Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Adding life to your food photos - an exercise in food photography

Many times when I take pictures of the food, I am almost alone at home and never have a chance to request someone to be my 'live prop' for the picture. I have seen that many bloggers take some beautiful pictures holding the bowl or a slice of cake and so on. I had seen on Flickr someone share a photo of a cake they baked for the child's 2 nd birthday with two of the tot's fingers on the cake indicating her age. Similarly I loved the picture in Soma's guest post in Namitha's page. I wished that I cooked something that delicious and took a picture as good too.
I have, however tried my stunts with adding life, as Aparna suggests this month for the exercise many times before too. I made the sugar syrup and wanted to show the consistency by pulling a small portion of it between my fingers, filling up the golgappe and some more. However, I was shooting mostly on automatic settings then. Now that I am slightly more confident to venture further and shoot manual, I find it hard to hold the camera with one hand and use the other as a prop. Trying to have the camera set on a tripod or a base does not seem to help when you are alone. I just do not seem to fix exactly how near or further I need to move to be in good focus.Thanks to the vary angle monitor and a fixed focal length lens, I tried some pictures for this exercise. Even then not to my satisfaction.
My husband suggested making golgappe when I was reading out the ingredients off a Haldirams packet of aloo bujiya to try making it at home. Thus I had a nice photo situation for the exercise. The seasonal rains and the permanent cloud cover plays spoil sport, yet I hoped that we will have enough natural light to take pictures when my husband is home after office.
I had the puris and the sev and the required accompaniments made and ready and even before he would want to try, I had him do the filling and shoot the pictures, much testing a hungry man's patience. Nonetheless, I have photos to share here.

 Lens Nikkor 35mm f/.8 @ 1/13 seconds,  f/3.5,  ISO 400

 Lens 35mmf/1.8  @ 1/15 seconds, f/3.5, ISO 400

The aloo bujiya recipe will have to wait for another post, but you may find the golgappe here.

The other picture I would like to share is that of the ellu poornam filled kozhukkattai which I made for the Ganesh Chathurthi and did so with the camera supported on a few books on the work table. I used the close focusing prime lens so that I can stand close and check my picture settings on the monitor.

 In clockwise rotation the pictures in the collage below have been taken with these settings

 1/25 seconds  f/2.5  ISO 250                                                      
 1/15 seconds  f/3.2  ISO 250
 1/8   seconds  f/3.2  ISO 250


You may notice that while the powdered filling has a good focus on the hand holding the spoon too, the other picture with the outer dough cups the focus has shifted to the cups and the hand is off focus.

And this last one is that of the syrup consistency taken with automatic settings.


I find adding a human touch interesting if done using that well as I mentioned in the beginning. Those two pictures specially had me very inspiring as were the oft viewed picture in Tongue Ticklers, those of Harini's Avarakkai poduthuval and Carrots, leek and zucchini soup.
I am hoping to reach there sometime with perseverance. But for now, I shall be happy if you found mine good enough to have posted for the exercise.


  1. Well clicked and luv the golgappas too. Wish I am there, nanna mosukkiyirukkalaam

  2. Love the way you are playing with your camera lataji! Love all the clicks!!

  3. wonderful clicks and kudos to u for giving so much concentration on photography to make the pictures look very active and lively. The gol gappas look so perfect that I would love to gobble up the whole plate.

  4. Nice pics akka and tell uncle he makes a good hand model :)

  5. Omg, you are simply rocking Akka, seriously wish i do click beautiful pictures like you do. Btw gol gappas looks irresistible and highly inviting.

  6. Nice photos...I really had tough time shooting this theme...Loved the second golgappe click and the filling click..

  7. Super clicks.. I love the thread one.. So nice article

  8. Lata, that's a nice prime lens you have. I have read its a good one. I meant to take part in this challenge as I like using hands and people in food photographs, but what with exams going on, no one is volunteering for my 'exercises'.:D You have done well, especially with the paani puris.:) Also like the 'ek taar' photo.

  9. Nice pictures. Maybe when I have a better camera, I will re-visit this post.


Welcome and thank you for taking time to drop by.
I appreciate your valuable comments and tips.
I sincerely hope to improve with them.
Hope we shall interact often.
Thanks once again,
Lata Raja.