: Taking Quality Pizza Photos
« Reply #78 on: June 06, 2008, 02:13:08 PM »
Yep, you're right. It is close to neutral, but not completely saturated.

Offline November

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 1877
  • Location: North America
  • Come for the food. Stay for the science.
    • Uncle Salmon
Re: Taking Quality Pizza Photos
« Reply #79 on: June 06, 2008, 02:18:25 PM »
Pure white.
« Last Edit: June 06, 2008, 02:26:20 PM by November »