A few weeks ago I attended a food photography workshop presented by Jackie Connelly, guest blogger here at Bakergirl Creations.  My digital camera is a Canon SD750, a seven megapixel compact model.  It’s handy and simple to use.  But I have to be honest, as I was getting ready to head out the door to the class I was stressed out thinking to myself that I so didn’t belong there.

Shyly I entered into the back of Campangolo Restaurant on Main Street.  Unsure of what to expect and hugely self-aware of my lack of training and knowledge of even basic functions on my camera, I decided I needed to suck it up and do the best with what I had.  Even though Jackie has been writing photography overviews on this site for a few months now, we had never met, so this class was also our first introduction.  Funny how that can work out eh?  She was relaxed and knowledgeable.  She shared real tangible suggestions for the participants.  Regardless of your skill level, or equipment prowess she tried her best to support and encourage.

I enjoyed the opportunity to just play.  Because I really just take photos of the food we eat, I am usually just rushing through the set up and picture so I can eat moderately warm food.  I use the basic indoor/foliage macro settings on the camera.  It doesn’t really allow for any adjustments for exposure to any specificity.  Depth of field doesn’t exist, or so it seems.  And the camera, as best as we all could tell automatically chooses a focus, so that really is out of my control.  But I got to play with light source, using reflectors to fill in light, or adjust.  I got to “play” with the food, stage it, arrange it.  Shoot from the side, from the top.    I got to watch how others set up their shots.  Suggestions were made and support was given.

Using "Indoor Light" Setting

Using "Autowhite Balance" Setting

Using "Auto White Balance" Setting

An example of the playing are the two shots above.  Nothing changed but one setting.  Yes they could have a better focus and they could have more DOP. But even learning about a simple function that makes the picture even a little more interesting and lively was a nice perk of the experience.

Strawberry Ice Cream in Natural Light

Another shot that I had fun playing with was this strawberry “ice cream”.  I say it with quotation marks because it really was a combination of lard, corn syrup food colouring and icing sugar…how crazy but at the same time, cool is that?  Jackie’s recipe for this can be found here.  The light for this was entirely natural.  I was pretty happy with it, but could have tried in some way to have warmed it up I am sure.  I loved the textures of the shot.  The rough scoop marks on the ice cream, the smooth class. The tiled and wood background, there is clear definition.

I played around with different angles, light sources.  I played with exposure, got to know my tri-pod better and truly just got more familiar with my camera.  Looking back at some of my first blog posts and pictures I took (with the same point and shoot that I have now) I was pretty pleased with the development and approach I am starting to use.  For a walk down memory lane, check out some of my not so “hot  shots”:

Almond Roca
Pantry Chili

Lemon Drop Cupcakes

…kind of makes me want to go back, make the recipe exactly as is, and then re-shoot…looking forward to keep working on it now as I start to know a little bit more of what to look for!

Jackie is having another workshop in January.  The details for it and how to sign up can be found on her site.  If you are interested to see some pretty phenomenal shots by a much more advanced photographer take a look at Oana‘s post re: the class and be sure to click through to her photo link.