I remember my first post on instagram – I thought my clever plate tilt and my quick filter change made my pic of charcuterie look stellar, however, after days and days of showcasing my proud posted photo, I only received one like – from my sister. How did all of these other handles get so many likes? Do they have an app that they use, do they use a super expensive camera, are these pictures even theirs?
As easy as it seems and how mindless it may feel, being able to take a photo the “right” way is agonizing. Instead of a quick snap like in the past, I spend minutes analyzing and criticizing every little detail before posting. Standing on chairs, putting plates on floors, even holding up the entrée to a boring brick wall – we foodies do it all for that “perfect” shot. My fiance no longer even flinches when he’s given a plate of food, knowing very well he can’t touch the contents for a few moments. Starting from no photography background (like most of us) or skills, I’ve learned A LOT over the years about how to perfect each shot, however, I still crave on learning more. Because let’s face it, us foodies are always hungry for more “likes.”
During one of my “food creeping” sessions on an early Saturday morning, I came across an extremely colorful and orgasmic handle – Infatuations’ Chicago based photographer, Christina Slaton (@christinaslaton). As soon as I saw her feed, my tummy began to grunt and I couldn’t stop- like binge eating. However, the picture that won me over (besides her pics from the Taste of Chicago) was the fried chicken steamed bun aka the gift from god. In addition to balancing her new hubs and adorable pup, Christina slays at capturing food at its finest, making us followers drown in our own salivation. With her work featured in Infatuation and New York Magazine’s Grub Street, I knew Christina was an excellent resource to answer everyone’s coveted picture taking questions…
How do you photograph inside when there’s light or at night?
I always photograph by a window, because I absolutely love natural light, but in low lighting or at night, I use one light source (an external flash), and a reflector (to bounce light). Super simple.
I always photograph slightly underexposed, and brighten in photoshop or lightroom later to preserve detail
Do you have a favorite camera style?
Currently, my workhorse camera is a Canon 5D Mark II…I love Canon, but I don’t discriminate against any other brand. I think lenses are really what matters. Having a few different lenses can totally diversify your brand.
Christina’s Top Six Tricks for being a better Photographer
- Get Jazzed – If you aren’t excited to shoot this hot dog, why should anybody else be excited about your photo of this hot dog? Pump yourself up with your favorite music…do a little jig. Get inspired. Only good things come from a jazzed photo.
- Learn how to photograph the “right” way, then improvise…make the settings your own depiction of how YOU see the world. Everyone has a different eye. Sit with the subject weather, it’s your dog, your bff or your pasta, and play with the settings on your camera. Practice makes perfect
- Speaking of different eyes, find someone who has inspiring work and ask to follow them around. I followed Huge Galdones, a brilliant and creative food photographer here in Chicago. Not only did I pick up a few tips, but I had a great time doing it.
- STOP WORRYING about what other people think. You are as great as you let yourself be at photography. People can have their opinions, and through you should always take them into consideration, at the end of the day, all that matters is your confidence. Keep it on the highest level possible.
- Create your own style. It could be a prop that you use or maybe you only take photos in low lighting. Whatever it may be, perfect it, then do that for awhile, then move on to another thing and perfect that too. This is how i prevent creative block (which is totally a thing) . Try not to get stuck in your ways. Unless of course this specific style is exactly what your client wants.
- Never stop learning