Photography Homework & iPhone Apps Recap

Yesterday I was reading Ashley’s photography post about lighting and she gave us homework.  Darn her.

But it was fun homework.  Or you may not really think this is fun because I am about to make you want to toss this salad out the window with all the salad pictures to follow.

I am  “turning in my homework” by showing how not moving the food at all, just moving myself, impacts lighting which makes such a huge difference in photos.

Here we go…

In the first two photos I have lighting coming in from two sources: in front of me and behind me, i.e. 12 o’clock lighting, and 6 o’clock lighting, or front lit and back lit.

Overhead shot, front lit + back lit

Eye-level shot, front lit + back lit

Then I walked around the other side of my counter top (so the light is still front lit and back lit, at 12 o’clock lighting, and 6 o’clock lighting, but I moved.

These next two pictures are much more yellow than the first two which are more “neutral” or white.

Overhead ish shot, front lit + back lit

Eye-level ish shot, front lit + back lit

Then I shot from what would be 3 and 9 o’clock lighting. Also shot vertically rather than horizontally.

And then I kept walking and taking pictures of the same food from different angles and spots:

Look at how dark this shot is

And I can make the same food look differently by shooting vertically

Or by cropping my shot differently while taking the picture (I didn’t edit/crop/alter any of these photos in iPhoto or Photoshop in any way for my homework)

And by playing with where the fork appears in the shot by moving myself and where I shot from

So before you all want to puke with green salad photo overkill, I’ll stop.

Moral of the story and the lessons I learned (not just today but in nearly 2 years of blogging and taking pictures) are that:

Lighting matters (front lit, back lit, lighting sources, etc.)  Please see Amanda’s recent and wonderful post on “o’clock lighting

Angles matter (overhead, eye level, etc.)

Cropping matters (how close you are to the food, how much background you get in, etc.)

Hope my homework is ok, Teacher Ashley.

After all that salad it’s time for something sweeter like a…

microwave blueberry banana oat cake

Or mini-ish Blueberry Streussel Muffins (Vegan, GF, one-bowl, no mixer required).

I mentioned how much I like mini things a couple days ago.

From my last post about getting an iPhone, thanks for filling me in on your favorite apps, and for sharing your iPhone tips and tricks.

Please check the comments but so far here were some of the highlights from the apps you like and all of these are free:

Runkeeper (for plotting your runs with GPS)


Photoshop Express (or Hipstamatic was mentioned a few times but I only found this one for a small fee)


Google Reader



…And more here.

It’s been so much fun playing with my new phone and downloading useful apps.  Keep the suggestions coming!

And to everyone who asked:

Yes, I love it way more than Blackberry.  Blows Blackberry away.

Yes, I am adapting to the touchscreen and it’s not seeming to be that big of a deal.

Make sure to enjoy some chocolate this weekend, too.

Raw Vegan Chocolate Coconut Snowballs (no-bake, GF, one bowl, freezer friendly recipe)


1. Best thing you’ve ate or done so far this weekend?

Playing with my iPhone and customizing it, downloading apps, and learning it.

2. Photography.  Do you see the differences in the pictures with the lighting? Or do you think angle of shot, i.e. overhead or eyelevel, or cropping the shot in/out makes more of a difference than lighting?For me, they are all important.  But I think that if your lighting is great, then whatever else you do just looks even better.

For example, if you’re at that “perfect” eye level spot, but your lighting is crap, your photo just isn’t going to live up.

Or you can have a great macro shot all lined up, but if your lighting isn’t right, the shot suffers.

Then again, I just recently got my DSLR

Here was a lens review post I did

And here was info about my old Point & Shoot

3. What are your photography tips and tricks?  What has helped you to take better photos?

I am clearly not an “expert” but I am trying to learn and teach myself things.  I read everything I can get my hands on and take tons of pictures, and learn by trial and error.

I have contemplated taking classes, too, but am on the fence about that.

I also have about 50 links, not exaggerating, of great photography posts about shooting tips, tricks, camera info & settings, etc that I have compiled in my email folders.  It would be kind of a PITA to post it, but I would be willing to if there is interest. Let me know.


Have a great weekend!

39 comments on “Photography Homework & iPhone Apps Recap”

  1. I can’t believe the difference in the yellow color of the photos just by you moving around. That’s insane! I have sooooo much to learn w/ photography. It’s overwhelming.

    I’m glad you’re having fun with your new iphone!

  2. I play with my camera every time I take pictures. I change my mind for the mood I’m in for what settings I like. Sometimes I like the yellow and sometimes I like the natural light.

  3. I try all different angles and lighting options when taking my photos. I much prefer to take pictures in the summer though – the lighting is so much better, and I can go outside to take some pics.

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  5. I enjoyed this post and I promise I didn’t get tired of all the salad photos. I’m heading over to check out Amanda’s and Ashley’s posts right now. Thanks! :-)

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  8. Pretty neat seeing the difference between all of those camera positions.

  9. Amazing photography lesson! Its crazy how many details go into taking a picture! I love my I phone. It is soo addicting though :)

  10. I learned all of my photography skills exactly like you are doing.. trial and error and practice! It’s so much fun isn’t it? Sometimes, I go back to the early days of my blog and am mortified by the photography, but it’s fun to see the progression as my skills developed.

    • yes, trial and error, for sure

      and i am also mortified by my old pics but there are recipes that are good, despite the pics being awful, so i relink the recipes anyway b/c lots of them I wont/dont want to make again JUST to take pics, so it’s like the bad pics will never fully die :)

  11. Great homework!=) I do notice photography since I work in film at the moment.. Great shots btw. I made you blueberry oatcakes too.. (but i ate it too fast to take a pic) but they were awesome! I’ll have to make a back up one next time just in case. ha!

    My weekend so far has been at work. but its ok.. Have fun with your iPhone!! Enjoy your day darlin!

  12. I just try to take photos from as many angles as possible and with as many different lighting options. I’ve figured out in natural light, at my kitchen window in mid-afternoon EXACTLY where to stand and where to point for the best lighting. All bets are off otherwise.

    Trial and error. A scientists’ best friend. :D

    I’m off to shop!

  13. Uhh…I think I just want a nice, fresh green salad even more than ever now :P Now that I think of it, I haven’t had one in a while. For some reason salads are “summer food” in my mind?
    I think you did your homework wonderfully. Yes, lighting does matter! I’m always moving around as much as I can to get the shot I want. For food stuff I can’t always move as much as I like, but there are often times at least better angles to take. I used to think just because lighting was natural it was better, but it’s really not the case; At times, natural light can offer even harsher shadows than artificial. One thing I’ve learned about photography? That it’s something you’ll never stop learning about! Seriously – there’s SO many little tips and tricks for each and every field of photography you can get yourself into. I like to soak it alllll in :)

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  15. Personally I never get tired of seeing salad photos. I could stare at veggies all day long (maybe that’s why I love going to the produce department and farmer’s market so much)! I really can tell the difference between the photos and would love to try that experiment for myself. Good photos really makes a difference in blogging!

    Have a lovely day!

  16. So glad you’re enjoying the iPhone, I was cursing my work BlackBerry’s keypad today trying to text my boss, it’s simply horrible compared to the iPhone. And I hate that I can’t tap phone numbers in emails to call them, installing apps is a super pain, my BB complaint list could go on for miles. :-P Awesome photography pics, good girl doing your homework. :-)

    1. Sampled raw treats as a Whole Foods raw fest.
    2. Yes and it’s a fun thing to play with.
    3. Mainly getting used to holding the camera steady for great macro shots, that took getting used to with the heavy added flash on mine.

  17. wow, there’s so much that go into photography!! that’s awesome you’re learning a loT!
    thanks for all the tips for the party (which you are invited to btw!!). i ended up making one my friend’s request (massaged kale and avocado salad with bulgur) :)

  18. love all of the pictures I never thought about times of day as a influence in my photos enjoy your app downloading there are so many awesome ones

  19. one thing I didn’t expect to happen from having a food blog was to get better at using my camera. I’m still learning, but little tricks like moving around the shot or messing around with the buttons are making my photos improve a little bit over time. Ashley’s photos are so great, too!

    The best thing I did this weekend was teach my toddler yoga class. Usually we have a small crowd, maybe 3 kiddos if I’m lucky. Today I had 7! That means 14 people, since all kiddos bring an adult…the room was packed and there was great energy happening!

    I hope you’re enjoying your weekend and having fun w/ your iphone!

  20. Hey these are actually pretty dang helpful!! I always take ten gillion pics so I can get JUST the right one to post:) Thanks for the extra tips though girl!

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  23. You really can tell a HUGE difference! I’m always surprised how a little change in angle can make a shoot look completely different, but I think lighting is the absolute key! Without proper lighting, it doesn’t matter where you stand, your picture just isn’t going to look as good!

    Best thing I’ve eaten: Ashley’s blueberry coconut cream buckwheat bake! Mmmm!

  24. I’ve definitely done some experimenting of my own with lighting and angles, and it really does blow me away how much of a difference repositioning yourself can make!!

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