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Canon Good Food Workshop

There is no right or wrong in photography, each individual has his/her own story to tell. I was very lucky to team up with Canon for Good Food Month this year and co-hosted the Canon Good Food Month Food Photography Workshop at Sun Studios, where I was asked to share a few insights about my food photography journey. It was a great day in the studio to hang out with a bunch of foodies and photography enthusiasts. And the best part, I got to play with a few lenses and showed everyone the beauty and differences of these lenses and what they are capable of.

Many of you have asked me about my camera and lens that I use for my food photography, and to answer your questions, the camera that I am primarily using is my trusty DSLR Canon 5DmkIII and my to-go lens is the EF50mm f/1.4 USM lens. I also have a few other lenses at home from wide to zoom, because when you change your lens, you can change your story.

During the workshop, I introduced everyone to four amazing lenses from Canon and showed everyone how I would use them in my food photography. I also took them out for a spin with a Canon 70D camera body at the Night Noodle Markets (a separate post to follow) and I was super impressed with the results. The four lenses that I featured were the:

EF-S 10-18mm f/4.5-5.6 IS STM

EF 70-200mm f/4L USM

EF 50mm f/1.4 USM

EF-S 60mm f/2.8 Macro USM

Choosing the right lens for the right kind of photography that you are shooting is not an easy task, it could be as daunting as choosing the right wedding ring for your loved one. If you are a happy snapper and still only using a standard kit lens but struggling to get the results that you are looking for, you are not the only one. And if you are in the market to look for a new lens to push your photography skills further but simply don’t know where to start, then please make sure you come back here and check out an upcoming post where I will talk about the above four lenses in further detail and show you with examples how I use them for my food photography and why they have different uses for different scenes and with that can change the story you are trying to tell. And hopefully the next post will inspire you and give you a bit of direction in choosing the best next lens for you. I will have another post which I will test run the lenses and show you the differences between them.

For those who had attended my  photography workshops would already knew that I always begin the workshop by introducing myself and sharing a little about my background with everyone.

And it goes like this….

 

How it all started

“Before I was shooting food, I used to do a lot of street photography, photo documentary or whatever you want to call it. I would carry my camera around on the streets, in different cities, chasing after stories that seem so mundane to some but yet so alien to others, stories that intrigue me, stories that I would love to share with others. You know what I mean? You know… let’s say… BODYBUILDING.

That’s right, bodybuilding. There was one year when I decided to fly to Melbourne to shoot a bodybuilding championship in Camberwell purely out of curiosity. From an outsider’s perspective, it was truly a unique experience and a whole new world to me. It was the story that I wanted to capture and share with everyone. I’m so glad I did it as this body of work awarded me as a finalist in a photo documentary competition in Sydney.”

And here I would like to share some of the photographs from the series:

And here are some of the photographs from the series:

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Tell a story

As much as I would like to chase after interesting stories with my camera around the streets, I have to do something that actually pays the bills. I then started this food blog and focused on food photography, learned as much as I could and eventually, restaurants and PR companies were actually commissioning me to shoot for their clients. Not to mention, I even shot my own cookbooks! Despite the genre of photography that I was shooting has changed from documentary to food, I still always emphasise on one particular important element in my photography, and that is – to tell a story. That’s right, no matter what you are shooting, be it landscape, portrait, sport and even food, you should always try to capture the story behind the shots, let your audience see the photos through your own eyes, and let them be a part of your experience as if they were right there and then. I have always emphasised this to everyone who attends my workshops,

“No matter how good you can capture (and food style) a dish that is beautifully presented, if it doesn’t convey a story, it will still just be another meaningless photo belongs to the glossy cover of a magazine.”

You may ask, “How do you actually tell a story through food photography?” Well, there are actually many ways you can do it. For instance, if I am going to write about a dining experience on my blog, I always make sure I capture not only the food on the table, but also the ambience of the restaurant, the diners who having a great meal (without defamatory of course), it is all part of the story. And if I am shooting a recipe at home, I will sometimes shoot the before-and-after shots – the ingredients, some action shots while cooking, and after I’ve done the “hero” shots, I will then get some finale shots like  a model slicing a cake, holding some food, a slice of cake being munched on  or even empty plates. The whole progression through your photos will take your audience on a food journey from the beginning to the end and that, is what I called “a story”. But of course, to be able to tell a story through photography, you will need a range of lenses to give your audience a varied perspective with different angles of the scene. That’s the reason why I use a few different lenses every time I shoot food photography.

Here I will leave you with some photos and a video from the workshop that I captured using the different lenses and you will see each image tell the story differently.

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EF50mm f/1.4 USM lens | ISO 800, 1/125sec at f/1.6, 50mm

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EF10-18mm Sport lens | ISO 1250, 1/50 sec at f/5.0, 14mm

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EF70-200mm L lens | ISO 1250, 1/100 sec at f/4.5, 70mm

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EF70-200mm L lens | ISO1250, 1/200sec at f/4.0, 84mm

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EF50mm f/1.4 USM lens | ISO 1250, 1/200 sec at f/2.2, 50mm

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EF50mm f/1.4 USM lens | ISO 800, 1/160 sec at f/2.2, 50mm

 

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EF70-200mm L lens | ISO 1000, 1/160sec at f/4.0, 87mm

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EF70-200mm L lens | ISO 1000, 1/80sec at f/4.5, 70mm

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EF70-200mm L lens | ISO 800, 1/100sec at f/5.6, 85mm

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EF-S10-18mm f/4.5-5.6 wide angle lens | ISO 800, 1/100sec at f/5.0, 11mm

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Left – EF70-200mm f/4.0 L lens | ISO 640, 1/125sec at f/4.0, 70mm; Right – EF50mm f/1.4 USM lens | ISO 400, 1/200sec at f/2.5, 50mm

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EF50mm f/1.4 USM lens | ISO 400, 1/250 sec at f/2.5, 50mm

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EF 50mm f/1.4 USM lens | ISO 400, 1/320 sec at f/2.5, 50mm

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EF 50mm f/1.4 USM lens | ISO 1000, 1/80 sec at f/2.2, 50mm

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EF 50mm f/1.4 USM lens | ISO 1000, 1/125 sec at f/2.8, 50mm

 

Here is a video where I talked a little bit more about the four lenses that I featured during the workshop and how I used them to tell a story. Hope it will inspire you to take your food photography a step further.

Until next time, keep shooting!

 

[A Table For Two teamed up with Canon Australia on this project.]