Tag Archive for: photography

Repetition in Food Photography: Breaking the Pattern

Following the pattern is a natural thing to do, but breaking the pattern is what makes the food photo truly stand out!

Following the pattern is a natural thing to do, but breaking the pattern is what makes the food photo truly stand out!

I’ve talked about creating a Symmetrical repetition in one of my previous articles and symmetrical composition is something very beautiful and natural. But when it comes to repetition I think the king of repetition is the inconsistency – the breaking of the pattern.

Our eyes are quite used to seeing patterns and they seem very natural, safe and pleasant to look at. However, when it comes to drawing the eyes to your photo, there’s probably no better thing but to make that pattern just a little bit off. This is something that sparks up questions and makes us think about the photo.

Okay, let’s talk a bit about something that might sound completely off-topic, but here it is. The main subject. A photo should in almost all cases have a main subject. That one element where not only the focus (in the technical term) lies but also the focal point where our eyes are drawn to. And introducing the breaking of the pattern does just that. It brings attention to that one particular part of the photo.

Through a few examples, I’m going to show you a few ideas you can integrate into your photos with patterns to make that one subject pop a little bit more and make it the focal point of the frame.

Examples of breaking the pattern

Following the pattern is a natural thing to do, but breaking the pattern is what makes the food photo truly stand out!

The photo above is a very classical representation of a photo with a pattern. The way I broke the pattern here was in two ways. First of all, not all the elements are placed in the same way. So even though there are repeating elements in the frame, it’s not overly graphical. And secondly I chose to place two popsicles one over the other for the purpose of breaking the pattern. You can see how this part of the photo now carries a little bit more visual weight and draws the attention.

Following the pattern is a natural thing to do, but breaking the pattern is what makes the food photo truly stand out!

So in this brownie photo, I did a very similar thing to in the previous photo. Brownies, although amazingly delicious, can look flat and boring quickly, especially when they are laid flat onto the surface. So how did I solve the problem with the boring pattern formed by how the brownies were cut?

I simply turned one of the brownies to the sides. So this way I created the focal point of the photo and what is more, I showcased the insides of the brownie which is always a good thing!

Following the pattern is a natural thing to do, but breaking the pattern is what makes the food photo truly stand out!

Something similar happens here. We have the spring rolls that are forming this linear pattern, but then that one roll that is cut open shows a different shape – a circular one – breaking the pattern along the way. This is probably the easiest thing to do in food photography – cutting something to break the pattern by introducing another shape.

Following the pattern is a natural thing to do, but breaking the pattern is what makes the food photo truly stand out!

In food photography, we are often faced with patterns, that we might not even notice. Like in the example of this tiramisu here. The way the cookies are stacked creates a pattern in the dish. However, you can take it a step further. Here I piped the cream in a way that also created an interesting pattern, so I basically made a mix of two patterns. The second one breaking the other one in a very natural way.

Following the pattern is a natural thing to do, but breaking the pattern is what makes the food photo truly stand out!

Produce photos are a great example of how you can introduce patterns and also how you can break the pattern. I have mostly round shapes in this photo of oranges. However, I cut a few pieces in a different way. I placed one of them in a very bright spot. Note how much variety and playfulness just one irregular shape brings to a photo.

Following the pattern is a natural thing to do, but breaking the pattern is what makes the food photo truly stand out!

Now, this beautiful radicchio, even though incredibly beautiful and delicious, was not the easiest subject to shoot. It made a bit of effort to make one single element stand out. Here you can see that the shape of the radicchio florets creates a pattern. But how did I break the pattern?

It might be a bit more subtle here than in the previous photo, so let me explain. I made sure that the radicchio that was in focus had a very distinct shape. So basically I chose the best-looking one there was. I made sure all the other ones did not look as perfect (still good, but not perfect!). This made the one beautiful radicchio floret stand out.

Conclusion

Patterns are an amazing way to add interest to a food photo and even though we might not always be aware, there’s almost always one form of a pattern in a photo. With some photos, this is more obvious or even intentional. And when you are aware of the patterns you can exploit that and create a breaking of the pattern, which will add even more interest to the photo.

Let me know in the comments what is your favorite way to break a repetition pattern.

Repetition in Food Photography: Symmetrical Repetition

When it comes to interesting out-of-the-box techniques symmetrical repetition in food photography is definitely the one to look out for.

When it comes to interesting out-of-the-box techniques repetition in food photography is definitely the one to look out for.

We often overlook patterns when it comes to food photography techniques. When we hear about patterns, oftentimes we think of monotony. And who wants to be monotonous?

But what if I told you that patterns and repetition in food photoraphy are one of the most beautiful ways to bring interest to our image?

I am just finishing judging a challenge on Instagram all dedicated to repetition and it got me thinking about how you can incorporate repetition in your food photos without making it boring and flat.

So here are a few tips on how to add repetition to your work:

1. Create a feeling of a graphical image

When you have a photo with a very symmetrical repetition and an interesting light you can create images where the pattern itself becomes an element and the point of interest.

You can achieve that by filling the frame with the same or similar elements and place them in very geometrical positions – squares, circles, lines…

When it comes to interesting out-of-the-box techniques repetition in food photography is definitely the one to look out for.

2. Repeating lines

Lines are one of the best compositional tools, as I’ve already mentioned in a few of my articles. When you place repeating lines next to each other, they can form interesting visual patterns and can also become very graphical.

When it comes to interesting out-of-the-box techniques symmetrical  repetition in food photography is definitely the one to look out for.

3. Breaking the pattern

Monotonous pattern can work very well for certain images, but when you wnat to add some extra interest, you can play around with breakin the patterm.

If every element is placed in the same way and one is placed in a slightly different way, it creates a strong visual interest. This is how we can also bring the unexpected to a pattern. It will instantly led the viewer’s eye to where the ‘rule breaking’ is happening. and instantly you get a focus point!

It also gets the viewer to think about why and how the change in pattern is happening.

When it comes to interesting out-of-the-box techniques repetition in food photography is definitely the one to look out for.

4. Repetition in the dish

When it comes to repetition it doesn’t always have to be created through composition. Food itself is already a great source of repetition and patterns. Thinking about the dish as a separate frame and adding some patterns in the dish brings the attention to our subject – because our eyes love patterns, as we’ve already determinded!

So keep an eye on pattern sin your food and also think about how you can add repetition in your dish when you’re styling it.

When it comes to interesting out-of-the-box techniques repetition in food photography is definitely the one to look out for.

5. Mirrored image

Just like the name suggest this is a composition technique where the frame has more or less two symmetrical parts of an image. This can create a very calm feeling. A feeling of something we know.

Symmetry can be created either vertically, horizontally, or both.

When I create symmetrical images, I try to not make it completely symmetrical – you know – breaking the pattern! Just like in the image below. It is symmetrical, but not to a point where every element is perfectly aligned.

When it comes to interesting out-of-the-box techniques repetition in food photography is definitely the one to look out for.

Master Manual Mode in 5 Minutes

What is manual mode and how to become confident using manual mode in your food photography?

Lots of people tell me that they prefer using auto-mode on their camera because they have no idea how to use the manual mode. They feel like manual mode has too many settings to think about, but once you get the hold of what each setting does and what kind of photo you want is pretty straightforward.

So why should you start shooting in manual mode? Because it gives you total control!

What is manual mode?

Manual mode is the program on your camera that allows you complete creative control over how your image will turn out. Even though cameras are pretty smart these days and auto programs can work fine in lots of situations, knowing how manual mode works will improve your food photography for sure. One more thing I love about the manual mode is that the setting stay the same unless you change them, while with auto or semi-auto programs each time you take a shot the settings change according to how the camera sees your scene.

Manual mode is often described in relation to ‘the exposure triangle’.

The exposure triangle is made up of three elements – ISO, aperture and shutter speed. By setting up there three settings on your camera, you’re trying to achieve correct exposure.

Related: What equipment do I need for food photography?

But how do you know when is your image correctly exposed?

Here’s where you need to learn to read a light meter. An in-camera light meter measures how much light is coming to the sensor and if you shoot in the manual mode you can see the light meter on your screen and it shows you if your image is under-, over- or correctly exposed.

What is manual mode and  how to become confident using manual mode in your food photography?
How over-, under- and correct exposure looks on the light meter on Canon. On Nikon, the negative and positive sides are turned around. Just keep an eye on the minus and plus, minus being under- and plus being overexposed

The three settings you need to know

In order to achieve correct exposure, we can change the three different aspects of the exposure triangle. If you wanna learn how I adjust the three settings you can get my Manual Mode Guide down below. I included the step by step process of setting these three points.

But just in short, let’s see what those three settings mean.

ISO

ISO is the camera’s sensitivity to light. The lower the ISO, the more light you need to get a good exposure and the less grain you will see in your photos.

Aperture

Aperture is the setting on your camera that affects how much of your food is in focus.

We measure how wide your aperture is with using f-stops. Lower f-stops mean wider aperture which leads to a shallower depth of field. This creates a soft blurred background. Higher f-stops do the opposite.

Shutter speed

Shutter speed is the amount of time the shutter on your camera lens stays open. It is measured in seconds.

Slower shutter speeds can create motion blur if you’re holding the camera in your hands or if the camera is moving in any way.

I hope this gives you some confidence and courage to try out manual mode on your camera, but if you wanna learn more about the three settings and my step by step process of choosing how to set them, then you can download my Mastering Manual Mode Guide!

These no-bake frozen coconut cakes with sweet creamed coconut and Greek yogurt on top of a no-bake almond crust are the perfect summer desserts. Add some whipped cream and seasonal berries and you're in it for a win!

How To Take Great Food Photos In Low Light

Taking great food photos in low light can be really frustrating, but it doesn’t need to be. With these five tips, you’ll be able to shoot in a very dark room and still create beautiful images.

It seems like people get really frustrated with the lack of light in several situations and you might find yourself to be one of them.

  1. The first non-ideal situation is Winter. The light is certainly not as abundant as it is in the Summer or
  2. You might be faced with dark and moody photography for the first time and you have no clue as to how to handle the low light situation.

Let me tell you, that you have nothing to fear.

I live in Slovenia and during late Autumn and until early Spring the lighting situation is far from ideal. It’s cloudy, rainy, snowy, foggy… And all these things affect the amount of light coming through the windows.

If you’re faced with the same situation you’re in the right place. I’m going to show you a few tips, that will definitely help you embrace the low light.

Let’s get started.

1. Use a tripod

You’ve probably heard me say this a million times, but a tripod is your greatest friend when it comes to food photography. It doesn’t even have to be an expensive one. You can get something extremely cheap for 20€ (around 20$) and it will still be a massive improvement from hand-holding your camera.

2. Don’t be afraid to use long exposure times

When you’ve used a tripod, you can get away with much longer exposure times than when you hold your camera. If you look at the photo below, you’ll see that I often use very long exposure times, even longer than a second. Wow, right?

A few things to consider when shooting at long exposure times:

  • Use a tripod
  • Use a remote or software to remotely trigger the shutter button
  • Be still. Don’t move when the shutter is released. Any movement around the camera can cause a blur.
Taking great food photos in low light can be really frustrating, but it doesn't need to be. With these five tips, you'll be able to shoot in a very dark room and still create beautiful images.
ISO 100 – f6.3 – 1/3 seconds
Taking great food photos in low light can be really frustrating, but it doesn't need to be. With these five tips, you'll be able to shoot in a very dark room and still create beautiful images.
ISO 100 – f9 – 1.3 seconds

3. Embrace the high ISO

Oftentimes we get scared of bumping the ISO, but the reality is that most hobby cameras will handle ISO up to 800 and if you have a more advanced camera, you can get much higher than that.

Now, I try to keep my ISO at lowest, because this will mean I have the sharpest image possible. The thing is that oftentimes (and I say that from experience) is that we tend to prefer to keep the ISO at lower settings and underexpose than to bump the ISO and correctly expose the photo.

Why is this important?

If you look at any photo closely, you’ll see that there’s always more noise in the shadowy part of an image. So when we underexpose we create more shadowy parts in the image, meaning more noise. And this can result in more noise than we would actually get if we shot at a higher ISO and make that photo brighter.

See, high ISO is not the enemy 😊

Taking great food photos in low light can be really frustrating, but it doesn't need to be. With these five tips, you'll be able to shoot in a very dark room and still create beautiful images.
ISO 2000 – f2.8 – 1/320 seconds

4. Get closer to the light source

I was recently talking about low light in one of my 1:1 coaching sessions. My client was struggling with her dining room being really dark in the Winter. She was shooting on her dining table which was in the middle of the room.

Do you see the problem yet?

When you move away from the light source, the amount of light reaching your subject decreases significantly.

But there’s a simple solution to that. Just move the subject closer to the light source aka window. Don’t shoot at your dining table. Those are usually in the middle of the room and most certainly this is not an ideal place if the light is really low.

Taking great food photos in low light can be really frustrating, but it doesn't need to be. With these five tips, you'll be able to shoot in a very dark room and still create beautiful images.
ISO 1000 – f3.2 – 1/25 seconds

5. Use manual focus

When it comes to dark places auto-focus is not very reliable. It might miss the focus completely or even refuse to focus.

Getting friendly with manual focus helps you solve this problem. Set your lens to manual focus and use the zoom tool to really see where you’re focusing.

How To Shoot Food In A Dark Room by Useyournoodles on Jumprope.

Final Thoughts

Okay, phew. Did you just realize that low light not bad at all? I really hope you did and I hope you’ll try the methods above. If you wanna learn more about how to manipulate light in order to improve your photos either bright and airy or dark and moody I’ve got a free e-course and you can apply through the form below.