I learned photography without formal classes. I learned it from friends, books, internet, and practice.
And that was never a problem for me.
I even got paid to take pictures – but from a journalism/content provider point of view.
As a journalist, photography hardly been staged. The photos of the food that I took was the same food that the hawker sell. I never put much efforts on the backgrounds or the food-styling. When I took picture on the street, there were not enough time to set the frame. And the properties that I could use were what laid on the table.
It’s all about momentum, composition, and light.
That’s why I never learn to plan a photo-shoot. As what I usually do on my journalism assignment, every picture will be taken with only what you (or they) have at the location. Planning the frame and styling the food were not essential. Getting the job done, was the most important thing.
How did it turned out?
Well, I did have a lot of mediocre food photos.
Then a friend told me to try taking photos like in a studio. This won’t work on my job assignment, but it’s always interesting to try new things, right?
Planning a photo is a great way to prepare the properties. It also give you time to arrange the composition. If you are still a newbie and need an inspiration, you can learn to imitate a composition from thousands photos on the internet.
It’s not a sin.
Anyway, I started my photo-shoot with an idea (after browsing endless food photography). Then, I took a paper to sketch my idea – the composition, the background, the focus. I listed what properties would I need and where to get it. And since I don’t have a photo studio, I also had to plan where and when the photo-shoot will be taken – because I was planning to use natural light.
After everything was on its place, I took the photos.
I know, the sketch were far from good. But it did serve the purposes. I only need them to put my idea on paper, to break it down to details, so I could prepare everything. And, here’s the result:
Try to imitate a simple idea of food photo you find on internet. Do the sketch before taking the shot.