Macro Mode with Food Photography | Transcription

It’s time for macro photography. Now, what better way to demonstrate to you all macro photography when I’m going to show you how to shoot macro photos, then to shoot food.

All right. Let’s talk through what we are going to be doing here. To help us out we have our good friend and professional chef, James Lee and James is going to be basically helping with cooking and also plating the food. The food styling and everything. Okay, we have James here to help with that. Let’s talk about our lighting set up and some of the things you guys need to know from the photography stand point.

Probably one of the most important things to know is the actual lens that we are going to be using for macro photography. A macro lens is basically going to allow us to focus in on our subject at a very close range. The actual kit lenses that come with both of our Canon and Nikon cameras, and also other cameras and makes that are out there, the kit lens that come with it are actually pretty decent at macro photography. For example, this 18-55mm lens, it actually can focus at 0.8ft, which is solid. I could be taking my shots from right here and at 55mm, it’s actually more like 80-90mm on this camera because this is a 0.6 crop sensor camera. We are seeing a closer focal length that this actually is telling us. It’s actually closer than fifty five. This is beautiful because it allows us to get close and to get these nice tight focused shots on these macro images.

Same thing with the Nikon. We can also use other lenses. There are specialty macro lenses, but they cost quite a bit more. We want to try to do everything we can with just the basics. That way if you do have a 100mm, I have 2.8 macro, you can get even more amazing macro images. Even with our standard kit lenses and our standard camera, we are going to be able to pull of really professional macro shots. Remember that’s one big important thing, is that focusing distance. By the way, if you are too close in the focusing distance, the lens is simply not going to focus. You got to make sure you are behind that minimal focus distance and it will tell you typically right on the lens itself.

Next we have two other lenses here that are great for macro photography, particularly on these two camera bodies because they are crop sensor bodies. We get a little bit of amplification on the focal length. These are the 50mm. We have the 50mm 1.8 for both the Nikon and for the Canon. We have our scrims here. We have just a standard scrim and we have our five in one reflector on this side. We will be using the reflector to add a little bit of light in here and there and we’ll be using this scrim if we need to block any light or to soften light.

What we have here is we’re going to call this our placeholder. What we want to do is get everything ready. Get our lighting, get our camera set up. Everything good to go with our placeholder images, or our placeholder subject and then we are going to add in the food as soon as he plates it and we are going to shoot it as it’s plated. What I have to do is choose how I want to shoot this. With the light coming from the right side, and again it creates a nice directional look to it, it’s not bad. It’s better than shooting it flat. Instead, what I want to do is shoot against the light. The problem is if I go and do that right now, if I shoot against the light, most likely, the flash is going to pop back up. You saw that. Why? Because this side is become too dark. We are shooting from the shadow side, but what we do get when we shoot from the shadow side is a beautiful highlight along the outside of the food. That highlight is going to add a lot of extra dimension into these images and we want to go for that. What we need to do, we are going to shoot this way toward the light, but we are going to use a silver side reflector to fill that light back in.

Essentially what we are going to be doing is bringing out this silver reflector and we are going to bring this right over to he light. I’m going to be careful not to hit any of these. We are going to grab that light directly from the window and we’re going to fill it right back into the food. What that will do is just create a nice bright light on the front that’s still going to fill all the shadows. Still the highlight on the back is going to be a little bit brighter. We’re going to get a beautiful highlight in the backside.

Already you guys can see exactly how this is going to turn out. What we are going to do is come around to the other side. We are going to get everything set up, get all of our shot ready and in place and then we’re just going to wait for James to basically plate the food. Let’s do that now.

James is just finishing up some of the details over there with the steak. We are getting ready to plate it for good and we need to make sure that we got our settings and everything all right. Let’s go ahead and bring the silver side up. Olivia is going to be helping me hold the silver side reflector in close. We’re going to bring this in to fill. I’m going to show you some of the challenges that we are going to be having when keeping it in the automated macro mode.

Generally, automated macro mode works great. We are on the little flower mode and it works great when there is enough light in the scene. The problem is when there’s not enough light, it’s going to pop the flash up. You’re going to see right now. Let me bring up the live view just so you can see what’s happening. Here’s my focus area. Even with the silver side reflector in, when I go to fire, it pops the flash up. With the flash, it’s not going to look good. I could keep shooting this way. I could keep shooting in macro mode with the automated macro mode and sometimes I’m going to get it to work without flash, sometimes it’s going to flash. It’s going to be really irritating.

What I’m going to do actually is flip over the manual and just show you how I would do it on my own. What I’ll probably do too is, let’s go ahead and switch out to actually the 50mm 1.8 lens too. We can actually dial down to a more shallow aperture if we want to. Let’s go ahead and dial in the setting that we want to use for this. If I end up getting a lot of the background, then I’ll adjust it from there. I’m going to go down to right out one two hundredth of a second is pretty solid. Let’s bring up our histogram so we can see where we’re at. In the histogram you can see that our shadows, we still have a little ways to go there, but our highlights are kind of peaking a little bit. What I might do it go to about one two fiftieth of a second or just bring my aperture up. Maybe I’ll shoot it at two point eight because at F two it is a little bit too shallow, at least for this macro shot. I want a little bit more of depth of field.

Next I’m just going to get out of the aperture menu. There we go. We’re going to slow down the shutter just a little bit to balance it out. This is going to be right where we’re going to be at. We are going to also bring in the silver side of the reflector to be right there to fill in that deep dark shadow and then we’re going to basically shoot our shot.

We are ready to go. We are going to plate the steak right onto here. We are going to set it up and then we are going to go ahead and shoot it. Let’s do that now.

What I found I realize is basically, from this side, we are not getting enough light. The light is coming straight at me. Our shadow is going to be on this side. We need to reflect back in here. We are just going to make a little modification. Instead of reflecting from this side where we have enough light, because the light is kind of bouncing off the refrigerator, it’s giving us a little bit of light over here. We need to bring the reflector on the left side and then we’re good to go. Let’s just do that real quick. Let’s bring the reflector over to this side.


Quick Tip: Now when y’all are on a shoot, I want to give you a little tip that always helps out. Make sure to keep your shooting and your thought process fluid throughout the shoot. Don’t get stuck trying to make something work. When you are shooting, you are sort of solving a problem, solving a puzzle. You are trying to arrive at that best light, that best look, that best everything just for that right image. Sometimes it really requires that you might change the lighting or the composition or whatever it is. If something isn’t working, do exactly what Pye has done here and make adjustments. You should be constantly adjusting and fine tuning in every scene to get that perfect look. Take a shot. Take a look at the image. Fine tune it. Adjust it. Then keep shooting. Don’t just rattle off a hundred shots thinking, oh I can just fix that in post. No no. No. Take the time to get it right in camera, and then you’ll end up with a much better image for post production.


I’m going to go ahead and switch back to the 18-55mm just because I think it will let me get a little bit closer. I do need to raise the ISO. I’ll probably go up to ISO 400 on this camera. That should be okay. Let’s see. Okay, that looks gorgeous.

Okay. Here we have something a little bit different this go around. We have a reflective surface here in the white and that’s going to present a little bit of a challenge. The white plate is beautiful because it’s really going to make the food pop, but check this out. I’m going to take quick shot here. I want you all to see basically what I’m seeing.

What I wanted to show is just that we are picking up reflections. Anything white or anything silver or with a reflective surface is going to pick up reflections around it. To control that, since we are trying to control white reflections on a white surface, I’m going to use the white scrim.

Let’s bring this down for one second. We’re still going to use this in just a second to fill light in, but for now, what I want to do is actually bring out our scrim and we are going to hold this directly over the plate just like this. Now with that in place, I can take the same shot and you are going to notice that it really does a great job of mitigating these reflections. I do need to make a little bit of an adjustment for light here.

Let’s just take that quick shot and you can see how much less reflection there is in the shot now. That’s great and what we want to do is we will probably bring this down really close to the food just so we get a nice kind of bright look on the food. It’s going to create a really beautiful look. I’m going to get in there and actually shoot the shot. You are probably going to see me disappear underneath this.

We are going to use the same lens. This is our 18-55mm. I’m going to go ahead and get in there. We are going to get in here tight like this, and with my elbows on the table, I’m going to shoot this. Okay? Remember, slow shutter speed means take a couple extra shots. I have my highlight alert on right now and it tells me that I don’t have anything blown. The image looks nice. It looks bright and beautiful, but we are okay because we haven’t blown anything out. It looks kind of too bright, but that’s why we use the histogram. That’s why we use the highlight alert because this is a very high key scene that you are looking at. The steak was very kind of low key. It was very dark. With a high key scene, with a low key scene, we want to make sure that we are using the histogram because otherwise, we can’t really tell where those tones are going to lie. From the screen it looks like it’s blown out but in reality it’s actually not.







Chapter 7: BONUS

Total Course Run Time: 6H 30M 21S