Your Cook Posting Expertise

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Colin1230

Master of the Pit
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Jan 18, 2021
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Merriam, KS
I've been thinking about this thread for a while. I really enjoy indoor and outdoor cooking but I am neither a photographer or literary scholar. There are so may incredible posts of wonderfully prepared food in these forums that it makes my posts seem sub par. I mean the quality of posts is outstanding!
So, I would like to create a place to share your expertise at posting your cooks. So myself and others can up our game a little bit. For example, do you plan a post before you cook? Do you have an outline that you follow? Do you use a phone or DSLR? Anything you care to share that works well for you that you think might help others, me included.
I have wanted to participate in a Throw Down but don't feel I have the skills to present it well enough. If I feel that way I'm sure a few others do to.

A huge Thank You in advance because I know how helpful and caring you all are. Let the schoolin' begin. 😄
 
No pre-planning, outlines, and just an old digital camera. If it's something I think I would want to post then I'll take a few pics during the process. The story line is off the cuff the day I post. I do review my pics before deciding if I want to post them. As I have a tendency to take some pretty blurry pics.

Chris
 
I usually try to know if I might post something to take several pics throughout the process. Don't always post them though. If I do make a thread I'll review my pics, write out the description and post the appropriate pic with it. Always just use my cell phone. Try to keep my feet out of the darn thing so SmokinVOLfan SmokinVOLfan doesn't give me a hard time :emoji_blush: . I don't take the best pics but probably the best person to showcase this change is Jeff jcam222 jcam222 . Had a conversation with him awhile back and he showed me pics from when he first started and the amazing magazine quality pics he takes now.
Don't worry too much about it... we are happy to just see your cooks.

Ryan
 
My pics are less than stellar. Will have a finger tip in upper left corner.
Previous phone had camera in center, this one is in corner.
Even without finger in corner, won't win any awards.
 
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Dude I totally feel you on this. I feel that I have some pretty decent cooks but my plating and photography skills are for sure sub par. Following for advice as its offered.

Jim

Try plating when you only like one food item on your plate at a time.

Chris
 
I do chuckle sometimes when I look at the background in some of my pics. My cook station is out in my shop, so there could be anything from a trash can that needed dumped 2 days ago, to empty propane tanks, to decoys lying on the floor to a extension cord that needs rolled up lol. As for plating, well I don't go for pretty, I'm more concerned with pretty dam tasty lol!
 
I've been thinking about this thread for a while. I really enjoy indoor and outdoor cooking but I am neither a photographer or literary scholar. There are so may incredible posts of wonderfully prepared food in these forums that it makes my posts seem sub par. I mean the quality of posts is outstanding!
So, I would like to create a place to share your expertise at posting your cooks. So myself and others can up our game a little bit. For example, do you plan a post before you cook? Do you have an outline that you follow? Do you use a phone or DSLR? Anything you care to share that works well for you that you think might help others, me included.
I have wanted to participate in a Throw Down but don't feel I have the skills to present it well enough. If I feel that way I'm sure a few others do to.

A huge Thank You in advance because I know how helpful and caring you all are. Let the schoolin' begin. 😄
'mornin Colin,
I'll fall in line with the others. Unless I feel worthy enough to jump into a TD, I don't freak out about the photography. I worry more about camera shadow than feet...
I use my iphone, as i am perpetually lazy. Just transferring to laptop is about the extent of my motivation. even with the technology of new cell phones, I still find food imaging a challenge.
Nothing sucks worse than seeing a perfectly colored tri-tip that comes out looking mis-colored, so I do engage in some in-phone color shading periodically.
This group has been a blessing to me, as I took a pretty big ration of shit with all the food pictures on "shit book.". Any contribution you make will be welcome here, as I have learned,
so, don't get too wound up about it.
my biggest challenge, as a stroke survivor is just typing legibly with one hand.
Smoke 'em if you got 'em
John
 
When I first joined up here, I used a digital camera & the photo’s were OK. Now I just use my iPhone & the photo’s are much better. There is no way that I could put together a meal like some of the folks on here, much less take such great photo’s. The thing is I still post a thread occasionally & just do my best to make it look good. If I know I’m going to post something, my wife & I take a bunch of pics. Most don’t get used, but it’s nice to have several to pick thru. Then every once in a while you just make this incredible meal & just take a couple of photo’s at the end, so that’s what you post. You will find that everyone on here is very non-judgmental, just put something out there & maybe it will show up on the carousel!
Al
 
Photography is more like a journey. You get better at it over time with practice. Best advice is to try and apply a critical eye to the photos you take: being aware of what is showing in the background, is the intended plate filling the frame, is the lighting sufficient so the result looks as it should and of course, is the photo in focus/sharp. Current version cell phones are certainly capable for this task. The rest of the posting process is really up to you and how much of a story you want to present. Don't sweat it, take the shots and post what you like. As Al said, everyone on here is pretty much non-judgmental and glad to see what you did.
 
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Good stuff so far. There are a few photo buffs here and I am one of them. The quality of cell phone cameras has really reached a point that my DSLR sits in the bag. Now and then I bust it out for something special but that's it. For me, photos are all about good light and a little composition. My food shots are taken much closer than you expect. This might sound dumb but my shots all landscape/phone on side. That said, the REALLY good shots are likely more planned. AMAZING shots are usually planning AND serendipity. Funny related story... My buddy did all the photography for Hot Pockets while in college. Used model train smoke for the steam LOL
 
Great post! I sure appreciate the kudos but have a long way to go myself. 99% of my shots don't meet my expectations. That said OP I feel where you are coming from too. I remember my first throwdown. It was a burger challenge. I did mushroom swiss using two portabellas for the bun. It was a superb creation and delicious but my presentation and pic sucked. I was literally in awe of entries from guys like chilerelleno chilerelleno disco disco and others. I was determined to work to make sure my pics reflected the quality of my cooking. Slowly but surely I improved but man I still have a lot to learn. Two key phases 1) the actual presentation and then 2) capturing that presentation as you see it in the pic. Two of the biggest things up front are lighting and "less is more". Good lighting is essential to brilliant color. If lighting is a challenge a cheap ring light is miraculous. Not overcrowding the plate or container is key. You need nice negative space in the shot. I do plan the layout of presentation iny mind. If I'm entering a contest I may sketch them and even make several presentations and pick one. I believe that plain white dishes or wooden boards make the best shots overall. As someone else said most good shots are tight in on the food. Don't underestimate garnishes. A touch of fresh parsley,chives or cilantro really transforms a shot. Nice patterned drizzled of sauces using a cheap squirt bottle the same. Lemons,limes etc. The biggest thing I did and still do is look at other folks presentations. If I'm doing a theme like fajitas I'll search Google images and get ideas from them. That is likely my number one advice. Find what you like and copy until it comes naturally. Lastly don't underestimate using the adjustment software on your phone or a free app like Snapseed. When a pictures light or colors don't translate from what you see to the screen fix it. Takes a little practice but over all is fairly easy. Backgrounds can be important although many shots I do now are angled such that background doesn't matter. That said sometimes I like a more straight on shot. I've used different themed placemats to make really cool backdrops. I love discussing and learning at the same time. Lastly when I shoot a contest entry I will take a dozen or so shots. I'll sit down and review them and make minor adjustments and reshoot often. To some this will seem overkill or neurotic but for me it's a passion and hobby. Just typing this makes me want to try to create a perfect shot! Forgot to mention I use my phone. Going from an iphone 12 to this Google Pixel Pro 7 made a nice difference too.
 
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All of your comments are exactly what I was hoping for. Thanks a million everybody! This is great, positive encouragement for others as well.
Thanks again my friends.
 
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Good thread Colin,

When I first joined and seeing all the great post from everyone, I thought this is a great place to learn how to smoke foods .
Never really thought much about the photo part. I just use my same phone that I have had for a few years.

But I do take a lot of pictures at work for my customers of the work project/job to show progress and what the before and after. And a lot of what is in the walls etc, then just put on a disc for them for later reference for their future work .

So I just take a lot of pictures of the cooks, smokes as I am doing. Than just send to computer and figure out the story as I am posting, with all my cook notes beside me.
of coarse.

As for what I am going to smoke/cook. It just hits me and I mostly try different things . I am always reading old cook books and try to blend recipes together.
Does not always work, But always fun trying


David
 
For example, do you plan a post before you cook? Do you have an outline that you follow? Do you use a phone or DSLR? Anything you care to share that works well for you that you think might help others, me included.
I've been posting photos online for around 20 years. Some of the forums I cruised around on have come and gone. Originally, I used a DSLR because I took a lot of photos at work and always had a couple of cameras handy. Later when I got a smart phone, it had a pretty good camera, so that was even more handy. Typically I wouldn't plan for day-to-day photos, but if the right conditions came along, I would take a few photos. Lighting is a huge factor for me.... and outdoor lighting is the best, but often an overcast sky or dusk and dawn work really good. Here is one of the earliest photos I posted on the old BGE member sponsored forum, it's smoked salmon with green and red peppercorns.
GygrOoK.jpg

One weekend I was smoking some overnight pork butts and decided to light my small Egg to grill a pork steak for breakfast. Everything came together just after sunrise and I took this photo. Lighting, contrast of color, and composition all worked.
kh7tqzW.jpg

I like 'pit shots' better than plate shots, and this particular night, everything looked like a 'Kodak moment'. :emoji_sunglasses:
TkIqwpe.jpg

For photo contests (because there is usually a theme) I plan the cook itself since there are usually some rules... and I loosely plan the entry photo. I always pick out the platter or plate, and have a general idea for the arrangement, but I let the food guide me in those last 5 minutes.
bLG29Dg.jpg
 
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