Sushi roll picture


Jan 5, 2009
84
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#1

http://www.flickr.com/photos/34452337@N02/5559710763/
1.in what area is critique to be sought?

I would like to show how delicious the food is as I love taking pictures of food. However, most restaurants have low lighting and I find it very difficult to take a sharp picture with the correct white balance.
I would like feedback on the composition, focus and whether my settings are correct.

The equipment and settings used are:
Canon 450D, EF100mm f2.8, ISO800, F3.5, shutter 1/50,White balance Tungsten, AF mode - one shot AF, evaluative metering, 0 exposure compensation, no flash


2.what one hopes to achieve with the piece of work?

I want the food to look as delicious to the viewer as it is to me.

3.under what circumstance is the picture taken? (physical conditions/emotions)

I took the food under low yellow light conditions and I focused on the orange mentai stuff on the top of the green avocado


4.what the critique seeker personally thinks of the picture

I feel that I can be better, the white balance looks too yellow. I thought using tungsten white balance would help but it didn't seem to help. Not sure what I am doing wrong. If there are suggestions on how I can take a picture with the built-in flash (without making the picture look washed out), feel free to suggest too.. thanks
 

Last edited:

foxtwo

Senior Member
Mar 11, 2004
2,523
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36
singapore
#2
Here's what I found to set your camera to use custom white balance. http://www.5min.com/Video/Canon-XSi450D-Set-White-Balance-Function-146407970 Alternatively is to shoot in RAW then edit in Camera Raw, but you need to be able to identify the neutral grey (white works too I guess but I always go for grey). http://help.adobe.com/en_US/Photoshop/11.0/WSC882A0B5-25E1-447d-8386-B5D60F24AE02.html

I feel the warm tone is still acceptable considering it was shot without proper lighting. There are worst examples out there with white balance uncorrected so you didn't do too bad.

If you find the on board flash washing out the image it means the flash is too strong. You were using f3.5 @ iso800. Flash power would have to be very low under those conditions. Use your on board as a fill in and line it with tissue paper to soften the light. You can also get one of those fancy on board flash modifiers but seriously what's the point, heh. You'll be trying to sell it off the moment you move on to an external flash head. Daylight from a window is still the preferred light source. Bring along a small white card or paper as a poor man's reflector, bigger (than A4) is better but you probably don't want to embarrass your dinner partner. :p

Composition, the cutting off of the left & right rolls aren't very nice. Try to at least frame the first roll into the frame. It's better to increase your aperture to get your front sharp too, and then if you decide, to create a thin DOF later in PS. This way also helps you in the flash management. Be free to experiment with angles, isometric is so overdone for food. Subject placed in series always makes for good and easy composition. Finding a nice background can be a problem, but photography's all about solving them.

Going small and tight with framing is good, as you're doing the best with your equipment. Some times having props like a pair of chop sticks are nice but they're an added headache. Where and how to place them to complement the image? Are they tidy? What colour are they and how it factors into exposure? Are shadows a problem? A bigger framing also means you have to compose the side of the bowl/plate. An on board flash doesn't allow you to play with light much so it's better to not have these 'happy' problems. :)
 

Peano

New Member
Jul 30, 2008
200
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Washington, D.C.
www.radiantpics.com
#3
The yellow cast from the lighting is fairly obvious. I would color correct for that. I also selectively sharpened the central part that is
in sharp focus, opened shadow details a bit, and added a slight vignette top and bottom to pull the light more into the middle
where the food is in focus. Looks very inviting to me!

 

wootsk

Deregistered
Aug 12, 2007
1,689
0
0
Small Island
#4
Regarding WB, you can:
1. Take the photo with a grey card and PP it off after fixing WB in photoshop.
2. Adjust your camera WB on the spot with custom WB and a grey card.
3. Fix it in photoshop using "average blur" method.

Regarding food photography, it is quite important to produce accurate color aside from making it looks delicious (even if it is unrealistic nice looking and big like those fast food burger). Imagine you having a brown and beach colored sponge cake turn orange due to incorrect WB.
 

ursuladeux

New Member
Jan 5, 2009
84
0
0
#5
Here's what I found to set your camera to use custom white balance. http://www.5min.com/Video/Canon-XSi450D-Set-White-Balance-Function-146407970 Alternatively is to shoot in RAW then edit in Camera Raw, but you need to be able to identify the neutral grey (white works too I guess but I always go for grey). http://help.adobe.com/en_US/Photoshop/11.0/WSC882A0B5-25E1-447d-8386-B5D60F24AE02.html

I feel the warm tone is still acceptable considering it was shot without proper lighting. There are worst examples out there with white balance uncorrected so you didn't do too bad.

If you find the on board flash washing out the image it means the flash is too strong. You were using f3.5 @ iso800. Flash power would have to be very low under those conditions. Use your on board as a fill in and line it with tissue paper to soften the light. You can also get one of those fancy on board flash modifiers but seriously what's the point, heh. You'll be trying to sell it off the moment you move on to an external flash head. Daylight from a window is still the preferred light source. Bring along a small white card or paper as a poor man's reflector, bigger (than A4) is better but you probably don't want to embarrass your dinner partner. :p

Composition, the cutting off of the left & right rolls aren't very nice. Try to at least frame the first roll into the frame. It's better to increase your aperture to get your front sharp too, and then if you decide, to create a thin DOF later in PS. This way also helps you in the flash management. Be free to experiment with angles, isometric is so overdone for food. Subject placed in series always makes for good and easy composition. Finding a nice background can be a problem, but photography's all about solving them.

Going small and tight with framing is good, as you're doing the best with your equipment. Some times having props like a pair of chop sticks are nice but they're an added headache. Where and how to place them to complement the image? Are they tidy? What colour are they and how it factors into exposure? Are shadows a problem? A bigger framing also means you have to compose the side of the bowl/plate. An on board flash doesn't allow you to play with light much so it's better to not have these 'happy' problems. :)
hi, thanks for your comments :)
i wasn't using any flash actually. I have an external flash, but I think its too embarassing to bring it out while having dinner.. and yes my dinner companions would feel paisay..haha.. how about a DIY diffuser for the on board flash? Would that make the picture better? I have heard of pple using old film camera storage boxes as DIY diffusers.

oh, I get your point about not cutting the food off.. :) Don't mind me asking, I am not sure what you meant by isometric? can explain more? heh
 

ursuladeux

New Member
Jan 5, 2009
84
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0
#6
Peano: Oh thanks, yes it looks more delicious now!

wootsk: noted your point, can I ask if such grey cards can be purchased from any camera shops? There is one time this camera shop tried to sell me a ND filter, he said can give my photos an accurate color cast, but I find the filter quite expensive, so didn't bother to check it out. Plus I thought I can just adjust the color cast for my RAW pics anyway. Does the grey card you mentioned function in a similar way as an ND filter?
 

foxtwo

Senior Member
Mar 11, 2004
2,523
0
36
singapore
#7
hi, thanks for your comments :)
i wasn't using any flash actually. I have an external flash, but I think its too embarassing to bring it out while having dinner.. and yes my dinner companions would feel paisay..haha.. how about a DIY diffuser for the on board flash? Would that make the picture better? I have heard of pple using old film camera storage boxes as DIY diffusers.

oh, I get your point about not cutting the food off.. :) Don't mind me asking, I am not sure what you meant by isometric? can explain more? heh
"using old film camera storage boxes as DIY diffusers." that's news to me but should work to a degree. looks kinda wacky though, make sure it doesn't drop into the soup. :)

isometric, angling the point of view from 45 degrees down of the left/right of subject. I'd say it's the most often or standard framing for food but doesn't say creative or play to its strengths (colour, shape, arrangement, etc). How the chef lays the food out on the plate may not be the same as how you photograph it. In other words, styling. Of course the bigger problem is, you'll have to check if your companions might object to you playing with their food first. :p
 

foxtwo

Senior Member
Mar 11, 2004
2,523
0
36
singapore
#8
You best get a grey card from Cathay Photo, they should have stock but try not to openly gag at the price, it's rather expensive for (just) a piece of card. Better to just set your custom WB at the location. You can also get a colour chart instead. Something like this, http://www.pantone.com/pages/products/product.aspx?pid=13&ca=2
price unknown.

It works very much differently from a ND (neutral density) filter. ND filters are used to lengthen exposure time, landscape photographers like to use them to make running water appear silky smooth.

It's not say a must to get a grey card, when you shoot for yourself.
 

wootsk

Deregistered
Aug 12, 2007
1,689
0
0
Small Island
#9
I forgot, there is also another item call expodisk (Alot of other quite similiar cheaper products are also out that works like expodisk) which can help calibrate white balance. They are useful though not as accurate, they work best on skin tone. The best is actually a grey card in the photo from my POV. There are quite a few other place except Cathay Photo which sells grey card as well at a cheaper price. You will need to do a bit of homework regarding it.

Correcting WB with ND filter is a huge smokescreen. ND filter doesn't correct WB though the name sounds cool (Netural Density)
 

ursuladeux

New Member
Jan 5, 2009
84
0
0
#10
Thanks all! :)
I shall practice some more.. no extra dough to look at buying grey card for now..
 

ursuladeux

New Member
Jan 5, 2009
84
0
0
#11
Thanks all! :)
I shall practice some more.. no extra dough to look at buying grey card for now..
 

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