Posts in the Photography Tips category
It goes without saying that when travelling, one of the most interesting things to experience are new foods – and they can make great photos too. As you might recall, Sean and I were in Hobart, Tasmania a couple of weeks ago, and one perfect autumn morning we gathered up a few yummy looking antipasto-type ingredients from the market, and set them up against a sandstone backdrop in the historic Salamanca precinct for an impromptu food photography shoot.
With me on styling duties (“hey! move that crumb to the left!”) and Sean on his Canon 5D mkII with 50mm lens, we did a quick shoot followed by an even quicker devouring of the goodies. In the end I think we came up with a series of images that capture not only the food, but also communicate something of the season and location.
Here’s five tips for food photography on the go:
1. It is so easy to do what we’ve done here and set up a little food shoot using whatever you’ve picked up at the local market. Paper packaging makes a great textural background, and if you just take a little care arranging it you’ll get a great, rustic look.
2. Messy is good – it shows that you’ve been enjoying the food. So don’t get too hung up on things being neat. Take a bite and take a photo, then do it again!
3. Natural, but shaded, light is best. Direct sun will produce harsh shadow as well as wash colour out.
4. Use a shallow depth of field (low f-stop). This will really make the food stand out and give that nice blurry look in the background. If that background can say something about the location, all the better. For example, it’s subtle, but in the background of these photos are the sandstone walls that Hobart is known for.
5. Never use flash! It produces an unnatural light that makes food look unappetising.
I could go on, but those are a few of the simplest tricks. If you want to know more, check out our Travel Photography Field Guide where there’s a whole chapter about food photography.
Finally, here’s a behind the scenes shot of me looking goofy. Happy Friday!
Matthieu Gafsou has been nice enough to let us publish a selection of his internationally admired series, Alpes. His atmospheric and surreal photos of the Swiss mountains may be considered fine art, but many of the techniques he uses can be applied to travel photography.
1) Rather than waiting for “perfect light”, these shots show that soft, cloudy conditions can lend a dreamlike quality to photos:
2) Here, he steps back or turns around completely to include tourists in the frame. Not only does this give a sense of scale, but it is also tells a more interesting story about the location than your average landscape snap. I love this approach.
3) This image clearly illustrates the quality of light you get when shooting in the snow. Even though he is shooting into the sun, the tourists are perfectly exposed. That’s because the snow is highly reflective and bounces the sunlight back into the shadows. This is a great trick to remember. It can also work on bright sandy beaches.
Some more of my favorite shots from the series. There’s plenty more on his website – check them out!
Sean and I recently spent an excellent (but not nearly long enough) five days making our way around the South Island of New Zealand. As you can imagine, the scenery was amazing, the locals lovely, and we had some mighty good seafood.
However, this is the story of one little island within one very blue lake, sitting up high in the New Zealand Alps, and the lengths we went to for a great shot.
It went a bit like this.
Me: Wow, that is one cute little island. So round. So nicely framed with all the mountains behind it. That would make a great landscape shot for Skip Town.
Sean: Okay, let’s have a go.
Me (after taking a few shots): That looks okay… but wouldn’t it be nicer as the sun goes down? Get a bit of colour in the sky?
Sean: Alright, we’ll come back a bit later then.
Me: Damn, that blanket of cloud is not very exciting… and the water doesn’t look nearly as blue as it did before… maybe we should come back early in the morning when it’s nice and still? Maybe we’ll get the island’s reflection on the water – that would look awesome.
Sean: Mmmm, really? I guess we could.
5.30am the next morning
Me: Oh! It’s not still enough for reflections… and the sky is still kinda muted… and the water is not looking very blue… and I’m tired!
Sean: Me too.
So we tried – and in the end we did get a few nice shots. But the moral of the story is that landscape photography is often about being in the right place at the right time. If the weather doesn’t want to play nice, you can’t do anything about it.
And even though midday sun is generally regarded as one of the worst times of day for landscape shots due to the harsh sunlight and lack of defining shadow, we actually got the best shot of the bunch at noon. In this case it was due to the subject matter – Lake Tekapo’s best feature is its incredible azure blue water which is most vibrant in sunny weather.
The Skip Town Travel Photography Field Guide has a whole section dedicated to photographing lakes, so do check it out if you’re interested.
Here is our eventual favourite photograph of Lake Tekapo. What would you have done?