August 2, 2014

Day One of #IFBM2014 - The Food Photography sessions: Key takeaways

The day started with participants trickling in, starting quite early, given the unpredictable nature of Bangalore traffic. The Aloft Bengaluru Cessna Business Park took great care to welcome and even escort each one of them personally to the conference hall. People seemed to be in complete awe of the colours and spunky decor of the hotel.

 The day kicked off with our organizer-MC Arundati giving the welcome note to our participants. The GM of the hotel, Faiz Alam Ansari extended a warm welcome to all the IFBM 2014 attendees and went to the extent of saying "Ask for anything and the answer will be yes". That kind of generosity and warmth set a positive tone for a great day. Marketing and Communications manager, Deepika Pillai also announced a few contests that kept the participants tweeting / sharing their observations all day!

Picture courtesy: @mypref

Session 1 - Foodography by Deeba Rajpal
Deeba, who's collection of completely droolworthy photos and antique props are known to every worthwhile foodblogger needed no introduction. Her talk inspired the participants to put that little extra into their food photos. 
Some of her mantras were "Be inspired""enjoy what you do" "find your own style and work on it".
In the era where everything and anything can be inserted or cut out using post-processing, she had a refreshing take "Attention to detail, right from word go. Use post processing as a luxury, not a crutch."

Pic courtesy: Revati
A few takeaways from her session:

  • Use fresh ingredients and play around with props to create a new picture each time.
  • Pick seasonal and local fresh produce for your cooking and photos. The freshness shows in the photos.
  • use what you have and get creative. No need to spend on expensive props.
  • Reuse props but not in the consecutive posts, people will wonder if you have only one plate :-)
  • Let the food talk. Your eye should focus on the food and not multiple other things. 
  • create a Pinterest board & go back regularly. You'll see a lot of changes in it development over time.
  • With Indian curries don't try to shoot whole bowls. try small portions.
  • Keep a mix of white plates, glass bowls, clear glasses, white baking dishes, small kadais, small saucepans to build a basic collection of props for use.
  • Use a tripod. Once you start using it, you cannot do without it.

She also presented a case study of taking pictures of a footlong sandwich which needs toothpicks / skewers to keep the bread propped up and not fall flat on the fillings. 
We learnt that the combination of natural light and shooting in Auto mode, is capable of giving some stunning results as is evident in her photos.

Session 2 - From your kitchen to your blog - Better Food Photography by Aparna Balasubramaniam 

Pic courtesy: Siri P

Aparna's blog is known for its clean, clutter-free photos. She conducts workshops on food photography. It was indeed a great opportunity for the food bloggers to have a session from Aparna at the IFBM 2014. 

The audience had a good laugh, when Aparna started with the no-nonsense basics of "read your camera's manual", something which we all shudder to do. 

Some of the takeaways from her session:

  • Know your gadget.
  • Shun flash, use natural light.
  • Soft backlight works best and is highly recommended. 
  • Know the rules, only so you can break them.
  • Use toothpaste to remove the shine from glossy surfaces.
  • Rupee coins make great tilt correctors.
  • Get your composition right and keep crop to a minimum. 
  • Focus has to be the sharpest where you want to draw the eye.
  • More than anything else, READ THE MANUAL :D