To go manual with your food photography seems to be an area avoided by many food bloggers. But the truth is that because you’re shooting in controlled conditions, using manual is actually easier.
The auto settings on your camera are AMAZING. If you’re taking photos of your fast-moving children or pets, zipping through shadows and sunlight in seconds, getting your camera to automatically adjust the light means you can capture more moments.
Or if you’re out at a party and just want a few photos of you and your friends, auto is an easy option. You can even give your camera to someone else to take a few.
But when you’re shooting food, it isn’t moving. Nor is the light changing dramatically. Conditions are pretty much fixed unless the sun goes behind a black cloud. And shooting manual totally comes into its own.
Whether you think it’s too big, scary or simply not for you, here are five reasons to go manual with your food photography.
There’s a lot going on in a food shoot at once. You are managing light, your food – often in a hurry before it wilts/cools/dries out – styling and thinking about all the different shots you want. By shooting manual on your camera, you remove one variable, so you’re able to concentrate better on everything else. You just fix your settings at the start of your shoot and that is done, unless the light changes hugely.
2. SAVE TIME IN LIGHTROOM
When you go manual with your food photography, you’re usually fixing your settings for all of your shoot. That means all of your exposures will be consistent. And it means that once you adjust one photo in LightRoom, you can sync all of the other photos with the same settings.
Just think about that for a second. Edit one photo and have all the others – perhaps 50 or more – either done with their basic editing or very close to it. How much time would that save you? How much frustration would disappear?
You know what is going to happen with your camera when you’re on manual. There are no surprises. No weirdness or disappointment when your camera does something you weren’t expecting. What we see is teamwork between our eyes and our brain. Your camera does not have a brain attached to interpret what is in the viewfinder – even though camera designers get pretty smart with some of the settings. By shooting on your manual settings, you don’t have to second guess your camera.
4. YOU’RE THE BOSS
This is your shoot and you are in charge. Think of you being the boss with your camera as your employee. Which means that you tell your camera what to do and it does it.
To go manual with your food photography is like giving clear instructions to an employee: having standard operating procedures spelt out in video, audio and text.
You’re going to get the results you expect rather than the results your camera thought you might like.
5. BFF WITH YOUR CAMERA
Seriously, who doesn’t want to be besties with their camera? Perhaps you haven’t thought of getting to know your camera better. Or maybe you just eye it as a ‘tech’ thing.
And unlike human friends, It comes with an instruction book. So you can get to know as much or as little of your camera as you need or want. And stop wondering what’s going on in its tiny mind.
So do think about going manual with your food photography. You can save time, frustration and make a new friend.
If you want more help on how to go manual with your food photography, you can get the Food Photography Quick-start Templates to help you with that. The templates contain three templates for taking food photos including styling, lighting set-up and camera settings.