22 April 2015

#FoodOnAPlate With SmugMug

There's no denying it, I love food! But even more so (maybe that's a slight exaggeration), I love sharing my favourite dishes whether prepared myself or at the hands of another fine individual with you all via the blog or social media - Instagram & Twitter mainly because I like to go crazy with the hashtags! 

By no means, am I a great photographer, nor am I a fantastic cook but what I like to think is that I have great imagination and I often visualise how I'm going to prepare my food, cook my food and how I'm going to present something I'm so proud of to the world. So when I was contacted by the guys over at SmugMug for an intimate blogger group event to learn how to capture the perfect plate, I obviously jumped at it! What's not to love about an event with food, photography, bloggers and the chance to meet/ learn?

Alastair Jolly of SmugMug

Unlike many amazing photographic technology available online at the moment, SmugMug really is different! Minus the general photographic site offering of filters and colour effects (SmugMug has this too!), SmugMug is a paid photo-sharing software and image hosting service which allows users to capture and upload both HD photos and videos to their SmugMug accounts whilst making it super easy to safely store, backup, share and sell your photos online. This means whether you are a professional or amateur photographer, you have the opportunity to make money from your photos simply by uploading them to the site and sharing them...simple!  This US family run business launched in 2002, and offers an incredible tool set which facilitates the selling of digital and print media for both amateur and professional photographers.

 Capturing the Perfect Plate with SmugMug 

At the #FoodOnAPlate event, held at a stunning photography studio in Camden which was hosted by ex-photographer & now SmugMug UK representative Alastair Jolly and the UK's leading food photographer Howard Shooter, I learnt a little about how SmugMug was founded, is currently run (real lovely family vibes) and most importantly how to take great images of a perfect plate of food by a real expert! Howard Shooter is the man behind the lens, responsible for the delicious photography works for brands like Marks & Spencer, KFC, Green and Blacks and Weight Watchers. I was also lucky enough to spend the evening with an actual food stylist, Denise Smart who made styling a plate look so easy!

Howard Shooter & Denise Smart

What I learnt about food photography at the SmugMug #FoodOnAPlate workshop was:
  • A simple technique to get the best out of food photography is lighting! For this, all you need is a few props, natural lighting from say, your window & Howard's incredible knowledge of 180 degrees of lighting.
  • Try moving the camera and table top around in a clock movement the light dramatically alters the way the food looks.
  • You don't need to splurge on the latest and most expensive camera and accessories! Instead try using a 50mm lens with you standard DSLR camera body.
  • There are all sorts of traditional tricks photographers and brands use to make their food more tantalizing and irresistible including...
Table of tricks and tools used by professional food photographer Howard Shooter

Taking to a tortilla with a marker pen to make it look more toasty when shooting.

By dipping a clean tampon into boiling water, placing on a plate and strategically placing behind 
a plate of food, you can instantly create an illusion of a perfect plate of steaming hot food.

If you would like to know more, take some tips from the slides I was shown at the event by Howard himself below...

0 degrees, front lighting (as shown below) is not very appealing but very popular on sites like Instagram

90 degrees, side lighting: most food shots are taken with this method...

130 degrees, ¾ backlight - Howard's favourite which looks pretty good...don't you think?

180 degrees, back lighting is the winning photo! #skills

I hope you liked my review of the #FoodOnAPlate With SmugMug workshop and you have found this post not only interesting but helpful! If you want to give SmugMug a try yourself head over the site here and also check out my new profile too! http://chloepierre.smugmug.com 

As SmugMug says...
'Here’s to making beautiful pictures together!'

CP xo


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