Explain Your “Not So Good” Picture If You Intend To Keep It

Getting pictures can be fairly easy according to many – just point and shoot – but wait a minute —- ain’t that simple my friend.

What was the weather at the time, where was the sun, who (if any) is in the picture to show size contrast, and what’s the occasion – you did write it down, didn’t you?  It’s important to have that information if you are creating memories.  Let me explain.


OK, it’s a picture, and I admit it, not a very good one, but why did I take it?  Well, I was trying to capture the feeling that the mountain had a hat of fog/low clouds on it.  This is a pretty rare picture, because it’s in south-east Arizona.  I did put the date in the picture but all it implies is that it was in January, still quite unusual for this area.  Sometimes here, the clouds are more in the air with the gap of air showing either rain or verga (rain that does not reach the ground, it evaporates before it gets there).  This was a late afternoon picture and a blunder is no known figure size to use as a comparison.  Now the picture shows more interest, but still not good enough to keep.  It’s a bust with no memory value.

If you’re using photos for a broadcast situation such as some kind of a weekly or monthly news-letter, study what you want to write about and concentrate on those photos.

Let’s say that you want to start something about foods with some of the different ways to fix or prepare.  I’ve heard that “you eat with your eyes first”, and I believe it.  If it looks like, well, ugh, you just aren’t about to put it in your mouth.  It has to have that special “eye appeal” before you even start.

That’s easy, right?  Wrong !!  photography of food usually is very complex.  It looks great in that bowl, the steam coming up. Pretty dish or bowl, and your senses are confused because the nose is working overtime — that stuff is just begging for teeth marks.

The lighting has to be almost perfect, the angle you shoot is critical such as what you see, or maybe straight down – how to shoot.  Watch the background as well.  A heavily flowered print is a no-no, steals details from the picture.

New_1_Patagonia Grill - Sept 18 - Shea BD - 1

This picture pretty well tells the complete story, but not for memories.  True, it shows food being cooked, but it doesn’t say anything about a birthday day at the lake for a young lady, nothing about the potato salad that went with it, or the cupcakes mom made for everyone.  I didn’t even have the date on it, but I know it was in 2010.  One mistake, I should have used a flash to get rid of the shadows of being under a tree in the shade, but otherwise —-

Food shots must have a signature to stress the event if possible.  The above shot of the meat on the grill says a lot without words, and in that sense it is a good picture, but if you were to shoot a bowl of green beans in the kitchen, be careful.  Preferably use a light colored bowl on a white background and using the green beans as the main color of the photo.  If you can, drop a pat of butter on it just before you shoot, so you can show the butter sizzling and melting.  Keep the serving small —– big bowls lose the emphasis for some reason.

If it isn’t what you want, maybe a big spoon beside the bowl would be a good prop so try it both ways.  Even a hand on the spoon would make a nice effect, so try that as well.  Make sure the bowl is clean.  Spills of any kind, crumbs in the shot, all have a very bad effect.  Shoot all around the bowl, use different angles, and most important, make sure the food is fresh.  The camera won’t lie for you.

One of the best pieces of advice I could use is take lots of pictures.  They cost nothing with the digital camera, so use lots of shots.  Keep the best, dump the rest.


About royandsherry

Roy is retired military as a radar controller, both Airborne and Ground. Spent 9 years as a Radio Announcer and retired from the corporate world after 14 years as an information analysist, working with classified information for a computer chip manufacturer. Roy is a commercial pilot (ASEL) and has a degree in Interstate Commerce Commission law. Sherry worked as an aircraft parts inventory specialist as a government employee, later as a scheduler and coordinator for a large flight school and retired from the corporate world as a legal administrative assistant for a very large computer chip manufacturer.
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