Blog Talk Tuesdays: Part IX

I’m back with another Blog Talk Tuesdays post!

In case you’re new around here, Blog Talk Tuesdays is a series I started on the blog a few months ago to address the blogging-related questions that come my way.

Past Blog Talk Tuesdays posts include:

Today’s post addresses blog pictures and photo editing. I feel rather silly touching on this topic because, as I’ve admitted many times on this blog, I am definitely not a photographer and don’t really have a genuine interest in photography. 

I try my best and hope to continue to improve the pictures you see on Peanut Butter Fingers! That being said, below I’ve addressed the most common questions I’ve received relating to photography and blogging.

Let’s get to it! 

Blog Pictures, Photo Editing and More

  • What kind of camera(s) do you use?

For most of the photography I do at home, I use my Nikon D3000.

nikon d3000

It is great for showing detail in food and the action mode is a life-saver when it comes to snapping clear pictures of Sadie. I am such an amateur photographer and really need to learn how to use this camera to its full potential because I know it can do so much more than what I ask of it on a daily basis.

As for photos outside of the home, whenever I leave the house, I take all of my pictures with my Canon PowerShot S95. I never travel with my Nikon since it’s so big and bulky! 

chopped sausage 009

While my Canon S95 is small and convenient like all point and shoot cameras, the quality of pictures produced by the camera far surpass those I’ve taken with previous point and shoots I’ve owned throughout the years. It’s especially great in low lighting, which is why I initially purchased the camera since I need it to perform relatively well in dark restaurants on occasion.

  • Do you edit your photos? If so, what program do you use?

I started editing my photos in August last year after learning about Picasa, a free downloadable program offered by Google that makes editing pictures a breeze!

I haven’t played around with it too much and generally just import all of my pictures into Picasa as I upload them to my computer. I will then often select the “I’m Feeling Lucky” button for each photo which helps correct colors and make the pictures look more vibrant and natural.

i'm feeling lucky picasa

The “I’m Feeling Lucky” button takes pictures from this…

barley bowl 022

To this…

barley bowl 022-1

Let there be light! Smile 

Prior to using Picasa, I generally “edited” my photos in Windows Live Writer and selected the “Color Pop” button underneath the “Picture effects” tab.

color pop windows live writer

I wanted the color in my pictures to stand out, but I definitely overused the “Color Pop” button.

Using “Color Pop” can be great but, in hindsight, I shouldn’t have used it as often… and especially not for people. I cringe when I look back on some old photos and they look neon orange.

Case in point:

marc anthony instantly thick

I look like a flippin’ Oompa Loompa. Or Snooki.

  • What tips do you have for food photography?

Oh gosh, I don’t even feel kind of qualified to answer this question. Please check out Ashley’s blog or the Pioneer Woman’s food photography section for awesome photography tutorials that will be much more detailed and educational than any tips I could hope to provide!

A couple of super-simple tips I’ve picked up along the way include:

  • Say NO to the flash whenever possible. If you can snap a picture of your food in natural light without a flash, do it! Using a flash makes your food look washed out and alters the natural colors.
  • Get on eye level with the food. Snapping an overhead picture is good to capture the scope of a meal, but it’s the pictures that are up close and personal with the food that make me drool!

chocolate crinkle cake mix 

  • Use pretty linens and props! I rarely do this because food styling just doesn’t interest me a ton, but I always notice it when other photographers take the time to really complement their food with linens and props that make sense. Jessica does this so well and looking at her pictures makes me want to run out and buy a vintage wooden table, chalk board, antique dishes and other random things I’d never use just to make my food look fancy.
  • Food looks best on white plates and dishes… Says the girl who owns Fiesta dishes and takes nearly all of her pictures on colored plates.

citrus salad with goat cheese dressing 012

  • How many pictures do you typically take of one meal?

For every one picture of food you see on the blog, there were likely three rejects. When I go out to eat or eat with people other than Ryan or my immediate family, however, I usually only snap one photo of my meal. I don’t want photographing my food to take away from the company or experience at hand.

  • How do you organize your photos? Do you save all of them?

I delete the vast majority of the pictures that pop up on the blog. I save pictures from photos taken of fun adventures with family and friends (people photos), pictures I love of Sadie or photos of my original recipes and freelance recipe projects.

When it comes to organizing photos, I first organize them by date, and then label the photo folder with the event or recipe so I can easily locate the pictures I’m looking for if I forget when they were taken.

photo organization

  • Do you take photos with your phone?

Rarely. Most of the time I use my point and shoot when I’m out of the house. Occasionally pictures I snap at the gym or on a walk with Sadie are taken from my phone.

Comments

  1. says

    This was a really informative post! Thank you for posting photography tips. I am so bad at taking pictures of food and stuff for my blog. I’ve noticed that most of the using the flash of food is not necessary. I hope one day that I will be able to take pretty pictures :)

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  2. says

    I’m totally with you on the white plates! Since I started blogging, I seem to have acquired white kitchenware of all sorts – often not complete sets either.. I’m sure it probably drives my roommates crazy! Great post Julie – I love these ones!

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    • says

      haha same here! Well, for my wedding registry I tagged A BUNCH of white and off-white plates and kitchen goods! But I think that as long as the plate/bowl looks clean with some designs, it still looks great in pics. It all depends on the angle, lighting, food color, etc.

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  3. says

    I am finally getting into food photography, it certainly makes a post better, but sometimes my impatience gets the best of me! I like your photos, they seem very genuine and honest, which is a plus in this age of photoshop!

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  4. Gabby @ Gabby's Gluten-Free says

    I loooove white plates for food. We don’t own anything else because my chef husband also prefers white plates.

    I have the nikon d3000 and useit for all of my food and freelance photography. It’s a great camera and can do a lot!

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  5. says

    such an informative post – thanks for sharing this! i’m FAR from a photographer and most likely will never be that great at it. haha. i continue to try to improve at it, but like you said in the above comment, i have such a hard time with photographing food! i just want to EAT! :) i love my canon S95 too… it’s great to just slip in your purse and take it everywhere.

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  6. says

    Great post! I just took a photography course, cause I wasn’t using my DSLR to its potential either and plan to take another class to keep improving my photography skills. I think food styling is important too but its an area I find it hard to really care about as well… I just want to eat my food! haha

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    • says

      just fyi, im a photographer and i find that iPhoto is much more versatile than Picasa (although Picasa can be nice) especially if you’ve not paid for Photoshop…google some tips for using iPhoto to it’s full potential…because Julie’s tips for Picasa great…she’d be saying using “magic wang thingy (in iPhoto)” (it’s the magical wand icon) like she said use “I’m feeling lucky (in Picasa)” and she’d be saying “use warm colors or boost color (in iPhoto)” in place of her saying “use warmify (in Picasa)” … and if you feel like light is annoying in iPhoto play around with “Adjust” and you’ll see how great it is for affing natural appearing light! (move the ‘levels’ to the right=let there be light!) if youve got iPhoto use that it’s more powerful than Picasa

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  7. Meagan says

    Everything is so helpful! Thanks for posting!
    Do you have the delicious salad recipe on your website?

    Thank you for all your great information!

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  8. JenG says

    so not related to blogs or photos, but don’t you love fiesta plates!! We have almost all the colors of the square shaped. And so cool that there is an outlet near my hometown…they are made there. but you can get individual pieces super cheap :)

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  9. says

    Very informative post, thank you! I’m so impatient when it comes to taking pictures of my food…I just want to dig in and gobble it down as fast as possible! Especially when I spent sooo much time cooking it, I can’t wait to sit down and enjoy.

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  10. says

    Love this post Julie!! I also use Picasa on my home computer and it is wonderful. I am actually pretty interested in becoming a better photographer but can’t yet bring myself to spend the money on a really nice camera. The thing I like best about this post is that you gave some really great tips that are easy for anyone to adopt, not just people who are interested in photography!

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  11. says

    Thanks for the picture-taking post! For the newbie bloggers like myself, this is so informative! I always wonder why my food photos don’t look as good as other people’s. Now I know – I have never thought about the color of plate and making sure I am at eye level with the food! Thank you!

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  12. says

    wow thank you SO MUCH for all the wonderful info, it really really helped! plus I wanted to tell you I am on my computer at a cafe sort of place and literally laughed out loud when I saw your oompa loompa comment..BECAUSE i kind of had the same exact problem..direct quote from the husband “who do you think your snooki or something????!!” anyways i just thought I would thank you for the 10 plus awkward glances I got at the sudden burst out :)

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  13. says

    Thanks for this post! I only have a point and shoot but I’m trying to improve. I never really thought about food photography until I started my blog. It’s crazy how close you need to get to your meal to get the good glamour shot. I also HATE the lighting in my boyfriend’s kitchen… I try to avoid using my flash, but sometimes it’s just necessary!

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  14. says

    good tips – i am so impatient when it comes to taking photos. also, i dont have the time to set things up perfectly so i just end up snapping a shot of whatever i have. i dont mind though – some of my favorite blogs have great photographs (like yours)…and some of my favorite blogs don’t!! it doesnt make or break it for me.

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  15. says

    This was so helpful. Thanks Julie! I am verrry new to blogging and basically am taking the learn as I go approach (meaning my photos are in need of help!). I really appreciate the tips!

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  16. says

    Great post Julie! I recently got a DSLR for Christmas and I’m trying to learn about it…but I feel like I should be in a semester long course or something haha. I LOVE picasa. Seriously, it’s amazing! I’m thinking about maybe getting photoshop though because while I am still a full-time student I can get it at a drastically reduced price :)

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  17. says

    Great post Julie! I really have enjoyed all of your blog talk posts! I find myself being really into my blog for a week or two then I slack off. Any tips on staying consistant?

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  18. says

    This is great! DSLRs do have so much potential it just takes a lot of time to learn how to use them. I hope to really start learning more about mine after I graduate.
    I got Adobe Lightroom for Christmas and am having a blast playing around with it :)

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  19. Carli says

    This was incredibly helpful. I have white plates downstairs that I never use so I guess I should drag them out. I also tend to take photo’s from above so I’ll try eye level from now on. Thanks!

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  20. says

    Thanks for the info! I’m brand new at blogging (literally, about 3 days) so your blog talks are a great help to me! I have tons more to learn and many, many questions. One quick one (hopefully), with posting your workouts, you always have them looking organized and clean in charts.. how the heck to do you do that? Thanks again for all of your tips and help!

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  21. says

    I desperately needed this post. My photography skills are horrible! I love that you’re willing to share the secrets to your success with all of us. Thank you so much. (:

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  22. says

    Your Blog Talk Tuesday posts are so relatable. I’d been reading your blog for a while when I started up my own, and it was by coincidence that just a week or so later you started this series. Because I enjoy your writing style so much, I always look forward to your take on blogging – especially on things like how to connect with other food bloggers (the ‘stop leaving me out you little jerks!’ photo of Sadie makes me laugh every dang time). So thanks for doing this!

    As a side note, I was aware of Picasa’s existence but had no idea it actually had so many features. Off to experiment!

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  23. says

    thanks so much for the shout out julie! that really means a lot to me because i uh… actually hate photography and feel that i’m horrible at food styling! i truly have no clue what i’m doing and just sort of throw stuff in pics, ha. thank you thank you!!

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  24. Shara says

    Wow! I just read all 9 of your Blog Talk Tuesdays, and they were very informative. I am starting a blog of my own and really have no idea what I’m doing! But now I have a better understanding of things I didn’t even know to ask about. I’ll keep following! Thank you!

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  25. says

    Vintage Fiesta plates were made upside down. The face of the plates, with its band of graduated concentric rings was formed in a plaster mold. Clay was pressed into the mold which was then rotated while a metal blade, referred to as “tool” shaped the bands of rings on the back side
    _______________
    Fiesta plates

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  26. says

    I know I’m late to the party, but I got a great tip today from a photographer about taking food pics and then saw this post so thought I should share: if you’re photographing juicy food like fruits or veggies, mist a little bit of water on it with a spray bottle! Makes your veggies/fruit look even more mouth watering and fresh!

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  27. says

    I wanted to be create you have one little observation just to give thanks again about the nice techniques you have featured on this website. It has been quite tremendously open-handed with people like you to grant unreservedly exactly what many people would’ve made available for an ebook in making some dough on their own, precisely considering that the person could possibly have done it in the event you considered necessary. These good tips additionally served as the good way to fully grasp that some people have similar fervor similar to my personal own to know the truth lots more related to this condition. Certainly there are several more fun moments up front for people who read your blog.

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  28. says

    Thank you so much for your blog talk posts. I realize they’re from a year ago but as a new blogger these posts helped so much! I have been following your blog for a while now and love everything you post!

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  29. CandieTravels says

    Julie- I have a wordpress question for you. I’ve been browsing all of your posts regarding blogging and I’m wondering how you deal with space limitations on wordpress. I’ve only been blogging for a little over a year and I am rapidly approaching my 3GB limit. Did you upgrade to a large amount of storage? Or do you avoid that issue by using Windows Live Writer? (I’m currently just blogging through wordpress). Thank you for the advice!

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      • CandieTravels says

        Thanks so much for getting back to me! I always turn to your blog anytime I have a question about blogging. I don’t resize my images, but I did read about that on some wordpress forums. Do you use a program to resize them? How do you know what size to make the files? Thank you again for your help!!

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