A Handy Dandy Photography Tip
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Today, I wanted to share a quick photography tip. Please note, I’m not a professional. I’m learning as I go, just like many of you. Some things work. And some just don’t. But the little handy dandy tip I’m about to share works like a charm for me, time and time again.
Recently I shot a series of photos for a post for Tasty Kitchen on How to Open A Pomegranate. Maybe you noticed them? Fruit and veggies are always one of my favorite foods to photograph. The colors and shapes are rich and alluring on their own, which make it easier to create a great image. Even so, sometimes, even with the most perfect subject, the lighting sometimes needs a bit of help.
Plus, I have to admit, my kitchen is bathed in natural light, which for the most part, is mighty nifty. Yet, there are those times when the light is so harsh, it’s difficult to manage. Below shows my setup for the pomegranate photos.
(Please overlook the messiness. You’ll also notice the heart pine surface my husband made for me. Man, I love that man.)
It’s a pretty typical set-up I use for quick food shots. Notice the window? That’s handy dandy inexpensive white tissue paper taped to the window.
(Just how many times can one cram the words “handy” and “dandy” in one post?)
I have a wall of windows that offer light at just about any given point of the day. But as I said, it can be harsh, and also leave strips of shadows across the subject due to the grille/muntin bars from the window.
A simple fix is the tissue paper.
Taped to each window, or just certain ones, I can control the light and create one huge light box in my kitchen. Here it shows tissue on only one window which in this setup is diffusing the back light, with the side light not being diffused. I could have easily diffused both directions of light for a different look as well. Other times, I’ll have all four windows taped up with tissue paper. It really does create a lovely diffused light.
And it’s cheap.
And it’s handy. And dandy.
Not-to-mention, it travels well.
Maybe you just cruised through a local drive-thru only to have the bestest cheeseburger ever? Want to catch a shot of it before it disappears? Grab your handy dandy tissue and tape to create a light box in your own car. Or maybe you’re traveling, and room service delivered one fine omelet that is looking a tad bit blown out in that early morning hotel light. You’re in luck! Grab that tissue and tape up what you need to capture the most perfect omelet shot ever.
It’s handy like that.
Try it out sometime and let me know how it works for you.
Have any simple photography tips to pass along? I’d love to hear em. I’m learning something new every day.
Thanks for the handy dandy insights!! My kitchen is shadowed all the way around by porches, but this might help my lighting problem.
Wow, that is truly a handy dandy tip! I love it and am going to try it myself (especially since I don’t know enough about how to use my camera yet to make the proper adjustments there!).
handy dandy is right! What a great idea! Now if only I could figure out how to make pictures taken in my no-natural-light-at-all kitchen look good…
I saw your post on Tasty Kitchen and definitely admired the photos. Thanks for sharing your secret, love it!
Hey there Amy. Wonderful tip on the tissue diffusion technique. I never would have thought to do that. I usually just switch between different mediums of light/shadows. And I just got to ask, what camera do you use? Because you pictures come out in such clarity. Really wonderful ^_^
I upgraded a year ago from the Nikon D50 to the D300s, and most of the time use a 50mm 1.4 lens.
Great tip. Sounds much easier than the white poster board I’ve been using because the kids are less likely to steal the tissue paper for school projects. 🙂
Found you on PW.
Happy New Year!
You’re so luck to have so many windows in your kitchen!!
awesome tip! I’ll try & think of my favorite one & pass it along! Super fab blog, too!!! Just DANDY!
I’m learning all the time, too. And I believe I’ve cranked myself up from poor to better-than-mediocre! Shooting a picture (or “making a photograph,” as one snobby shutterbug once told me) is definitely better in natural daylight, and using tissue paper to diffuse it is indeed one handy-dandy tip. I will try it. Maybe even later today.
One day I will get a better camera but, you know what, taking the time to read the manual for my five year old Pentax Optio30 has helped immensely.
Brilliant tip! Isn’t it amazing how many solutions there really are without spending a fortune on professional equipment? I actually build a light box recently from a website description with a total cost of about $15. It really helps at this time of year and with the light sources in my house OR when not able to shoot during the day. Totally love your kitchen and view too!
Love the tip!!
I am always in need of a few pointers….your pictures are just beautiful!!
This is wonderful! I’m interested in photography as well.
I’m always trying to learn more about photography. This is very helpful.
Thanks so much for these tips, Amy. What a clever technique for daytime photography.
Do you have any suggestions for night-time photos? I work full time and blog/photograph at night. It’s such a challenge to get good natural looking shots in an artificially lit kitchen…
Any suggestions? I’ve resolved to get better at food photos this year and I really need some help!
Wow, wish I had that gorgeous light in my kitchen too!! That tip really is handy dandy and I too use it. It would really be helpful for people. thanks for sharing!
I want your kitchen. That’s all!
Great tip, by the way. Amazing how such an inexpensive thing can do such handy dandy things 🙂
What a great idea! Also, I’m totally in love with your kitchen… and the view thru the windows is amazing! When can I move in?
First let me say that your kitchen is beautiful. How lucky you are to be able to look out those incredible windows! The tip is great- if only we had light. If you come up with any ideas for taking pictures inside of a dark Victorian in New England, during winter-let me know ;>) In the meantime, I’ll dream about your kitchen…and the pomegranate!
Ok, I’ve been looking. Begging. Wishing for photography tips on food. Thank you so much for sharing! Very clever!
Jess : )
PS- Beautiful kitchen!
Such a handy dandy blog post! My goal for 2011 is to make friends with my husband’s camera. I appreciate your assistance.