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As a mother of two busy kids, I know how hard it can be to plan and make meals. Between school, events, and other commitments, it’s hard to find time for much else. Son Shine Kitchen was created to help other busy parents discover new recipes and learn cooking tips so they can create amazing meals for the family. Your next favorite recipe is only a few clicks away.


Notes from Episode #024: Food Blog Photography on a Budget

  • Fun Fact – Stephanie was born and raised in FL. She now calls TX home but her heart is in FL. Also, she met her husband playing ultimate frisbee at midnight!
  • Has enjoyed scrapbooking and photography her whole life.

Cameras & Lenses – 

  • There are good point and click cameras cameras out there and the new iphones are great for point and click as well. This is a great place to start as you get into blogging. Best to try something simple and affordable and see what you really need and want for your business. Everyone will have a different take on this depending on your skill set and interest.

  • Lenses: the lower end cameras come with a kit lense. This works great as you get used to working with the equipment and building your skills.

  • Stephanie uses a prime 50mm lens, which has one set focal length. These start around $100.

  • The macro lens works if you want detailed photography. Often she takes photos from farther away and so she doesn’t use this type of lens right now.

  • Canon and Nikon offer rentals. This might be an affordable option for you as you determine what you want to invest in.

  • Stephanie primarily shoots her photos at 45 degree angles. Try finding your style, then determine what equipment will help you achieve the result you want.

  • Remember: you don’t need a large budget for photography to get started. These are online photos so you don’t need to print large photos or need fine pixels. 

Camera settings – 

  • READ your camera’s manual. This will really help you get to know your settings. 

  • Stephanie recommends taking the photos in raw and then you have more abilities to make minor changes.

  • Adobe Bridge is what Stephanie uses for editing. 

  • Lightroom is another program from Adobe. 

Backdrops – 

  • Affordable options are actually simple and not expensive. Stephanie uses scrap pieces of wood left over from her Father-in-Law’s wood working. Look around your world and use what’s on hand.

  • Foam boards are functional.

  • Contact paper placed on thin pieces of wood gives a great backdrop.

  • Sponge paint some wood.

  • Peel and stick tiles.

  • You can use a piece of wood/tile/peel&stick to sit the food on top of but it’s also a good idea to use one as your “back splash” or back wall for what the photo is up against (where a wall would be if you don’t like yours or the lighting’s bad).

Artificial lights –

  • Stand lights with umbrellas on a tripod – available on amazon for around $25

  • Set up your lighting ahead of time so you have an idea of what kind of lighting you’ll need and position/angle to obtain the best photo. 

Reflectors – 

  • Cheap foam boards are great for helping with reflection – you can score them so they can be angled and stay up on their own. 

  • If the sun is harsh, try getting a sheer curtain to hang over incoming sunlight on a window, even put it over blinds. You could probably score one at Goodwill.

Props & Dishes –

  • You want the food to be the focal point of the picture so using neutral color dishes is helpful.

  • It’s fun to have a couple colorful dishes but don’t go crazy. 

  • Favorite places to find dishes – dollar store, garage sales, goodwill, thrift stores

  • You can get great linens and napkins at these same places.

  • Purchase small dishes so you don’t have to take pictures of more than one serving and are able to showcase all the colors of the recipe best. 

Helpful references from the episode:

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