Time to get serious and start playing - with my camera.

playing with camera

Sometimes I get really depressed when I look at all the gorgeous food photos on websites of professional food bloggers. I think, “How did they do that?” Of course, some bloggers hire professional photographers, some have spouses who are professional photographers and some bloggers are  professional photographers themselves. Then, you’ve got amateurs like me. I’m just a regular person who likes to cook and has a decent but limited Nikon Coolpix P510, which I keep on Auto.

Yes, I know my camera has far more capabilities than I use and I really should experiment with it. So, I decided it was time to start playing around and see what I could do. Let me tell you right up front that I have not figured it all out! But, I have learned a few things.

First, the old days of having a manual are gone, so I had to search for it online, which was easy enough even though I’d rather have the physical book. (You can tell that I am not in my 20’s, right?) As I began to read through the manual, I discovered the Selective Color feature under Effects. As the photo above shows, I could choose to pick up only red or only yellow. Cool! 

Next I tried for only pink:


And after that, only aqua. 


And back to yellow:


Fun! I can’t wait to try it with people! I had no idea my camera could do this!

I learned a little more about the Close Up choices in Effects as well. Here’s a photo taken on that setting, using the Noise Reduction Burst feature. I always wondered what that meant, and now I know. It takes a burst of pictures quickly and makes a composite. I’m still not sure if that’s better than the Single Shot option, but at least I understand it now.


I tried all sorts of techniques to get a super close-up of food with a very blurry background, but this was the only one that came close. Unfortunately, I do not remember what the heck I did! 


It was interesting to take some photos of the same thing with different settings.  

Here’s one using the High-Contrast Monochrome setting:


Then the High Key setting:


And finally, the Low Key setting:


Who comes up with the names of these features? At least I now know what they mean, and I might even find a reason to use them.

One setting that was easy to understand was Painting. I’ve used it frequently. Here’s a picture of calendula blossoms on the Auto setting, then the same shot with the Painting feature:



I tried many other manual options and must confess that I am still confused by many of them. However, it was time to start thinking about dinner.

When my husband came home and asked what I did all day, I told him I  played around with my camera and started writing up a blog entry about it (which I’m only finishing now, a few days later). He said, “When are you going to work on your cookbook?” Sigh. 

Being able to take attractive pictures of the food I prepare, is very important to the cookbook, especially since I can’t afford to hire a professional or buy a better camera at this time. That drives my husband crazy because we eat what I’ve prepared. Right as he starts to dig in, I say, “Wait! I have to take a picture of it first!” 

That’s not the best way to go about getting the lighting and setting just right, as you can imagine. However, I just do my best in the 30 seconds my husband is willing to wait. At least my photos are real-life and show what the dish looks like under normal circumstances, which is, one person quickly putting together a meal and serving it to their hungry family.

I still have a lot to learn, but I hope this inspires you to understand your camera a little better and have fun with it. Please comment on my blog posts and recipes to let me know what you think of the photos I take, as well as any other comments you might have. Just be nice, please! 

Next, I need to learn more about the camera on my iPhone. I occasionally take a picture with it just so I can post on Instagram. Follow me there if you don’t already. My Instagram name is foodfitfaith. 

Time to stop playing and tend to dinner!

© Bobbi Mullins 2011, All rights reserved. FOOD FITNESS FAITH™