Food Styling and Photography For Dummies

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Discover how to style and photograph food like the pros

Whether you're taking shots for a foodie blog, advertisements, packaging, menus, or cookbooks, Food Styling & Photography For Dummies shows you how to take the next step in your passion for food and photography. This attractive, informative, and fun guide to the fundamentals of food styling provides information on the tools and techniques used by some of the most successful industry ...

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Food Styling and Photography For Dummies

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Discover how to style and photograph food like the pros

Whether you're taking shots for a foodie blog, advertisements, packaging, menus, or cookbooks, Food Styling & Photography For Dummies shows you how to take the next step in your passion for food and photography. This attractive, informative, and fun guide to the fundamentals of food styling provides information on the tools and techniques used by some of the most successful industry professionals.

Food Styling & Photography For Dummies provides you with the fundamentals of food styling and gives you the inside scoop on the tools and techniques used by some of the most successful industry professionals.

  • Shows you how to translate taste, aroma, and appeal through color, texture, and portion
  • Includes techniques such as extreme close-ups, selective focus, and unique angles to create dramatic effect
  • Detailed coverage on lighting and composition
  • Tips for choosing the proper equipment and mastering the use of camera settings, lenses, and post-production software
  • Advice for creating a professional personality and getting your food photography business off the ground

Whether you're an amateur or professional food photographer, Food Styling & Photography For Dummies is a fun and informative guide to photographing and arranging culinary subject matter.

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  • Food Styling and Photography For Dummies
    Food Styling and Photography For Dummies  

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781118097199
  • Publisher: Wiley
  • Publication date: 4/10/2012
  • Series: For Dummies Series
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 336
  • Sales rank: 423,004
  • Product dimensions: 7.30 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

Alison Parks-Whitfield is a successful technical writer and food photographer in the San Francisco Bay area. Her tasty images have been published in books, magazines, newspapers, and on packaging, as well as in many online venues.

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Table of Contents

Introduction 1

Part I: Introducing Food Styling and Photography 7

Chapter 1: Exploring Food Photography 9

Chapter 2: Photography Know-How and Equipment 25

Chapter 3: Your Stylist Toolkit 41

Chapter 4: Dealing with Employers, Personnel, and Sets 67

Part II: It's All in the Presentation (Styling) 85

Chapter 5: Preparing for an Off-Site Photo Shoot 87

Chapter 6: Getting the Yummy to Translate on Film 99

Chapter 7: The Ice Cream Is Melting! Problem Solving for Tricky Foods 123

Part III: Shooting the Food: Techniques with the Camera 141

Chapter 8: Composition Basics 143

Chapter 9: Lighting, Lighting, Lighting 161

Chapter 10: Working with Tilts and Angles 181

Chapter 11: Exploring Focus 195

Part IV: And for Dessert: Managing Your Photos and More 211

Chapter 12: Post-Processing 213

Chapter 13: Editing and Saving Your Photos 225

Chapter 14: Making Your Photos Available in Print and Online 239

Chapter 15: Starting Your Food Styling and Photography Business 253

Part V: The Part of Tens 269

Chapter 16: Ten Tips for Growing Your Business 271

Chapter 17: Ten Indispensable Items for a Food Shoot 281

Chapter 18: Ten Awesome Garnishes for Food Images 289

Index 299

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Interviews & Essays

Cheat Sheet for Food Styling and Photography For Dummies

From Food Styling and Photography For Dummies by Alison Parks-Whitfield

Styling food to look delicious and then taking an impressive photograph of your creation requires all kinds of tools, tricks, and know-how. You need an understanding of both the creative and the technical aspects of dealing with food as the subject, and you need to have all the equipment, props, backgrounds, and settings in place to capture the moment (because sometimes, you really have only a moment to get the perfect shot).

Food Photography Equipment Checklist

Taking great food images requires a good bit of quality photographic equipment. Unfortunately, this equipment can be somewhat expensive. A hand-held point-and-shoot camera or smart-phone camera simply won't do. The following list can help get you started in food photography:

• A DSLR camera: If you're serious about food photography and hope to make money off your images, spring for a DSLR with a full-frame 35mm sensor ($2,000 and up). If photography is more of a hobby, you'll be happy with a crop-sensor DSLR ($500 and up). Forget about even high-end point-and-shoot cameras. They may offer a lot of megapixels, but the physical size of the image sensors in these cameras simply isn't large enough to capture the image detail you need.
• Lenses: Look for high-quality lenses in the 40mm to 85mm range with a lower f value (such as f/2.8 or lower) to get yourself started. These lenses will allow you to take a wide variety of shots. As your budget grows, you can add a wider lens and a telephoto lens to expand your shooting options.
• Camera stabilizers: Keeping your camera stable in low-light situations can really make a shot. Quality tripods and monopods can help you capture some really beautiful, clear images that would otherwise would not be possible if you were supporting the camera by hand. Avoid the flimsy $20 tripods found at low-price retailers. They aren't stable enough to use with a DSLR.
• Lighting: Unless you plan to only photograph in natural light, you'll need a main light, filler light, and back light. These lights need to be good and diffused to create a soft lighting environment to best show off your food subjects. You should also consider investing in a soft box light, reflectors, and C-stands.

Placing Lights for Food Photography

You could be the greatest food stylist in the world, but no one will know if you don't light your photos properly. Knowing where to place lights for your shoot can really benefit the look and quality of your photos. And poor light placement can result in flat, dull images. Check out the following options:

• Key light: A key light is the main or principal light that provides the majority of light for your setup. You should place the key light in front and to the side, which ensures that you get good reflections in the highlights.
• Fill light: A fill light is a light that's either lower wattage or placed farther away from the subject. The purpose of a fill light is to fill in and shape the light in a food subject. It's a secondary light that decreases and controls the contrast when shooting.
• Back light: A back light shoots across the very back of a setup. The back light provides a little smidge of light that allows a slight distinction between the subject and the background.

Removing Imperfections in Your Food Photography

Due to the messy nature of food styling and photography, sometimes you'll have an extra drip, bit, or speck of stuff that needs tidying up after the image has been shot. When you have a little problem that needs a bit of cleanup, use the Clone Stamp tool in Adobe Photoshop to tidy up the image.

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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Posted May 3, 2012

    Very helpful!

    If you have ever submitted your own food photos to one of the well-known food blogs out there, then you have probably also been rejected by one of the well-known food blogs out there. There are numerous theories as to what these food blogs’ judging critieria really are and they don’t really offer much help to get food photos featured on a blog, a magazine, a menu, or sold on a stock photography site. But what will help is the book, Food Styling and Photography For Dummies. Short chapters cut to the chase, including carefully and clearly describing the tools and equipment you will need, how to deal with food that melts or falls apart in mere moments, as well as how to position, light, focus, edit, and offer your photos to others.

    Food Styling and Photography For Dummies never gets lost in technical details, keeping its eyes on the prize, as in the chapter, “Getting the Yummy to Translate on Film.” And of course, the final part of any Dummies’ book, “The Part of Tens,” is a delight. The book’s practical, real-world, and budget-conscious emphasis can be seen in the final chapter, “Ten Awesome Garnishes for Food Images,” which includes ideas like Basil Leaves, Bits of the Subject (e.g., a stray grape), Fresh Berries, Grains of Salt, and Microgreens — the list of which can literally be seen in every food photo in “Martha Stewart Living” I’ve ever seen. About the only negative of the book is the photos are so delicious that you’ll get hungry just flipping through the book! A very helpful and delicious book.

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