Book Review: Food Photography: From snapshots to great shots

Every step, every gesture leads us in a direction. Sometimes planned, sometimes unplanned. Sometimes we know we are heading, while on rest of the occasions we have yet to discover the outcome.

When I started this blog, it was more of an outcome of an abundance of time. A junction in life when I was the word photography was as alien in my life as flying. Yes I could fly, when the pilot was in the cockpit and similarly I could take pictures, when the camera was in the auto mode. Nothing more, nothing less. But then when I started posting my pics and at the same time the beautiful clicks of others, I was truly ashamed. I knew with a DSLR in hand, I could surely do better than that. (Yes all my pics are from DSLR - however good or bad and that proves, that having a good camera can never make you take good pictures).

So, slowly I started to learn. To read the camera manual, websites and tutorials. And tried to practice. Thankfully the result started showing a difference. In my quest to learn, you could very well imagine my happiness, when I got a great resource to learn and practice my food photography. Yes, I'm referring to the amazing book "Food Photography: From Snapshots to Great Shots" by Nicole S. Young that I got for a review few months back. And though I could have written this review so much before, yet I wanted to read it from cover to cover before I shared it with you all. So if you too want your pictures to look tantalizing and drool worthy, read further about this book.

About the Author:

Nicole S. Young is a full time photographer, specializing in food and  lifestyle photography. Apart from being a commercial stock photographer, she is also an accredited Adobe Certified Expert on photoshop CS5. Her other photography books are "Canon 7D" and "EOS Canon 60D". You can know more about her work, at her blog here

With such a solid background, we - the food blogging and others desiring to enhance their photography - can only be thankful that she authored this book.

About the Book:
Food Photography: From snapshots to great shots, caters to both the beginners as well as amateurs. Hence within its 270 pages, it handholds you to make you familiar with the basic concepts of photography and camera like aperture, ISO, shutter speed, white balance, etc. Before it further elaborates on the lenses, reflectors, lighting, composition, styling and post production. With individual chapters dedicated to each, you can surely start from scratch or brush up on individual topics.

Book Highlights:
Written in a friendly educative manner and with enough visual guidance, the book surely becomes an easy read, unlike many of the other technically heavy ones out there. But for me the highlights of the book were the "poring over shots", "challenges" and the "post processing" chapter.

While never imposing any particular photography style on the readers, Nicole shares her food shots and styles all through the books, in the section titled "Poring over". In these shots, she shares the thought process, the styling tips and the camera settings to make the readers "see" and understand how a particular image was created. Similarly after each chapter, she briefly summarizes the important points and gives a few "challenges" to the readers to practice the theory. Hence making it a more interactive read.

Though I equally loved the lighting (both natural and artificial), composition and styling sections, yet my favourite remains the "post processing" chapter. Though we would all love to use straight out -of-camera shot, yet the truth is that even the best of the pics can get some help from the software. And this chapter is dedicated to guiding you in that - from white balance correction, rectifying clipped areas, sharpening, saving images for web, etc. All in step-by-step manner. And then this amazing chapter is followed by "Behind the scenes" - of how a particular shot and processed by Nicole.

(A result of post processing steps shown in the book)

Greatly recommended for anyone who want to learn the basics of food photography or want to brush it up, along with learning the tips and tricks of improving. This book will surely be a reliable and easy "reference material", while you practice. After all no camera, no book can help you become better without practicing and keeping your eyes and mind open to learning.

In another post, I plan to share some of the learnings from the book. But for that I need proper visual explanation. So till I get down to do that, you can visit Nicole's Blog to know more. Don't forget to read her posts on "Food Styling" and "Behind the scenes"  section.

Food Photography: From snapshots to great shots: Available at Flipkart and Amazon.

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