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Thread: Food Photography

  1. #1

    Default Food Photography

    Hi,

    How can I take a nice food photo (food on plates) such that the dish main focus is in focus?
    Most of the food photos I took, even my aperture set to F5 and F8, the food further away from the lens seems to be OOF (bokeh effect).

    I used AV settings, set to F5, and use centre AF to focus on the main dish and I'm using 50mm 1.8 II lens.

    Any good advice?
    Last edited by bjory; 1st November 2009 at 07:25 PM.

  2. #2

    Default Re: Food Photography

    Assuming a 45 degree angle, and depending on how close you are ... to get every single detail on a typical dish sharp, you will be looking at apertures in the region of f/14 - f/32. Also depends on whether you have to deal with height in addition to depth of the items.

    If distortion doesn't bother you, use a wider lens go much closer and try stopping down to f/8 and smaller.

  3. #3
    Senior Member limwhow's Avatar
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    Default Re: Food Photography

    Quote Originally Posted by Dream Merchant View Post
    Assuming a 45 degree angle, and depending on how close you are ... to get every single detail on a typical dish sharp, you will be looking at apertures in the region of f/14 - f/32. Also depends on whether you have to deal with height in addition to depth of the items.

    If distortion doesn't bother you, use a wider lens go much closer and try stopping down to f/8 and smaller.
    If we use f/14 and smaller, then naturally we will have to compensate by slowing down shutter speed especially if it's indoor or with lower lighting. Would like to ask your opinion, Dream Merchant, is using higher ISO (say, 1250, 1600) a common practice in food photography? If not, what is the acceptable ISO to use for food?
    Also, I have seen food photogs shooting without tripods. And I presume this can be done without tripod. Again, is tripod use very common in food photography?
    Thanks for your advice.

  4. #4

    Default Re: Food Photography

    Hi, but if I bump up the F settings, the food will all be in clear view, what I want is to have more focus on the food in focus while, maybe the plate or non essential items to be blurred.

    The results i'm getting, seems to be only a particular point (small circle) of my food is in focus and the sides are all OOF.

    See my photo sample, I want most of my pizza to be in focus and the plate to be OOF.


    So what settings, or technique can I use, ideally, if I not using tripod?

  5. #5

    Default Re: Food Photography

    Quote Originally Posted by limwhow View Post
    If we use f/14 and smaller, then naturally we will have to compensate by slowing down shutter speed especially if it's indoor or with lower lighting. Would like to ask your opinion, Dream Merchant, is using higher ISO (say, 1250, 1600) a common practice in food photography? If not, what is the acceptable ISO to use for food?
    Also, I have seen food photogs shooting without tripods. And I presume this can be done without tripod. Again, is tripod use very common in food photography?
    Thanks for your advice.
    I''ve seen friends take snapshots of food - use as high an ISO as necessary to get deeper DOF and prevent handshake. Too noisy use noise reduction in post.

    For commercial standard shots, auto use tripod even if using 100 flash. This is for control and consistency in the shots.

  6. #6

    Default Re: Food Photography

    Quote Originally Posted by bjory View Post
    Hi, but if I bump up the F settings, the food will all be in clear view, what I want is to have more focus on the food in focus while, maybe the plate or non essential items to be blurred.

    The results i'm getting, seems to be only a particular point (small circle) of my food is in focus and the sides are all OOF.

    See my photo sample, I want most of my pizza to be in focus and the plate to be OOF.


    So what settings, or technique can I use, ideally, if I not using tripod?
    Looking at how close the edge of the pizza is to the rim of the plate, to achieve what you want is not impossible, but very difficult. May be doable using tilt and shift or play around in photoshop. Or use a much larger plate.

    Tripod is mandatory unless you rrrrreally enjoy torturing yourself.

  7. #7

    Default Re: Food Photography

    totally agree with the need for tripod. timer or cable release will also be good.

    else, DOF be hard to "regulate".

    oh... and, eating before shooting helps. else, will tummy be grumbling, and hands shaking from hunger
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  8. #8

    Default Re: Food Photography

    So how do some people actually keep so big area of the food in focus?


  9. #9
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    Default Re: Food Photography

    Quote Originally Posted by bjory View Post
    Hi, but if I bump up the F settings, the food will all be in clear view, what I want is to have more focus on the food in focus while, maybe the plate or non essential items to be blurred.

    The results i'm getting, seems to be only a particular point (small circle) of my food is in focus and the sides are all OOF.

    See my photo sample, I want most of my pizza to be in focus and the plate to be OOF.


    So what settings, or technique can I use, ideally, if I not using tripod?


    Place say a small sauce plate beneath the big plate giving it a slight tilt that will
    help.
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  10. #10

    Default Re: Food Photography

    Quote Originally Posted by bjory View Post
    So how do some people actually keep so big area of the food in focus?

    Smaller aperture and/or using the Scheimpflug principle (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scheimpflug).

    If you look carefully, the photographer was good in deciding where to keep the zone of sharp focus. It drops off steeply immediately behind the fish (or big central thing - hard to identify).

  11. #11
    Senior Member Cheesecake's Avatar
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    Default Re: Food Photography

    Quote Originally Posted by bjory View Post
    So how do some people actually keep so big area of the food in focus?

    some reasons...

    1). small aperture.

    2). use of a lens with a greater depth of field(might be a wider lens)

    3). shot with large format cameras that allowed tilt and shift function, as well as f40 and up apertures to achieve a much greater depth of field.
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  12. #12

    Default Re: Food Photography

    With very small aperture, guess tripod and higher iso is really required to capture a sharp image. Do you guys suggest changing the AV mode to other mode instead?

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