Archive for November, 2011
We are lucky to have some to the world’s leading photographers on our judging panel for the TWiT Photo Guest Quest. We wanted to help you learn a bit more about who they are, so we are sharing some of their photography insights and tips.
“Style is something that takes a long, long, long time…What it takes is shooting and just doing it over and over and over.”
“At the end of the day, you should always try to follow your heart…it is the first step in attempting to take your images to the next level.”
“Make an image that tells a story. It doesn’t have to be a real story, but show that you thought about it, give attention to styling, posing, expression and how the model fits in the surrounding area.”
“Don’t settle for cheese. Don’t settle for a pre-conditioned response.”
“Anchor your subject and don’t have a confusing subject.”
We are really looking forward to seeing your entries!
For more information on our judges, check out their websites below:
I’ve had the honor of talking shop with Nicole Young before, most recently during our Google+ hangout, and one thing is always clear: Nicole loves what she does. You may regularly see her stunning work on iStockphoto – the Photoshop expert is also a leading food photographer and blogger, whose latest book, Food Photography: From Snapshots to Great Shots is not only an excellent visual tutorial, but also a treat for the foodie eye. In this post, Nicole takes us behind the scenes to her new loft to shoot a tasty stir fry. Learn a few pro tips for turning a delicious meal into a tantalizing photograph, and try to get too hungry while you read!
Post + Photos by Nicole S. Young.
I enjoy photographing food, mostly because I love food, cooking, and shopping for kitchen and dining accessories. The great thing about food is that I’ll never, ever run out of dishes to photograph, but sometimes I just lose my excitement about creating food photos. Maybe I get lazy, or I’m just overworked and can’t focus long enough on a solid idea to really wrap my brain around it. I’ll hit a wall, a “mini” wall, but I feel creatively drained and lose my motivation. It happens to all of us, but all it takes is a little motivation to boost that excitement and feel the need to create again.I’ve found myself at this mini-wall for the past month, and I needed some inspiration.
The other day I was out shopping at Crate and Barrel and found some accessories that were just gorgeous, yet very simple, yet also very elegant and perfect props for a photograph. Then I started to think about those soba noodles that were sitting in my cupboard, and the pieces started to fall into place. The next day I walked out to the market to pick up fresh veggies and seafood (another way I get inspired to photograph food), came home and cooked up a meal. It was perfect, and exactly what I was hoping for. I just needed a small dose of inspiration to get me back on track.To create this photograph I first set the stage with the dishes and props. I always set up the camera, dishes and lights, and also get my exposure in-camera before cooking the food. Food spoils and wilts quickly, so my goal is to always get the area prepped so that when the food is ready it is ready to be photographed immediately.
Next, I start cooking the food. All of the food I prepared for this meal is edible, but I do cook it a little differently when I know it will be photographed. For example, I blanched the green veggies before adding them to the stir-fry so they would be much brighter in color, and I set the noodles aside in a small amount of oil to keep them shiny and prevent them from sticking together.
Once the food was all cooked and ready to go I added it to the bowl and did a tiny bit of styling to make it look presentable. To ensure that the noodles wouldn’t sink too low in the bowl and look flat, I added a small upside-down bowl that would help bulk up the pasta. Next I placed the noodles in the bowl, used my fingers to help curl them and move them around, and then I added some of the other ingredients and placed them throughout the dish so that they were spaced evenly. Lastly, I put a beautiful juicy prawn on top to finish it off.
To light the dish, I used back-light (I have very large Northeast facing windows in my loft) and filled them with white foam board. I also softened the window-light a bit with a diffuser, and used a piece of black foam board directly behind the setup to cut down on reflections. Just before pressing the shutter I also added some fill-light to the front of the food to add a little bit more light and color to the photograph.
Yet another filing cabinet is full with rolls of negatives. The sheets piling up trip after trip, year after year, project after project. Trapped. I have so much imagery and so many experiences to share with no options to “get my work out there”. Something had to change. I feared that I would remain in a kind of purgatory, forever separated from my dream of becoming pro-photographer. I desperately started entering contests in the hopes of gaining exposure for my work. Despite rejections piling in, I persisted in entering as many contests as I could. Then my luck changed. I started to win. My images soon found their way into publications including American Photo, National Geographic Traveller, and PDN. The best prizes were not about winning digital cameras and camera bags. They displayed my work. They allowed me to share my stories, images, and experiences. Much of my current success is due to the initial exposure that my myriad contest entries provided.
Being the host of TWiT Photo has been an incredible experience, and I am fortunate that I spend time learning from some of the world’s most inspirational photographers. TWiT Photo is a platform to allow us to give back to the industry that I love. The Guest Quest contest is our way of providing the opportunity I desperately desired to the next generation of emerging photographers.
Despite good intentions, some have chosen to question the merits of the image rights necessary for us to assume to run the contest. As U.S. citizens, both contest organizers and photographers are obliged by copyright law to use some pretty intense legalese in the contest Terms – this is a fact I have had to face my entire career, and a personal decision I had to make when entering each contest. Similar to the model release that photography subjects are required to sign, which allows for the images to be legally used and manipulated, these Terms allow contest administrators to advertise and display the entrants’ images without violating any rights.
Because the purpose of the Guest Quest contest is to provide exposure to the top emerging photographer, the winner’s images will be shared across many channels. Sharing work in this way can leave the contest organizers open to legal recourse if they have not obtained the proper rights to the work. The legalese – which, to some, can sound frighteningly close to a “rights grab” — exists to cover these bases and allow us to legally offer the contest’s Grand Prize. Without this agreement, we would be unable to organize this or any other exposure driven contest.
It is an honor to receive the work that the participants in TWiT Photo Guest Quest have chosen to share with us thus far. Your efforts and imagery are inspiring and we very much look forward to sharing the portfolio of our Winner on the show. Thank you from the TWiT Photo team.