The limitations of compact cameras can really put a damper on your plans for expanding and improving your work & online presence. That is why I decided to explore improving my photography with a DSLR camera. In this post, I would like to share with you a few lighting tips for beginners – inspired by one of Britain’s top photographers, David Loftus.
Before switching to a Digital SLR camera, I spent years using a point-and-shoot camera to take photos for my blog and of my products. As a beginner DSLR photographer, I have learnt a few interesting lessons while unraveling the secrets of DSLR photography. I did a lot of research and a lot of experimentation before reaching the point of taking somewhat decent looking photos.
In my previous post, “From Point-and-Shoot to DSLR: What I Learnt From Jamie Oliver’s Photographer, David Loftus,” I launched the first article in my “From Point-and-Shoot to DSLR“ series.
I started out by sharing an important lesson as a newbie: Not everyone out there is cut out to be a mentor. In fact, it takes a special person to inspire you to take your photography skills (or any skills at all) to the next level! I say this because after following the tips of a few professional photographers on YouTube, I ended up feeling more frustrated than ever.
“David Loftus is a food photographer who has shot for celebrity chefs such as Jamie Oliver, Martha Stewart, and Heston Blumental. So far he has photographed five of Jamie Oliver’s recipe books” – Best of British: 22 of the most famous photographers from Great Britain
The minute I discovered David Loftus, a British photographer who has worked for around 15 years with celebrity cook Jamie Oliver, everything changed for me.
Watch this video: Jamie Oliver Presents David Loftus
I began to approach photography with more ease and enthusiasm, because Loftus simplified it for me. He made me see that if I’m not having fun with it, then what’s the point!
His organic approach to photography, coupled with his simple and easy-going way of explaining what is needed for a photoshoot, are the reason why my photography abilities have improved almost overnight.
“Loftus’s natural approach to shooting food has led a revolution in food photography with the new emphasis being on honesty and ingredients over perfection and unreality” – Source
The photos I took in this post are not perfect, but they are a whole lot better than the photos I have produced after listening to other YouTube photographers – whose advice was more or less about buying all sorts of lighting equipment, and not necessarily about the actual practice and philosophy of photography.
I have been compiling photography styling pins in one of my Pinterest boards (Design | Styling). This pinboard has helped me identify the style I was going for and that really resonated with me as an artist. There are so many photography styles out there: Photos that look overly saturated, that have a blank white background, or that have a strong yellowish tint to them. What I personally like is a photo that breathes organic ease, if that makes sense… like the photos below by David Loftus.
Learn more about organic photography, from these videos:
After comparing David Loftus’ photography with others in his field, I realized this is the kind of end result I wanted to achieve. This is the kind of photo I liked to look at.
The end result is the very thing that can help inform our decisions as beginner photographers. I didn’t think of the end result at first because I was consumed with trying to make all sorts of lighting equipment and angles work for me. At first, the end result I got was horrific artificial-looking photos that did not match the look and feel I was going for. See photo below:
Tip No. 2: Learn the Difference Between Natural v.s Artificial Lighting
Think about it this way… I had a certain look in mind; to achieve that look I needed to take a certain path that led to it. And in this case “Natural Light” was the path I needed to take to produce photos that looked organic, beautiful, and natural. I didn’t want to take product photos for a high-end catalog; I wanted to take photos of everyday things, in addition to my products and my art, in a way that reflected the organic nature of Yaansoon. See natural lighting results below: