My last post on why food photography is like golf, did not garner a lot of public discussion, but I did receive a lot of emails and DMs over it, which leads me to believe I hit more of a nerve than I expected. And perhaps not in the way I’d hoped.
The point I was trying to make was that photography isn’t easy and there’s no quick fix to becoming “good”. Digital photography has opened up photography in a way that we couldn’t have imagined in the days of film, making it accessible to everyone. I think that’s a great thing.
Incredibly powerful software has given us the ability to transform the less than ordinary photograph into something extraordinary. I think that can also be a good thing.
The instant results a DSLR offer us make it easy to learn and improve but at the same time, I think that they also encourage the misguided belief that great photography is easy, when it’s just not. And that can be discouraging to a newcomer.
People spend years trying to master the art of making a photograph and even premiere photographers are constantly learning and trying new things. If you’re not doing that, something’s wrong. It means you’re not pushing your boundaries. And just because something isn’t easy, doesn’t mean it’s not worthwhile or fun.
My goal was, and is, to make you push your boundaries and realize that photography isn’t just pushing a button. It’s learning to see what’s around you, to notice your world, to understand the tools you have at your disposal and to make them work for you.
And with that in mind, we’re going to try something fun!
But first, one announcement:
Creative Live Photoshop Elements Workshop
I know many of you were able to take in at least parts of Penny De Los Santos food photography workshop last month, which was put on by Creative Live. It was a great weekend! If improving your food photography is your goal, I encourage you to check out some of their other offerings.
I have noticed a lot of discussion on twitter regarding post processing software and whether or not you really need Adobe Lightroom or full fledged Photoshop, or whether you can get away with just Photoshop Elements (yes, you certainly can – I know a few pros who do).
Creative Live is offering a 2 day workshop (June 21-22) on Photoshop Elements 9 for Photographers. The class is being taught by Lesa Snider, and I had the opportunity to attend a workshop by her at NAPP’s Photoshop World in Las Vegas in 2009. She’s great – loads of energy and she has a knack (like all the NAPP instructors) for making Photoshop easy to learn. For those of you struggling with post processing and wondering if you’re getting the most out of PS Elements, I think this is definitely one to check out.
They are also offering a class on June 23rd for iPhoto, which is built in software with most Macs, again with Lesa.
As with all Creative Live classes, if you attend the live workshop, it’s absolutely free. That’s a great deal!
A Food Photography Contest
As I already said, one of my goals is to encourage you all to start exploring the visual world around you and improve your photography and camera skills. So, to that end, we’re going to have a contest! My first one here on this blog. Very exciting!
Here’s what you have to do to enter to win:
You must take a food photograph. There must be a prop in the photo that comes from your house and that you’ve never used before in a photo. Now, obviously, this will be on the honor system but, the whole point of this exercise is to learn to see things you look at every day in a new light. You cannot buy anything. The item must be in your house at the time you are reading this.
After you’ve taken the photo, upload it to flickr and add it to the Eyes Bigger Than My Stomach group and tag it with “reflector”. Tell us about the prop in the description – where you got it, how long you’ve had it.
The entry deadline is June 30th.
I will be giving away two prizes.
1. A 5-1 22 inch Interfit reflector. These are probably one of the most underrated pieces of gear you can own. This one comes with silver, black, gold and white covers and when left uncovered, acts as a diffuser. It folds up into a handy little carrying pouch that fits into most camera bags.
2. A $25 Gift Certificate to Craft And Vision. These guys are a wonderful photography resource, publishing $5 e-books by some of the photography world’s most skilled photographers on a wide range of topics. I personally own most of their books and they’re a great resource for improving both your craft, and your vision (just like the name says!)
A random entry will win the reflector. A second entry will be chosen by me, based on creativity and execution (hint: make sure your image is in focus and exposed in a way that is appropriate for the image and make sure the food is the hero of the shot – not the prop.) and will win the $25 gift certificate
As with any contest, there are rules
1. You are limited to ONE entry
2. You must upload your image to the flickr group. It is the only social photo site who’s Terms Of Service I trust. You can get a free flickr account just by signing up (hint – it’s also a great service to host your photos for your blog and it can bring you more traffic as well). I will add a note to each photo, with a number. The numbers will be used to choose the random entry. (my user name is mhchipmunk on flickr, so that’s who you will see the note coming from)
3. Once you’ve entered, make a comment here with a link to your photo (this is how I will get your email address to notify the winner so please make sure you use an active email address that you check.
3. The purpose of this contest is to learn to see things with new eyes, not to increase my blog traffic so there will be no extra entries for following on twitter or facebook. This is also why you aren’t allowed to go out and buy a new prop.
4. The photo must be taken between today and June 30th. If you are shooting digital, please try to leave your EXIF data intact so we can see the date the photo was taken.
Other than that, have fun. And remember that the spirit of this contest is to see old things with new eyes and let your creativity out.