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Book Review – Food Photography: From Snapshots To Great Shots By Nicole S. Young

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Food Photography: From Snapshots To Great Shots is a book that is geared toward “foodies” – those who want to take eye-catching photos of culinary delights. In this book, author Nicole S. Young takes you through everything that you need to create photographs of your favorite foods as well as techniques for making images of food appear as delicious as it tastes.

It doesn’t matter if you are a food author and want to supplement your written words with high quality images, a blogger who wants to show what the final outcome of a recipe that you are sharing looks like, or you want to get into professional food photography, the goal of Food Photography: From Snapshots To Great Shots is to provide you with all of the tools and techniques to create high quality images that truly express the beauty of the food that you create. This book is 288 pages in length and is contained in 7 chapters.

Chapter 1, “Photography Fundamentals,” begins with the idea that the basics of food photography are really no different than those of other genres. Here as well as with any kind of photography, it is important to have a handle on the basics of aperture, shutter speed, and white balance if you want to make high quality images.

In this chapter you will review the basics that you need to create high quality images when working with food. This includes working with RAW files as opposed to JPG’s, using white balance and how it can affect the color of food, as well as looking at the exposure triangle – aperture, shutter speed, and ISO, and how they affect the shots you take.

Chapter 2, “Photography Equipment,” is important in that to take quality photographs of food there is a certain gear that you will need. It doesn’t have to be the highest quality, but there are some basics that you should have if you want to reach a certain level of quality.

Here you will look at the various types of cameras – point & shoot vs. DSLR’s, full frame vs. cropped sensors, and what kind of camera that you should buy. You will also take a look at the different kinds of lenses that you should consider and how they affect the look of the food that you will be shooting. You will also consider accessories such as tripods reflectors, cable releases, and lights.

Chapter 3, “Lighting,” is the most important aspect of any kind of photography and with food photography, it is no different. It is because of this, that this may be the most important chapter of this book. While overall most of the setups are basic simple lighting, it is the nuances’ that make the difference in how the image will all come together.

You will explore the various aspects of light including its quality – color, intensity, and distance, as well as what kind of lighting works best when photographing food. You will also look at the types of light – natural, strobe, flash, and continuous, as well as the various tools that you can use to modify the light.

Chapter 4, “Styling & Props,” form the basics of food presentation. When you look at a photograph of food, you only have your sense of sight to capture what the rest of your senses can only imagine. When it is done correctly, the viewer of your image will feel the desire to want to sample the food.

In this chapter you will take into consideration things like, should you use a food stylist – a professional artist whose specialty is laying out food in its best light, ethical situations, and food quality. You will also get into the basics of food styling. This includes the use of gadgets and tools that you should have on hand to help you with your presentation. You will also learn about various styling tips and tricks to ad bulk, how to work with garnish6es, faking grill marks, and adding steam to the look. You will also work with props such as dishes and other accessories.

About T. Michael Testi

Photographer, writer, software engineer, educator, and maker of fine images.