Hello all, thanks for the kind comments on this morning’s post on better home photography! I have a great guest today, one I’ve had the pleasure to work with and observe create magic in front of and behind the lens.
Please welcome back Matthew Mead, the incredible stylist, writer, author, and photographer behind Holiday Magazine. I invited him to share a few of his best tips for improving your photography, especially those detailed close ups he’s so brilliant at, and that desirable bokeh backdrop created with twinkle lights that we all love so much during the holidays.
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”When it comes to taking beautiful images with your camera it truly is a “practice makes perfect” proposition. But there certainly are some tricks of the trade that I have found repeatedly useful in photographing food and still life imagery.
I own a Canon Rebel XTI camera which is truly my right arm when it comes to my work. I have several different lens which I use for things like room shots and up close imagery like miniature items or tight details but the magic for me resides in the 50 mm 1.4 lens. This lens allows me to select a sharp focal point with everything else in the frame falling off softly in a very palatable “out of focus” style. I use multiple F-stops between 1.4 and 3.0 in order to achieve the desired degree of focus depending on the subject.
To begin, set your camera to manual. This will give you the most control over the image and allow you to manipulate the light to the best possible outcome. I am a huge fan of auto focus and find it most helpful when shooting food to allow me to work quickly and select multiple focal points in just a few minutes. The benefit of a manual shot also allows you to shoot RAW files which are the largest format file that you can create and will allow you the ability to manipulate your image in many different types of photo programs.
I shoot all daylight imagery so make sure you set yourself up in a situation that allows for plenty of light. A shear curtain or “scrim” is useful in cutting the light if it’s too bright or harsh. Remember that subjects that are light or white are best on the opposite side of the light source as they will become over lit or “blow out” in too much light.