Vaishakhi Lahoti


Hungry anybody?

Hungry anybody?

Food photography is one of those realms that I feel I am still so behind the curve. Its not so much lack of technique that hinders me, more so of lack of the right settings and of course the food.
Blame it on the craze for the show “Chopped“, in the past few years my quotient for beautiful food has increased a lot. I have always been the kind of person who did not care how the food looked as long it was edible and generally tasty. That may also give you an idea of how bad of a cook I am! Hubby on the other hand is a great cook (good for me) and as I grew as a photographer I grew the appetite for good food photos.
Most photos of food in magazines are very well choreographed. Let me explain, not only is the food plated impeccably, garnished colorfully but there are color coordinated shiny cutlery and some candles, and wine.  In contrast, after cooking a good meal at home, its generally left on the vessel it got cooked to cool. The cutlery if not the disposable stuff would be worn out. No pretty napkins here.
Lighting is also an issue, kitchens dont have very pretty lighting so a separate specialized lighting is almost necessary. You can get away with a diffused sunlight through a window in the day. Currently, I use my flash to bounce light into the food and try to get that “professional food”. That being said, I have to learn a lot of tricks for this kind of photography.
Most food photos are tack sharp, something that can only be achieved through really good glass and also from a very close range which would need some macro capability. For a long time the only lens I could use for this purpose was the 50mm F1.8. The problem with it was that it got very soft at the larger apertures and it had a minimum focus distance of 1.5 feet meant I couldnt get very close either. Ever since the 60mm F2.8 macro lens arrived, I’ve been on the moon. It can focus at 3.5 inches! And its so sharp that you could cut your fingers just looking at the photos (poor joke I know).
The following collection of photos are mostly with that fabulous lens and some from my old experiments. Do let me know if you like them, and more so if you dont because that is the only way I learn.
I found a cheap little soft box on amazon, hopefully with that in my arsenal I could kick up a few notches on my food photography. It will be fun though to see my dear hubby’s expression when he sweats out a super duper dish after hours in the heat and then I arrive with the softbox in one hand and camera in other, to ultimately claim accolades for the photos of his work!
Spring is here

Spring is here

As a photographer it is an absolute joy to finally see some colors after a drab winter season. For me though, this year spring brought in enough work from my day job to kill any hopes of taking many photos. So I drove along the roads looking at the cherry blossoms blooming all around me and the dogwoods teasing me with all the flowers. One day there was nothing but bare branches and within a week there was color all around. It took a good amount of effort and will and love for flowers to finally drag hubby and baby to the Missouri Botanical garden- my mecca for all things flora. This year there was an orchid show that made it all the more enticing.
As expected, I could barely walk a foot without taking a photo. And after we were done with the Orchid show and all the Magnolias and the Cherry Trees, I was left with more than 300 photos to process. In the olden days (when life was easy and there was lots of time to spare) I would have worked on all of them. Now, I had to ruthlessly delete anything that was remotely similar or not perfect. Cutting it down to about 60 odd photos and working on them still took a whole week. By now, am so tired, I don’t want to look at them, but I know next year I’ll see these photos again and feel happy.
Although sometimes I wonder if it’s worth the late nights and the dark circles….