I would like to introduce you to my good friend Darina Kopcok. Darina is a very talented food photographer and blogger/writer in Vancouver, BC, Canada. She’s actually come up with a very helpful guide on composition for food photography. She’s created this guest post to tell you all about her new eBook.
This post contains affiliate links. Should you choose to purchase the eBook, I will receive a commission at no cost to you.
BY DARINA KOPCOK
A photography instructor once told me, “If you can shoot food, you can shoot anything.” Although every genre of photography has its specific challenges, shooting food is tough. Food may be delicious, but that doesn’t translate well to photographs without a lot of work. Plus, most food begins to die a quick death as soon as you set it down, giving you a very small window to work in.
One of the most difficult aspects of shooting food is composition. Still life photography is a process of building and assessing. You put a couple of props down, take a shot and see how it all looks. You move a prop or the food, add something, or take it away. You tinker until things look good.
The problem is, how do you really know it looks good? Or, if it looks bad, how do you figure out why? And how do you fix it?
In my work with food bloggers and photographers, I hear a lot about the challenges of composition. My students struggle with how to arrange their subjects and props. Where should the plates go? Which direction should the cutlery face? How many objects are too many in a frame?
You may have the same struggles. Or maybe you already know something about compositional principles, but understanding them intellectually doesn’t really help you create better images.
Composition is something that always frustrated me in my journey to improve my food photography. Anything but a very minimalist composition stumped me. I studied other images and tried to mimic the composition but that didn’t help much. Eventually I started drawing out my sets beforehand, and soon found these simple sketches made all the difference.
Figuring out where I wanted to draw the viewer’s attention before I picked up my camera helped me create stronger images. Thinking through how I wanted my props and subjects to flow through the frame allowed me to work a lot faster, with improved results.
My drawings gave me a framework for my food photography that I could refer to again and again for different subjects, while still creating fresh images.
Portrait photographers have posing manuals. Why can’t food photographers have a posing guide of sorts? Having a template to work from was the inspiration behind my eBook Rule-of-Thirds: A Guide to Composition for Food Photography. Not only is it a manual on compositional principles—it’s a guide to how to place your food and props on set to make more powerful food photographs.
The book contains 42 digitized versions of drawings from the sketchbook that I use to map out my shoots. If you ever get stuck creating the same old compositions, or trying to figure out how to make a pattern with your dishes, these templates will help you take your images to the next level.
You can study your favorite food photographs and use the compositions as inspiration, but you might not get the results you want. Here’s why: when we look at a photograph, the mind processes the lighting, the colors, and the texture in addition to the placement of the objects within the frame. It’s much quicker and easier to process shape when there are very few details.
This is the idea behind the book. I not only give you graphical representations of compositions that work for food photography, but also provide detailed recommendations for foods, backgrounds and props that you can use in your set-ups. This will be a great guide for you if you’re a beginner, but also if you’re farther along on your journey and need to break out of a rut.
Rule-of-Thirds will empower you to quickly improve your compositions. It takes years to internalize good composition and work by instinct. The vectors in this book act as prompts or guides in creating images that work according to the principles of composition, and take a lot of the guesswork out of what you should put in your frame. From minimalist approaches to more complicated tablescapes, the templates will help you created an endless number of compositions for your food photography. I myself still refer to them almost every time I shoot.
I’m so excited to bring this eBook to you because this is exactly the kind of product I wish I had when I was working on improving my food photography.
Here is the Table Of Contents so you can see everything that is included in the eBook.
PLEASE NOTE: IF YOU HAVE AN OLDER MAC OS – YOU MIGHT HAVE TO USE ADOBE ACROBAT INSTEAD OF PREVIEW TO GET THE FULL FUNCTIONALITY OF THE EBOOK.
Want to learn more about composition AND see an amazing tool to help you create your composition? Click here to see Composition Overlays Templates.