My phone shots often look better than my camera ones.

Discussion in 'Beyond the Basics' started by redbourn, Jan 1, 2016.

  1. redbourn

    redbourn No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    breaded chicken-.jpg

    I have a Nikon D330o - a softbox, a wide angle lens, reflector and a gray card.

    But so often snapshots on my phone look better than with all my equipment.

    This photo, shot on my phone, under overhead fluorescent lighting, and on a shiny wood table would most likely have had all kinds of problems when shot with my camera and lighting.

    So what's going on?

    Thanks,

    Michael


     
  2. cherylynne1

    cherylynne1 No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Can you post a problem shot with your equipment?

    My guess would be you're probably having trouble either visualizing light or with manual settings. But a picture would help.
     
  3. redbourn

    redbourn No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Thanks so much for your response.

    Lighting is the problem.

    Am shooting photos for a cookbook that I've almost written.

    This photo, shot with my camera and lightbox, would have been pretty good, I think, except for the reflections in the olives.

    Unlikely that this would have happened if I'd taken it with my phone.

    Photos for my book will only be about 7 x 7" and my phone has plenty of resolution for that.

    breaded fish.jpg
     
  4. cherylynne1

    cherylynne1 No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Well, I'm not a food photographer, so I hope someone else will chime in. But I disagree. I don't think the phone image looks better. The light looks flat and uninteresting. If you look at photos of food on TV or in cookbooks, they always glisten. They spray extra oil or water on them just to make sure that tomatoes and olives have those tiny, glistening reflections. It makes food appetizing.

    I would actually try going for more shadows by lowering your ambient light. I also think your white balance might be slightly off...the colors of the food just don't look quite as deep and rich as they could be. I'd play with the post processing a bit more. The white balance of the phone photo looks correct to me, so maybe that's the difference you're seeing.

    I think if you're going through all the trouble of self-publishing a cookbook, you owe it to yourself to accompany it with the best photos you can. I think with a little more practice, you'll be able to get there with your equipment. You've put so much work into it already, now is not the time to take the easy way out.
     
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  5. cherylynne1

    cherylynne1 No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Here's a good article from Lightstalkers:

    How to Photograph Food For Professional-Standard Shots

    Maybe try natural light with a reflector instead of the softbox? And try a few different angles and playing with wider apertures? The photos in the article look pretty amazing to me.
     
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  6. jcdeboever

    jcdeboever TPF Supporters Supporting Member

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    ^^^^^ this looks to be very a helpful link that cherylynne1 posted.

    the white takes over the image in both methods.
     
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  7. redbourn

    redbourn No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Thanks for the reply.

    The glisten often looks gray which is what I particularly don't like. The olive bottom right.

    I'm only using the softbox. At night with no other lights on.

    I have Photoshop and LR so I have the tools. I actually made this photo more contrasty than I personally like. My youngest son said a few days ago that I need to have more contrast so I put the same photo twice on Facebook one similar to this one and one with less contrast and people preferred the one with more contrast. The issue might be that I prefer water color to oil.

    I use a gray card and LR sets the temperature to 4800 but my bulb is 5500 and I don't know which one is more reliable.

    I won't go back to using the phone for the book.
     
  8. redbourn

    redbourn No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Thanks and I will check out the link.

    I did use natural light for a while and the photos looked good but were a little flat. And then winter arrived !

    I have a big reflector, too big really and I just ordered some small ones.

    I will read and practice more!
     
  9. redbourn

    redbourn No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I just took a quick look at the article and it looks like it will be very helpful.
     
  10. redbourn

    redbourn No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Read it and will reread it several times.

    Maybe biggest tip for me ?

    I will try natural with a reflector.

    Thanks


    • Natural window lighting usually rules the roost in professional food photography. (If you can get natural window lighting on an overcast day, then you’re even luckier). The soft, dispersed lighting usually given by natural window lighting that casts very soft shadows works beautifully with a lot of food photographs. Generally the best lighting is from the front side (ie coming over the shoulder of the photographer), but all angles of natural light can be made to work. Depending on how much light is available, you may need to consider a tripod.
    • Reflectors – If you want to disperse the light even more or tone down some of the shadows, then reflecting natural lighting is also high on the scale of desirability. This can be done with a purpose-built reflector or you can improvise with light coloured material (white sheets/cloths) or reflective material (foil).
     

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