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Thread: Newbie - Home sweet home

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    Default Newbie - Home sweet home



    1. In which area is critique or feedback to be given?
    - Newbie on DSLR/photography, wanted to learn more about composition, framing, tone, settings.

    2. What were you hoping to achieve with this image?
    - Frame the food to give it a delicious, warmth feel

    3. Under what circumstance was the picture taken? (physical conditions/emotions)
    - This photo was taken when I just came home and saw the yam rice my mum has whipped up. It has been sometime since she cooked this after we gotten a maid. Wanted to take a photo of it as remembrance.

    4. Thread-starter's personal thoughts about the image.
    - I think the DOF captured the feeling I wanted. but the foreground (the clearer portion of the rice in the smaller metal plate does not seem 'yummy' enough or rather not 'glistening' enough. Need some advice on what's wrong and how to improve (I just got my camera last a month so need all experts here to be more patient with me ^^)
    Shutter speed: 1/6sec
    Aperture: f/4.6
    ISO: 800
    Setting: In a dim kitchen

    Thanks all in advance

  2. #2
    Senior Member ovaltinemilo's Avatar
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    Default Re: Newbie - Home sweet home

    Hmm, dunno why no one commented...Ha...then hope that I can start the ball rolling... I think framing wise is not bad as I always prefer food photos to make use of corners...but I do prefer to have the left cropped more...as for using 1/6 shutter speed...I tink it's rather slow coz at f4.6, the front plate of rice shd hv sm portion tt wud be sharp enuff..however, I'm not able to pin point where the focus point is from here... personally, I thnk for food photography(actually for any other photography too..haha..), sufficient lighting is very impt in order to make the food look delicious...

    Good try actually...

    my 2cents anyway, hope it's helpful...
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    Default Re: Newbie - Home sweet home

    Quote Originally Posted by ovaltinemilo View Post
    Hmm, dunno why no one commented...Ha...then hope that I can start the ball rolling... I think framing wise is not bad as I always prefer food photos to make use of corners...but I do prefer to have the left cropped more...as for using 1/6 shutter speed...I tink it's rather slow coz at f4.6, the front plate of rice shd hv sm portion tt wud be sharp enuff..however, I'm not able to pin point where the focus point is from here... personally, I thnk for food photography(actually for any other photography too..haha..), sufficient lighting is very impt in order to make the food look delicious...

    Good try actually...

    my 2cents anyway, hope it's helpful...
    Thanks ovaltinemilo.
    I was kinda dejected nobody comment haha..
    Yeah, do agree if the left is cropped abit more, it will put more focus on the front plate.

    I put it at 1/6 shutter speed cos I wanted more light to come in but the slow shutter speed could be the reason for the front plate of rice to look slightly blurry too?

    Do you think if I shoot at a faster shutter speed but wider aperture, the effect would be better? or should I have attempted to make some light reflect onto the rice eg on the kitchen light or use white reflective surface to bounce off light?

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    Senior Member ovaltinemilo's Avatar
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    Default Re: Newbie - Home sweet home

    I think usually flash on food will not yield a good result...but if you wana use sm lighting set up, it will be diff...much better...however, if u r taking the photo in afternoon, I wud suggest moving the food to smwhere near the window etc where u can get plenty of natural light.... also, a rule of thumb for shutter speed is tt, for 30mm focal length tt u used, u shd be using around 1/30 to prevent handshake..though lower shutter speed is possible, tt requires much practising and balancing...if u r interested in food photos, then probably u can invest in a 50mm f1.8, it will allow more light and better subject isolation...
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  5. #5

    Default Re: Newbie - Home sweet home

    i like the angle of the chopstick.
    alittle tighter on the left is better.

    i would prefer more light on it.

    but overall not bad.

  6. #6
    Senior Member oracle0711's Avatar
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    Default Re: Newbie - Home sweet home

    More light is needed if you are planning to shoot without flash or strobe. The pic does look flatten and therefore not appetizing. I will not touch on composition as my preference is to put scoop a the yam rice onto a plate or bowl and shoot it with proper table setting to make it look more appealing (again this is just my preference).

    You can still shoot with flash but preferably to bounce it so that shadows are not harsh and more importantly to brighten the picture.

    In your case, if shutter speed is slow due to insufficient lighting, use a tripod or increase the ISO since this is a rather spontaneous shot. But for foodie stuff, even if it is spontaneous, a little bit of attention to detail such as moving the food to a window, putting it on a plate, cleaning up the dish a bit, etc will help to make it a good picture. After all, the objective is to keep the picture so that it walks down memory lane and therefore, all the more to make it look even better.

  7. #7
    Senior Member ovaltinemilo's Avatar
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    Default Re: Newbie - Home sweet home

    Quote Originally Posted by oracle0711 View Post
    More light is needed if you are planning to shoot without flash or strobe. The pic does look flatten and therefore not appetizing. I will not touch on composition as my preference is to put scoop a the yam rice onto a plate or bowl and shoot it with proper table setting to make it look more appealing (again this is just my preference).

    You can still shoot with flash but preferably to bounce it so that shadows are not harsh and more importantly to brighten the picture.

    In your case, if shutter speed is slow due to insufficient lighting, use a tripod or increase the ISO since this is a rather spontaneous shot. But for foodie stuff, even if it is spontaneous, a little bit of attention to detail such as moving the food to a window, putting it on a plate, cleaning up the dish a bit, etc will help to make it a good picture. After all, the objective is to keep the picture so that it walks down memory lane and therefore, all the more to make it look even better.
    This reali shows more insight to foodie shots...it's reli nt as simple as many would think...and lighting wise, probably TS would need some experiment to get the right setup tat is needed..oracle0711 also pointed out the presentation of food and wat's on the table are also important too to enhance the foodie photo...
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  8. #8

    Default Re: Newbie - Home sweet home



    It doesn't look that bad if you can crop tightly to put more attention on the food. Upper & lower right hand corner are empty, and do not contribute to the overall composition.

    The ovarall contrast is increased here, and minute adjustments are made to the exposure, highlight, shadow and brightness level. With some practise, you will be more proficient in those adjustments.

    The color saturation are also increased a bit to boost the color, so that it looks attractive. I have turned the color temp cooler as the saturation is increased, it looks warmer.
    But it is personal preference. Lastly, a slight sharpening is also applied here.

    Adjust with your feeling. (I think the side lighting is good here)

  9. #9

    Default Re: Newbie - Home sweet home

    i am not a fan of the composition. my first impression was i am looking through a magnifying glass (with how the chopstick was positioned below the curved plate).

    second i would "rearrange the rice" to make it look more appealing.

  10. #10

    Default Re: Newbie - Home sweet home

    I'm with Pokiemon on this one. When the arrangement or components in a dish is less than ideal (for the camera), going wider is usually a good idea.

    Oracle has also made good suggestions where little helpful steps are concerned.

    Also, think of how to complement the shot with the use of other supporting accessories like crockery, placemats, utensils and so on to create an aura of 'Home Sweet Home', whatever one's experience or perception of that may be.

    On the other hand, it can be kept very simple but be effective - even chipped China and an OOF kitchen/sink in the BG can help support your image.

    If I had to summarize it in one honest sentence - there's no 'soul' in this shot.

  11. #11
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    Default Re: Newbie - Home sweet home

    Quote Originally Posted by ovaltinemilo View Post
    I think usually flash on food will not yield a good result...but if you wana use sm lighting set up, it will be diff...much better...however, if u r taking the photo in afternoon, I wud suggest moving the food to smwhere near the window etc where u can get plenty of natural light.... also, a rule of thumb for shutter speed is tt, for 30mm focal length tt u used, u shd be using around 1/30 to prevent handshake..though lower shutter speed is possible, tt requires much practising and balancing...if u r interested in food photos, then probably u can invest in a 50mm f1.8, it will allow more light and better subject isolation...
    Thanks for the comment/advice. I do happen to have a 50mm f1.8 but this was an impromptu shot so I didn't think of changing out my kit lens..^^ will try that lens in my next shot.
    And I agree about the handshake part - my hands are very stable..realized it after I changed to DSLR - could be due to the weight, guessed I have to practice more.

    Quote Originally Posted by brownie01 View Post
    i like the angle of the chopstick.
    alittle tighter on the left is better.

    i would prefer more light on it.

    but overall not bad.
    Thanks, I like the chopstick angle too
    Yeah, will work on the lighting. Still trying to understand how the light bouncing thingy work...

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    Default Re: Newbie - Home sweet home

    Quote Originally Posted by oracle0711 View Post
    More light is needed if you are planning to shoot without flash or strobe. The pic does look flatten and therefore not appetizing. I will not touch on composition as my preference is to put scoop a the yam rice onto a plate or bowl and shoot it with proper table setting to make it look more appealing (again this is just my preference).

    You can still shoot with flash but preferably to bounce it so that shadows are not harsh and more importantly to brighten the picture.

    In your case, if shutter speed is slow due to insufficient lighting, use a tripod or increase the ISO since this is a rather spontaneous shot. But for foodie stuff, even if it is spontaneous, a little bit of attention to detail such as moving the food to a window, putting it on a plate, cleaning up the dish a bit, etc will help to make it a good picture. After all, the objective is to keep the picture so that it walks down memory lane and therefore, all the more to make it look even better.
    Quote Originally Posted by ovaltinemilo View Post
    This reali shows more insight to foodie shots...it's reli nt as simple as many would think...and lighting wise, probably TS would need some experiment to get the right setup tat is needed..oracle0711 also pointed out the presentation of food and wat's on the table are also important too to enhance the foodie photo...
    Thanks oracle for the advice I saw your work on your blog..you are an expert in foodie shots^^

    This is indeed a rather spontaneous shot. The 2 plates of rice were placed inside a wok.
    I chose not to scope it out to retain the 'out from the wok' feel which I thought would increase the nostalgia feeling..

    Will take note of the lighting situation and the presentation/setting in my next shot..

    Question abt bouncing off flash: I read online that to bounce the flash is to face the flash either to the ceiling or a nearby surface so that the flash would not go direct on the subject.
    For this, is there any kind of rules to follow? or is it more like a trial and error thing? I haven't got a flash yet..maybe should think of getting one after I 'recuperate' abit ^^

    I saw a feature on Olympus EPL1 that can allow control of the amount of flash like 1/2flash, 1/4flash etc.
    Possible to achieve this with a full-fletch DSLR? I am using Canon 550D. Can't figure out how..

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    Default Re: Newbie - Home sweet home

    Quote Originally Posted by johnlim View Post


    It doesn't look that bad if you can crop tightly to put more attention on the food. Upper & lower right hand corner are empty, and do not contribute to the overall composition.

    The ovarall contrast is increased here, and minute adjustments are made to the exposure, highlight, shadow and brightness level. With some practise, you will be more proficient in those adjustments.

    The color saturation are also increased a bit to boost the color, so that it looks attractive. I have turned the color temp cooler as the saturation is increased, it looks warmer.
    But it is personal preference. Lastly, a slight sharpening is also applied here.

    Adjust with your feeling. (I think the side lighting is good here)
    Thanks John. I see the impact of tighter cropping and pp here. It does really look better =)
    Did you use photo shop for all this adjustment?

    I am thinking with the right settings/lightings, will I be able to achieve such effect out of the camera? or post-processed is another skill I need to brush up on too?

    Another question, for the sharpening, how do you apply the sharpening?
    There are a few options in photoshop (I am refering to the sharpening options under 'Filter'), which option did you use? cos I tried playing around with the sharpening, but couldn't see much effect

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    Default Re: Newbie - Home sweet home

    Quote Originally Posted by pokiemon View Post
    i am not a fan of the composition. my first impression was i am looking through a magnifying glass (with how the chopstick was positioned below the curved plate).

    second i would "rearrange the rice" to make it look more appealing.
    Quote Originally Posted by Dream Merchant View Post
    I'm with Pokiemon on this one. When the arrangement or components in a dish is less than ideal (for the camera), going wider is usually a good idea.

    Oracle has also made good suggestions where little helpful steps are concerned.

    Also, think of how to complement the shot with the use of other supporting accessories like crockery, placemats, utensils and so on to create an aura of 'Home Sweet Home', whatever one's experience or perception of that may be.

    On the other hand, it can be kept very simple but be effective - even chipped China and an OOF kitchen/sink in the BG can help support your image.

    If I had to summarize it in one honest sentence - there's no 'soul' in this shot.
    Hmm..the 2 plates of rice were placed in a wok, I took off the lid and decided to take the picture out of the wok to give it a more nostalgia feel..more like a kid opening up the lid and discovering something she like to eat inside^^..seems like not very successful

    Think my main prob is lighting and the setup display for the food - Will look more into the placing and settings for the foodie shots

  15. #15
    Senior Member ovaltinemilo's Avatar
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    Default Re: Newbie - Home sweet home

    Quote Originally Posted by dawngel View Post
    I saw a feature on Olympus EPL1 that can allow control of the amount of flash like 1/2flash, 1/4flash etc.
    Possible to achieve this with a full-fletch DSLR? I am using Canon 550D. Can't figure out how..
    nt sure hw canon does it...but for nikon, instead of TTL for flash, user will switch to manual control...I guess it's similar for canon...
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    Default Re: Newbie - Home sweet home

    Quote Originally Posted by dawngel View Post


    1. In which area is critique or feedback to be given?
    - Newbie on DSLR/photography, wanted to learn more about composition, framing, tone, settings.

    2. What were you hoping to achieve with this image?
    - Frame the food to give it a delicious, warmth feel

    3. Under what circumstance was the picture taken? (physical conditions/emotions)
    - This photo was taken when I just came home and saw the yam rice my mum has whipped up. It has been sometime since she cooked this after we gotten a maid. Wanted to take a photo of it as remembrance.

    4. Thread-starter's personal thoughts about the image.
    - I think the DOF captured the feeling I wanted. but the foreground (the clearer portion of the rice in the smaller metal plate does not seem 'yummy' enough or rather not 'glistening' enough. Need some advice on what's wrong and how to improve (I just got my camera last a month so need all experts here to be more patient with me ^^)
    Shutter speed: 1/6sec
    Aperture: f/4.6
    ISO: 800
    Setting: In a dim kitchen

    Thanks all in advance
    Hi, just some kind sharing.

    Since you are shooting in dim-lit room, you probably needs to check on the shutter speed and also not to shoot hand-held. The shutter speed that you set, may result in camera shake. What is the focal length you have set? ISO is quite ok, between 400 or 800. What about your white balance setting?

    There is camera shake present in this shot. Maybe you might want to use a tripod if you do not have steady hand. Always remember to use the breathing technique to reduce possible camera shake, together with the habit of fully press down the shutter release than to use the injection method (press and release instantly, which cause movement).
    Capture life moments...from the heart...

  17. #17

    Default Re: Newbie - Home sweet home

    Quote Originally Posted by dawngel View Post
    This is indeed a rather spontaneous shot. The 2 plates of rice were placed inside a wok. I chose not to scope it out to retain the 'out from the wok' feel which I thought would increase the nostalgia feeling..
    unfortunately i can't tell it is coming from a wok. -> as dream merchant has mentioned, use a wide angle lens.

    and if it is coming from a wok, you can capture some "soul" by capturing some steam as you open the lid.

    the other thing is if you didn't say it was yam rice, i wouldn't know those pieces were yam.

    so think about whether what your viewers see is what you want to convey across your message. this basic rule can help you along your composition.

  18. #18

    Default Re: Newbie - Home sweet home

    Quote Originally Posted by dawngel View Post
    Thanks John. I see the impact of tighter cropping and pp here. It does really look better =)
    Did you use photo shop for all this adjustment?

    I am thinking with the right settings/lightings, will I be able to achieve such effect out of the camera? or post-processed is another skill I need to brush up on too?

    Another question, for the sharpening, how do you apply the sharpening?
    There are a few options in photoshop (I am refering to the sharpening options under 'Filter'), which option did you use? cos I tried playing around with the sharpening, but couldn't see much effect
    I just used the simple adjustments offered by flickr.

    I think it would be much easier if you can use natural light to shoot the food; Also with the help of reflector & flag. Post processing is a must if you want perfection, no matter how good you are in your lighting technique. Think about if you are commissioned to shoot a product shot which will earn you thousands of dollars. Will you offer your client only second rate product?

    I will normally use a little Sharpening in the Raw editor. I have noticed your photo a little unsharp, this is due to low shutter speed and you holding the camera instead of using a tripod. For any kind of product shot, a tripod is a must. Of course, if you are shooting for personal pleasure, then is a different issue.

  19. #19
    Senior Member oracle0711's Avatar
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    Default Re: Newbie - Home sweet home

    About your questioning on bouncing light, i normally observe a few basic principles:

    1) Ceiling or bounce area must be white.
    2) Determine the right direction you want most of the light to fall and if possible direct it by using a huge bounce surface (if you do not want the ceiling). I normally buy those A1 size white mounting board when I am not using my monoblocs and accessories.
    3) I set my 580EX-2 to slave so that I can control the direction of the light. If necessary, i might sometime set up 2 to 3 580 EX-2 but all this depends on the situation and the setup of the dishes.

    You will have to play around with your flashes to know them better so that you determine the kind of lighting output you want.

    Hope the above helps...

    Cheers, shoot more and enjoy photography and of course the food.


    Quote Originally Posted by dawngel View Post
    Thanks oracle for the advice I saw your work on your blog..you are an expert in foodie shots^^

    This is indeed a rather spontaneous shot. The 2 plates of rice were placed inside a wok.
    I chose not to scope it out to retain the 'out from the wok' feel which I thought would increase the nostalgia feeling..

    Will take note of the lighting situation and the presentation/setting in my next shot..

    Question abt bouncing off flash: I read online that to bounce the flash is to face the flash either to the ceiling or a nearby surface so that the flash would not go direct on the subject.
    For this, is there any kind of rules to follow? or is it more like a trial and error thing? I haven't got a flash yet..maybe should think of getting one after I 'recuperate' abit ^^

    I saw a feature on Olympus EPL1 that can allow control of the amount of flash like 1/2flash, 1/4flash etc.
    Possible to achieve this with a full-fletch DSLR? I am using Canon 550D. Can't figure out how..

  20. #20
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    Default Re: Newbie - Home sweet home

    Quote Originally Posted by ettk75 View Post
    Hi, just some kind sharing.

    Since you are shooting in dim-lit room, you probably needs to check on the shutter speed and also not to shoot hand-held. The shutter speed that you set, may result in camera shake. What is the focal length you have set? ISO is quite ok, between 400 or 800. What about your white balance setting?

    There is camera shake present in this shot. Maybe you might want to use a tripod if you do not have steady hand. Always remember to use the breathing technique to reduce possible camera shake, together with the habit of fully press down the shutter release than to use the injection method (press and release instantly, which cause movement).
    WB is auto, Focal length is 30mm. After that shot, did some reading up. Shutter speed should be minimum 1/focal length to prevent camera shake?
    My hands are not very steady. Will practice your advice. Hope I can master it ^_^


    Quote Originally Posted by pokiemon View Post
    unfortunately i can't tell it is coming from a wok. -> as dream merchant has mentioned, use a wide angle lens.

    and if it is coming from a wok, you can capture some "soul" by capturing some steam as you open the lid.

    the other thing is if you didn't say it was yam rice, i wouldn't know those pieces were yam.

    so think about whether what your viewers see is what you want to convey across your message. this basic rule can help you along your composition.
    Hmm..something for me to ponder...I like your idea of capturing the steam..didn't think of that when I was composing the shot. ^^||| Will put more thinking in future shots to put in more feel..
    Phew..there is really a lot to learn for photography



    Quote Originally Posted by johnlim View Post
    I just used the simple adjustments offered by flickr.

    I think it would be much easier if you can use natural light to shoot the food; Also with the help of reflector & flag. Post processing is a must if you want perfection, no matter how good you are in your lighting technique. Think about if you are commissioned to shoot a product shot which will earn you thousands of dollars. Will you offer your client only second rate product?

    I will normally use a little Sharpening in the Raw editor. I have noticed your photo a little unsharp, this is due to low shutter speed and you holding the camera instead of using a tripod. For any kind of product shot, a tripod is a must. Of course, if you are shooting for personal pleasure, then is a different issue.
    I get what you mean. =) Btw, for the reflector technique, will I be able to use something like a smooth white surface..for example. a white board? Will it have similar effect?
    Last edited by dawngel; 1st May 2010 at 11:44 PM.

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