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General photography questions and answers: Discuss Food Photography...Hi Everyone I've recently purchased a few recipe/cookbooks and after going through the pages briefly, I noticed that MOST of ...
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Old 23-05-2009, 08:49   #1 (permalink)
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Hi Everyone

I've recently purchased a few recipe/cookbooks and after going through the pages briefly, I noticed that MOST of the Photographs of the dishes only had the center in focus and pretty much half the dish and everything else were blurred .

Now, I would've liked to inspect and let my eyes investigate the dish after all it's a cookbook and not just the center so I guess the technique of the photography did nothing for me , whereas the photos that had much more DOF made my mouth water . I mean the wine glasses in the background,chopsticks etc had a really nice blur and I understand that but the food/dish is what I don't get. Some of the dishes only had about 2 pieces of meat in focus and the sauce, veges, garnish were very hard to see and therefore shows me nothing about the final product.

Maybe it's just me and this may have been a stupid post but hey it's about Photography

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Old 26-05-2009, 22:33   #2 (permalink)
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Re: Food Photography

It is all a matter of taste really. Food photography is traditionally done for a particular client or to be part of a cookbook. If the client/book NEED to emphasis on getting the whole dish in to show/display the various ingredients then a photographer would choose a wider DOF, however, if the client/book wants to use the picture to accent their menu/recipe than you would want to feature the MAIN ingredient/item on the dish with a swallower DOF. Some clients' dishes speak for itself and really don't need to have the picture display the full detail of the dish, but rather wish to have a more artistic representation of the dish to fit in more with the style, taste and decor of the resturant. Different clients have different needs
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Old 26-05-2009, 23:30   #3 (permalink)
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Re: Food Photography

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Maybe it's just me and this may have been a stupid post but hey it's about Photography
.... I am still wondering about the "Need" for sudden zoom in-and-out-and-in-and-out , ad nausea, in certain TV programs that hurts the eyes.... like, why?....

I cook a plate of food, its the WHOLE PLATE that is supposed to make you think "I WANT to eat that!!!", so I totally understand your POV, no one ingredient makes a dish, so why focus on just one part.....
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Old 26-05-2009, 23:32   #4 (permalink)
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Re: Food Photography

Hey at least the recipes have photo's ... don't you just hate when some of the recipes don't have a pic?

I think a short DoF is quite effective in food photography.

BTW It's not a stupid post at all, and I'm sure some will agree with your standpoint ... be interesting to hear others' thoughts on this subject
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Old 27-05-2009, 15:21   #5 (permalink)
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Re: Food Photography

I have to politely disagree with you on that one. No one ingredient makes a dish yes, but many times, like sushi or a small piece of meat or fish, where the main attraction is showcased and the rest is really just complimentary decorations. It is not out of the question to use a smaller DOF on that one particular piece or item in the dish. Also, even for say a pasta dish. A deeper DOF does not necessary make the picture more pleasing to the customers' eyes as having so much of the pasta in focus distracts the viewer's attention, while a smaller DOF would help lead the viewer's eyes to the special part of that particular pasta dish.

However, if you were to back off and present the dish with more background information and all then a small DOF would not work well. It all depends on what style and atmosphere is being captured.
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Old 27-05-2009, 20:16   #6 (permalink)
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Re: Food Photography

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where the main attraction is showcased and the rest is really just complimentary decorations. It is not out of the question to use a smaller DOF on that one particular piece or item in the dish.

If its decoration, complimentary or not, I would suggest that the Chef's idea is it should be seen....??

From a Photographers POV, I can see your point, from also having spent time as gofer in kitchens, I would say that any "decoration" on the plate is there to bring your eye to the centrepiece, and like any artwork, the centrepiece should be good enough to draw your eye to it....

I suppose what is one persons eye-candy is another's thorn, so am writing this as "The other side of the discussion", AKA Devils Advocate, but from the chef in me, if someone has spent the time arranging the dish as a culinary artwork, who are we to ignore their wishes?...
Focus on the centrepiece, by all means, but to deliberately "Blur" by use of extreme narrow DOF or post-production?...
If as "Service" was called, I had swept the chefs complimentary decoration off the plate, or squashed it out of view, I know exactly who's boot would be approaching me at high velocity... if the decoration does not want to be seen, then dont include it in the first place?....

I have seen something I presume "Similar" to what the OP has said, and it looked unnatural, unappetizing, and to be honest, I dismissed it as bad photography at the time....

Is it being suggested that perhaps this is being done deliberately?...

As Spike Milligan one said...

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