» The evolution of food porn. Don’t Eat Off The Sidewalk!

The evolution of food porn.

Today’s post is brought to you by my angry uterus!

I think we really need to start upping our standards on what we post online, guys. I know that not everyone has a great camera, but just because you take a picture doesn’t mean you have to post it. When I take food pictures, I take anywhere from 3-7 pictures so that when I get them on my computer, I can choose which one I think looks best. And you know what? Sometimes they’re all shit. Sometimes they’re all blurry. Out of focus. It was midnight and the lighting in my kitchen was so bad that even photoshop can’t save them. So I just delete them! I have posted some crappy ass pictures in my day, but i’ve learned to just say no to bad food porn. Because then it’s food scat. And no one likes that. This is not two vegans, one cup.

So here are some tips:

1. Camera. You do not need an SLR camera to take nice pictures. Canon Powershots are a pretty good point and shoot, it’s what I had before I got my Rebel. They come in a variety of prices so there’s something for everyone. If you’re stuck with some crappy camera, it’s okay. You can still work with it. Cell phones and webcams should never be used for food porn, though.

No matter what kind of camera you have, it’s important to read through the manual so you know exactly what does what.

The picture on the right was taken with my mother-in-laws 5 megapixel Powershot.

2. Turn your flash off! Flash and food are never a good combination. If it’s day, open some curtains and set your food near the window. If it’s night, turn as many lights on as you can. Use a lamp. Your camera should have special white balance settings for daylight, fluorescent, etc. lighting to keep your photos from coming out yellow.

The photo to the left really didn’t have enough light to look good. I have since stopped taking pictures on my laptop.

3. Macro settings are your friend. There should be a button on your camera with a picture of a tulip on it, that enables you to get super close to your food while still keeping things in focus. It also blurs out the background so there’s more focus on the object you’re photographing. I will never forget the day that I discovered the macro setting. It was one of the happiest days of my life.

4. Steady your camera. Nothing sucks more than having an otherwise good shot be ruined by the shakes. Blurry photos give me a headache, and therefore I hate them the most. I’ve found that the smaller a camera is, the harder it is to steady it because of the (lack of) weight. Cameras that are just a rectangle are the worst, they don’t even give you a handle to hold onto. So you can use a stack of books, hold the camera against your body, or just get a mini tripod! As you can see, they’re generally pretty cheap.

Oooo, angles!

5. Angles. Another reason that I take multiple pictures of food is that sometimes I can’t tell which angle is the best, so I change positions and maybe rotate the plate so when I go to edit them, I can decide which one I like best. I can tell you that the aerial view of your plate is never going to be the best one, though. I mean, think of myspace pictures! Pretend that your food is your face and get creative with the angles so no one notices that your sandwich has a pimple on its chin. So to speak.

Check out the angles on those muffins!

6. When all else fails, photoshop. You don’t have to be great at photoshop to make your photos look better, if anything you can go under image, adjustments, and auto levels and 98% of the time that will fix any color or contrast problems that you’re having.

7. Know when to fold ’em. Use some common sense! Just because something tastes good, doesn’t mean it looks good. And if it doesn’t look good, just don’t share it. Not everything needs a visual. You can still write about your meal and say, “Unfortunately it doesn’t photograph well.” But if you write the most epic love story about a dish ever and post a crappy photo, eyes will go to the photo first, shrivel up and fall out of their sockets, and then they won’t even be able to read your words. And then they’ll be blind for life. You don’t want to be responsible for that!

See that picture? That should have never seen the light of the internet. It’s dark, kind of out of focus, and just not…good looking.

Anyway, I hope that someone can learn from my half-assed tips. All of the photos I posted are my own, taken with my old Canon Powershot. I went through a lot of trial and error so learn from my mistakes, people! For the good of the food porn community at large.

posted: 08 May 4
under: animals, family, lists, pictures

23 Responses to “The evolution of food porn.”

  1. Rachael says:

    #7= very good advice. Sometime I’m just going to post a bunch of pictures of all the generic brown/green lumpy foods that remained ugly-yet-tasty regardless of lighting, angle, plating, etc. But then again, so many of those lumpy brown foods are so very tasty!

  2. heather says:

    oh so true. i’m sick of looking at food porn that resembles vomit. and jesus christ people, DO NOT USE THE FLASH.

  3. jenny wren says:

    Sometimes I’m tired and cranky, and my husband looks over my shoulder and says something like “That looks awful. You should make up a whole new plate of food and take some new pictures.” How dare he?! But he’s usually right.

    None of us like to hear that what we’re doing looks like crap, but I stop reading blogs that feature photos where the food is blurry and the print on the tablecloth is tack-sharp.

  4. Melisser says:

    THANK YOU & AMEN! Please tell me you posted this on the PPK.

  5. Nix says:

    Amen! Also, I have a Rebel too! It’s my best friend (after the boyfriend and all of the pets, of course) and replaced my OLD ASS Kodak Easy-Share (Which can in NO way come even close to any Power Shot).

  6. Liz² says:

    woo Powershots (and that little tulip, ma god). It’s actually kinda funny, this post is pretty much precisely what I do to get food shots. Except I’ve been known to take upwards of 30-40 photos of cookies and cakes and things… you have to stack, and then not stack, and then.. haha, well yeah.

  7. Jessica says:

    Your angry uterus speaks the truth. I don’t post a whole lot of food porn because the lighting in my boyfriend’s kitchen (where I do most of my pornable cooking) sucks and it’s hard to get good photos.

  8. Megan says:

    OMG. Katie, I heart you forever. Macro setting? My new BFF.

  9. Bobbi says:

    Although I know better than to use a flash, tonight I was in a dark restaurant and just HAD to photograph my vegan paella, so I used the flash. Don’t hate me!

  10. erica says:

    So true Ms. Katie. I’m with 100% on the whole leaving the flash on, although, I don’t have sensitive eyes like most folks to bad food porn and at my age I’ve learned to just let some things slide. I’ve seen worse in my days other than blurry out of focus photography.

  11. Katie says:

    Melisser, if I posted this on the ppk everyone would hate me. Even more.

  12. a-k says:

    some excellent advice i wish more people would pay attention to. although sometimes the idea of something gets people so excited the picture doesn’t matter anymore, and i think it all gets lost. i’m working diligently on #7 lately.

  13. Veronica says:

    Here here. It should also be said that sometimes food porn just doesn’t get you off as well if the viewer has to see all your stacks of magazines, USB cords, and miscellaneous junk in the background. Tsk.

  14. Veronica says:

    That actually probably goes for any picture of anything. And should just be common sense, but, you know, not everyone is commonly sensible. I know I’ve lacked that in the photography department.

  15. Erin says:

    Right on with the tips! These are the things I try to think about. My camera is of lesser quality though, so I fight with it on a regular basis. It just really doesn’t like to completely focus in macro mode. This flourescent white balance you speak of, I’m going to have to look into that.

  16. Maggie says:

    “This is not two vegans, one cup.” That sentence might be the funniest thing posted on the internet, ever.

    And now I’m imagining what that video would look like. Thanks.

  17. bazu says:

    This can not be said enough. I’ve thought of doing a tutorial on my blog, but don’t feel that I have enough credentials, not having an SLR or Photoshop or anything… but jesus, some of this stuff is common sense!

  18. thanks for the tips…especially the macro. for me the happiest moment was when i figured out how to off the flash. i am still experimenting with the photo thing…but i have to say, getting a mac has helped the editing process a lot.

  19. Garrick says:

    HA. Food Scat. Very true.

    Along with adjusting the levels in photoshop, I find that upping the saturation a little can turn any grayish brown cookie into a sparkling golden one.

  20. Russ says:

    I’m stuck with my crappy cell phone camera right now, and man it takes some shockingly bad photos. You wouldn’t think a photo could be grainy and blurry at the same time, but I have learnt otherwise. Phone cameras suck.

  21. […] is not a how-to on photographing food, I did that a few years ago.  Since i’ve started taking pictures of food, i’ve learned a lot.  Most of it was […]

  22. Becky says:

    I just have to say I love the way you write, it’s so hilarious! I feel like your right here talking to me lol

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