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Our mission: critique | confidence | community
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FOOD PHOTOGRAPHY | TEACHING TUESDAY

Guest Contributor | Meghan Newsom

Food is one of my trickiest subjects. To me, food is harder to capture than a squirming baby. Every one loves photos of their little one smiling and giggling no matter the angle at which you catch them, but a photo of food in the wrong light or at the wrong angle can make for an extremely unappetizing picture.

I stumbled onto food photography by accident, hoping to always capture the essence of the dish I created to share with my blog readers. I soon began to learn the art behind food photography, learning that it is by no chance you see beautiful photos of food gracing magazine and cook book pages.

 Just like portraiture, photographing food requires an understanding of your camera’s settings, correct white balance, and most importantly, light. It also helps to have some great props on hand to communicate the feel of your dish.

There are four key elements I use when I set up a scene to be photographed. Let’s dive into them one at a time.
1. Find a light source-
    Often times I am tempted to photograph a delicious dinner I made right out of the oven. Usually this means I am trying to take a photo of my food at around 7 pm, when the only light sources I have are incandescent lights in my kitchen. When I do this, the light always reflects poorly off of my food, leaving my food with a yellow cast.. even when I’ve adjusted my white balance. My food is usually steamy right out of the oven as well. The steam fogs up my lens making it impossible to get a sharp image.
Instead of trying to take a photo of your dish right out of the oven, wait until the next morning and capture your dish while the morning light is spilling in through the window. This will give your photograph a beautiful feel, and will make your food much more appetizing than it would have been the night before. Always try to stay away from flash when taking photos of food.
2. Choose a great lens-
    Your lens will determine how detailed you want your food to be in your photograph. If you want to take a photo of a meal scene, you may choose an 18-55mm lens. This lens will allow you to capture different elements of your table all in one frame, including your food and your subjects. I always get great inspiration from photographs in Kinfolk Magazine. My go-to lens for food photography are my 50mm and my 85mm lenses. These lenses allow me to get detailed shots of my food, while keeping the image crisp and clear. I love dropping my aperture low so that I can blur the background and allow the food to be the main focus of the picture.

3. Add props-

    Some of my favorite props for food are ingredients that go into the dish I have cooked. I really enjoy the “deconstructed” look of food photography. Taking each element of the dish and photographing it by its self. This allows the viewer to really understand what goes into the dish, and always creates a clean and natural element to my photographs.

  Serving plates and utensils make a big difference in the way your dish will be conveyed to your viewer. Choose those props wisely. You may choose napkins that evoke a “summertime” feel, or choose plates that coordinate with your dish. My rule of thumb is to always keep it simple, and never have a dish monotone in color.

4. Always overestimate-

    When it comes to photographing food, you only need one perfect shot. Sometimes it may take 100 frames to get the perfect frame you need. My philosophy is to always overshoot. You just spent a long time cooking your meal, prepping your scene, and making sure the light was perfect. It would be a shame to spend all of that time getting things ready, and only take a couple of shots of your food set up. Try out different lenses, change your camera settings, adjust your aperture, just make sure you are getting a variety of shots so you results will be perfect!

Like anything, practice makes perfect. Look around in your cookbooks and magazines and see what photographs are appetizing to you and try to recreate them by putting your own spin on them! I’ve started a great board on pinterest for great food photography inspiration.

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Meghan is a professional photographer based out of North Alabama. When she’s not taking photos, cooking up a gluten free meal, or creating things for her home you can find her hiking around with her husband and lovable dog Dakota.
                    http://www.mnewsomphotography.com
                    http://www.lacyandmeg.com

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INTERVIEW WITH JACKIE JEAN | CELEBRITY PHOTOGRAPHER

We are so excited to have Jackie Jean as one of our October Celebrity Photographer.

Sign up to get your images critiqued by Jackie Jean this September.  Only 10 Spots Left!

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Jackie Jean is a proud mama of four incredible boys, married to a rockstar, a self taught 100% Natural Light Portrait Photographer, and a lover of old school coffee houses.

She specializes in children & family portrait work and is in her ninth year of business. She is known for her perfected black and whites, her deliciously rich muted vintage tones, and her creative eye in post processing.
In recent years, she has offered mentoring programs for photographers as well as resources for post processing. Jackie Jean loves to see others grow in their passions!

Do you edit mostly in Photoshop or Lightroom?

Photoshop.

Why do you think honest critique on your image

To pay attention to the details and composition. I started out rushing my shoots because I was nervous. Slowing down and being thoughtful about what I want to produce has made such a huge difference.

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What camera do you use? Favorite lens?

Nikon D800 , 135mm

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What has been the most helpful critique you ever got on an image?

To pay attention to the details and composition. I started out rushing my shoots because I was nervous. Slowing down and being thoughtful about what I want to produce has made such a huge difference.

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What 3 words would you use to describe your style?

creative, fun, emotive

Where do you pull your inspiration from?

It really varies, but the best pictures come when I am rested and make a point to sit down and write down ideas. I love antique shops, the outdoors, my kiddos, music, there are so many things that inspire!

What is one specific way that you balance work and family?

I’ve learned to say “no” over the years which is so important! Also, after my fourth son was born, it was a bit chaotic, so it kicked me in gear as far as organization. I haven’t arrived yet but am working on it!

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Best biz/photo advice?

Find what you love to do most and do it!

What have you learned the hard way?

While sometimes it is a process to find exactly what you love doing, I never said “no” and was shooting everything from sports events to head shots to weddings to families, it burned me out so quick!

How does your business deal with the rise in photographers. What have you done to standout and compete?

I try to focus on just being me and not worry about the rise of competition, there’s a lot of photographers but there’s only one me!

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Where have most of your 2011 clients come from (besides WOM)?

Well, WOM is definitely the main thing. I have never had to advertise and will say that most of my clients I view as friends now. I think it’s vital to treat clients more than just clients, this is a relational business.

What has been the best workshop or convention you’ve attended so far?

I haven’t attended one…..yet :)

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Sign up to get your images critiqued by Jackie Jean this September.  Only 10 Spots Left!

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CHRISTINA SKINNER | CHIC OF THE WEEK

Congrats Christina Skinner! Your image is so adorable that we had to feature you as the Chic of the Week.

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Loved the use of the vintage box with the word squirt” describing that cute little baby, there was no way I could let it slip by without sharing it in a CHIC of the Week post.

Congrats again to Christina Skinner of Christina Skinner Photography!  You’ve been awarded a gift certificate from one of our vendors for being selected as Chic of the Week!

Which photo of your own would you like to see featured on the site?

If you upload your favorite photos to the forum, we just might feature yours next.

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I’m wife to a wonderful husband and a stay at home mother to a 2 and a half year old rambunctious little girl, and a silly 13 month old baby boy in sunny Orange County, California. My love for photography started when I was a child. I would make my tomboy little sister dress up in my ballet costumes and pose for me (love you sis!). I took a few classes in college where I learned to shoot on film and work in the dark room, but it wasn’t until I had my first child that a hobby I dabbled in occasionally became as necessary as breathing. I’m on my second 52 week project and have found that my style is a mix between lifestyle and traditional portraiture. I LOVE working with kids and find it insanely satisfying getting those shots that make their parent’s hearts skip a beat. I’m making the leap from hobbyist to professional photographer and although it’s very intimidating (not to mention crazy with two little ones), I’m loving my photography journey.

Image Stats:

F 1.4, 1/800, ISO 100, Shot in RAW on Canon 5D Classic, 50mm 1.4
This was shot in the family’s front yard under a large tree at about 1pm. They live on the beach and as usual it was very overcast but very warm. I edited in Photoshop with My Four Hen’s “Happy Helpers” set and few hand edits.

What critique from Chic Critique Forum did you find helpful after sharing this image?

I always appreciate the constructive criticism on Chic Critique. I know that it’s being said in love so that I can be better at my craft. There is a fine line between being technically correct and personal preference so hearing everyone’s opinions on my images really helps me improve and see them in a new light. I so appreciate this forum!

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Blog Love Week 35

Chic Critique Forum Blog Love

Do you post on your blog only to hear crickets? Do you sometimes feel like you are talking to yourself (and maybe your Mom) on your blog? Do you need some LOVE?

Chic Critique is here for you, girl. In 2013, we are doing a weekly feature on our blog every Saturday called “BLOG LOVE” where you can showcase your  blog posts on Chic Critique for lots of love.

SWEET BENEFITS:

  • Use this as motivation to blog at least once a week
  • Boost your SEO: your thumbnail will link back to your own blog for lots of publicity and SEO lovin’!
  • Get blog comments from our fans
  • Show off your work
  • Get published! One of your images might be featured in an upcoming issue of Chic Magazine

It’s so easy! HERE’S HOW IT WORKS:

You must be a member of Chic Critique forum to participate 

  1. Post some pics on your own blog with a link back to Chic Critique
  2. Every weekend, submit your permalink (not your main blog address) from your own blog post to the frog icon (see sample below) to our weekly Saturday “Blog Love” blog post
  3. Your image will then show up as a thumbnail on OUR blog and allow our readers to click on your image to check out YOUR blog.

Need a reminder? We’ll help remind you in our weekly newsletter and on Facebook so be sure to become a fan and subscribe to our newsletter.

ENTER YOUR BLOG POST IMAGES FOR THIS WEEK BY CLICKING ON THE FROG BELOW:
Don’t forget to leave a comment on the other entries because that is half the fun! Also, submit your photo early since those seem to be the ones who receive the most comments.

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Make acid wash jeans in 5 simple steps | Fashion Friday

by Kelli France | Editor-in-Chief

It’s Fashion Friday!

Tons of you asked for a tutorial after I posted pics of my daughter’s homemade acid washed jeans on my Instagram, so here it is!

I must admit that this was SUPER FUN! I’m gonna do it to my own jeans next!

HOW TO MAKE ACID WASHED JEANS WITH BLEACH

MATERIALS NEEDED:

  • Household Bleach
  • Water
  • Dark Jeans (I recommend these because they are cute & cheap)
  • Rubberbands
  • A Bucket
  • Rubber gloves (optional…I did not use, but it’s probably safer)
Step 1: Begin by tying small knots in your jeans with the rubberbands. Try to wad them up and fold them as you add the rubberbands. I used like, 50 rubber bands.
STEP 2:  Add about 80 ounces of water to the bucket and an entire container of household bleach (about 120 ounces). Then put your wadded & banded jeans in the bucket.
STEP 3: Let your jeans sit for about an hour. Then check to see if you are getting the desired look. You may need to flip your jeans and let them sit another hour if they aren’t fully submerged in the water/bleach mixture.
Continue checking your jeans until you get the look you are going for. **We had to let these jeans soak for over 6 hours until we got the look we wanted. 
STEP 4: Once the jeans are finished soaking in the bleach bucket, take them out of the bucket with gloved hands. Rinse the bleach out of the jeans on a sidewalk (so you don’t ruin your grass) with water from a hose.
STEP 5: Wash them in the washer ALONE (with no other clothing) in cold water. Then dry them in the dryer.
VOILA! You now have a unique pair of jeans that looks amazing! Feel free to comment below if you have any questions.

 

No time to DIY? SHOP THE ACID WASH LOOK HERE:

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ChicTV | How Brittney Kluse gets Killer Color

It’s FREEBIE FRIDAY!!! At the end of every month, we share a FREE ChicTV interview with one of our Celebrity Photographers to all our forum members.

Today’s fun interview is with the vibrant, Brittney Kluse.

In this video you will learn:

  • How Brittney started out as a “vintage” photographer
  • How Brittney found her style and how to find yours
  • The key to killer color (hint: it’s not what you think!)
  • Finding your “thang” in photography

OUTTAKES: We may or may not be “whipping our hair back & forth” to some music. Watch to the end to see! 

WATCH IT NOW in the forum >>

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P.S. Sign up for Brittney’s Online Workshop HERE. Only 8 spots left! 

Check out more of her work at: Brittney Kluse Photography

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