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May 3, 2012 | 12:00 a.m. CST
Momma always taught you not to play with your food. Well, she better get with the times — food photography is the new sliced bread of the photo universe.
Columbia Area Career Center is offering a new Plate to Pixel food photography class to teach newbie food photographers the insider tips and techniques to make photos look good enough to eat.
Exhibits dedicated to the delicious and sensual art have been cropping up everywhere, including shows this spring at Columbia Art League and PS: Gallery. The vibrant cuisine photos meant to awaken all five senses have been gracing the front covers of leading magazines, and food is ready for its close-up.
Plate to Pixel instructor and photographer Kerri Cornine along with former Sushi á la Mode magazine publisher and photographer Amy Parris share the tricks they’ve learned the hard (or soft or crunchy or buttery or tender or creamy) way.
Plate to Pixel
Prerequisite: Introduction to Digital Photography or Photography experience
Registration required. DSLR cameras are not required, but recommended.
Where: Columbia Area Career Center, Room 116
When: May 17, 6-9 p.m.
Cost: $44, ages 18 and older
1.) Natural light gives the best results, Cornine says. She prefers putting the food at a 45-degree angle to the source of light. Don’t give up — getting the best lighting is a skill that comes with practice. “Soon you’ll start to see the right yummy light everywhere,” Cornine says.
2.) When styling, don’t put too much on a plate, Parris says. Simple is often better. If you have a big plate of food, you might want to separate some of it onto smaller plates in the background. Parris’ first photo shoot was a yogurt parfait layered elaborately in a cup, but overall the food looked too posed. “I never ended up using the shot because it was just too pretty,” Parris says referring to the photograph.
3.) Take pictures of the preparation and eating process. It’s not appealing for viewers to eat a perfect waxy-looking piece of fruit. “You want to see some life,” Parris says. “Show a tomato bleeding and the knife with olive oil lying next to it.”
4.) Cornine recommends putting the food in a setting. Use a wide angle to show the kitchen where the food was prepared. Colored tablecloths, distressed wood and picnic tables can also be used as a backdrop. “One time I shot coffee-flavored cupcakes for a friend, and I used coffee beans for the setting,” Cornine says.
5.) A single photograph can tell a story, Cornine says. A series of photographs can also portray a message and add a human-interest element.
6.) Invest in a reflector, Parris says. You can purchase one at Walmart for around $10. Use it to diffuse the light and have the ability to take quality shots at all times of the day.
7.) Try different angles, Cornine says. Get down on the same plane as the plate; don’t just fall back on shooting from above. “Think about using zigzags or triangles in your composition of the food,” Cornine says.
8.) Get good equipment, Parris says. You might have a good eye for photography, but it can only benefit you to learn how to use a camera and get a good one. If you want to have a successful blog or get your photo in print, you need the right tools.