5 Magic First Steps to Transform Your Food Photography

5 Magic First Steps to Transform Your Food Photography

Ready to learn about 5 key food photography first steps you need to elevate your work from amateur to food blogger (or even pre-professional)? Get out a sticky note and a pen and get ready to jot these down.

Before we get into it, be sure to Pin this image to Pinterest to have it saved for later! Plus, it helps this post to reach more people and help more aspiring food photographers. 🙂

To my #1 fan(s). 😉 Thank you all for your continued support — it honestly means the world to me when you all read my posts.

Blogging Update: July 2020

Three months ago, I purchased my domain and WordPress with Bluehost and made my very first post! (Read it here.)

Two months ago, I clicked “Launch your site” and www.houbakes.com officially went live to the world!

One month ago, I made my own DIY food photography backdrops (see how I made them here!) and started borrowing my Dad’s DSLR camera to up my food photography game. Check out my gallery for my personal favourite shots!

In the past three months, I’ve learned so much about photography, blogging, Pinterest, SEO, Instagram hashtags, and more! Here’s a brief summary of my blogging adventure thus far:

Getting Started: food photography first steps

Improving my food photos has been my biggest focus in the past month. I’ve made dramatic changes in my work with only 5 super simple and easy steps. This isn’t the formula to professional, magazine-quality photos, but they will certainly transform your food photography without a lot of effort.

Let’s start with a quick before & after:

Hehe … and maybe one more!

I see a pretty big difference — do you? And all with just these food photography first steps. 🙂

Here are the small steps with a big impact that I made to get from A to B:

1. Backdrops!

Adding backdrops to my little photography toolkit was the #1 game changer for me! Not only did it instantly make my scene seem so much more polished and refined, but made it easier to achieve a consistent look and style every time I took a photo.

Most importantly, it made me feel instantly more legit! It sounds silly, but setting up my own little mini “studio” made me feel less like a simple amateur food enthusiast and more like a food blogger. It made me feel more committed to learning more and improving my photography.

Making my own food photography backdrops was really easy to do, and they came out really affordable — less than $10 each! Check out the post to learn how to make your own. 🙂

Looking to purchase instead of DIY? Check out: Ink and Elm, Capture by Lucy, Bessie Bakes Backdrops, or Replica Surfaces for more affordable options. If you have more coin to spend, definitely check out Erickson Surfaces or Woodville Workshop.

2. A DSLR camera + Editing Software

What a learning curve! I started out with taking photos on the Program setting and choosing focal lengths at random from a 24-70mm lens 😅😅 and now I take my photos fully manual with a 50mm prime lens (and figuring out I like to underexpose my photos). Looking forward to learning more and looking back at this post to see how I’ve grown!

As far as editing software goes, I know that everyone recommends Lightroom. It’s definitely a powerful and easy-to-use program with tons of resources available online. However, I’ve been using RawTherapee. It’s a free, open-source software available on Mac and Windows that’s incredibly powerful! Although it’s less intuitive than Lightroom at first, but pretty easy to use once you get the hang of it.

3. Lighting: Windows and Bounce boards

Before, I used to just take my photos on my kitchen counter (not-so-good lighting). Sometimes, especially after my late-night baking adventures, these would be taken with some harsh fluorescent side-lighting. Oof.

Now I set up a little mini studio right by these big, south-facing windows in our kitchen. I bought myself a $2 foam core white board from Dollarama which serves as a perfect bounce board to keep this lovely lighting in my scene.

Check out my Instagram highlight showing the big difference that using a bounce board can make in your photos:

4. Props (and more props)

Although most kitchens will already have some great props (cheesecloth, utensils, mugs and plates, measuring cups, etc.), I wanted some more cohesive ceramics that could tie everything together. I bought a couple of minimalistic plates and bowls at Oomomo with my mum to get me started. 🙂 When more stores open up, COVID concerns lessen, and things get a little more “normal”, I’m planning on visiting my local thrift store for some more vintage/rustic finds! (And share the haul on Instagram, ofc.)

5. Composition

This is still something I need to work on. Currently, my main goal is to use compositional rules more actively and with more awareness, rather than just “going with my gut” and guessing what looks good. Sometimes, placing objects or props randomly has worked, but I think practising using compositional rules more actively can help me to internalize them and be able to use them on autopilot at some point in the future. 🙂

Follow along with my learning process as I break down different photos into their different compositional techniques on my Instagram series, Learn with Me.

Here are some of the rules of composition that I’m trying to use more:
• Rule of Thirds
• Symmetry
• Framing and Layering
• Texture
• Negative Space
• Movement
• Waterfall Technique

6. Consistent Practice & Never stop learning

To finish off — I just wanted to say that I’m still not done. I’m far from done! There’s still so much more for me to learn and practice and implement. Hopefully you’ll stick around and join me on this lovely journey. <3

Complex carbs, cookies, and kisses,

Soph written in script font with a heart.

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