I am a completely self-taught (and always improving) photographer. Some of what I know is from reading books and online material, but most of what I know is from a lot of trial and error.
At a high level, I use a Canon t3i DSLR camera and shoot exclusively in natural light. I do limited photo editing to enhance the quality but I also like to preserve the integrity of the original image so that my photos look as close to reality as possible. All of the photos used on my website are original work so feel free to spread the love but link it back to me, por favor.
Although I shoot with a digital SLR camera (Canon t3i) you do NOT need a fancy camera to take good pictures. Here are a few introductory tips that I have for someone who is just starting out:
1.) First and foremost, the MOST important thing when you are taking pictures is the light source. I only shoot in natural light during the middle of the day when it is peak time for sun. The word photography is derived from Greek; “fotos” is the Greek word for “light” and “graphein” means “to draw. To put it very simply, when you’re shooting in natural light the camera doesn’t have to work as hard to find the image and the pictures come out as clear as day!
I don’t want to get too technical into aperture, shadows, composition, shutter speed, exposure, ISO speed and all of that stuff because I am still learning all of that, but I do anticipate being able to speak to those concepts soon. I think all aspiring photographers should eventually learn about all of those concepts eventually because they will help you be very deliberate and technical in your photography.
2.) Another thing you can work with is food styling. This can mean buying cute dishes and napkins and utensils to add to your pictures that enhance the photo but don’t detract too much from the food itself. I am actually a minimalist when it comes to food styling - I don’t like to dress it up too much just because I want the focus to be the food, but a lot of food photographers (and photo submission websites) disagree with me. I say screw that. Photograph in a way that makes you proud and it will be beautiful. Another thing I am working on right now is finding some cool backgrounds to photograph my food on. I found some old pieces of wood that I am going to paint different colors, and a big slab of slate that I’ve been using a bit. I also like to take pictures against plain white space and various wood tables.
3.) Editing is another area that is a bit tricky. Personally, I am conflicted because I want my photos to be as honest as possible, but the truth of the matter is that some pictures just look better once they’ve been manipulated a bit. Most food photographers use Lightroom as a program to edit their photos but I didn’t want to pay for that quite yet. I found a free program online called Photoscape and I really, really like it. It’s got everything that I need and it was FREE! No brainer.
I hope this is helpful. Feel free to send me any questions and I will do my best to help always.
I will continue to build this page with recommended resources for aspiring photographers, as I am still a work in progress myself and I learn something new everyday that I practice!