How to Capture Mouth-Watering Food Photographs

written by Georgia Schumacher 20 June 2014

Do you delight in creating new appetizing masterpieces in the kitchen? Do you take pride in the color and appearance of your culinary accomplishments? If you want to remember more than the lingering flavors after a meal, perhaps you might consider trying your hand at food photography. With some guidance, the proper technology and techniques, and a bit of practice, you too can produce fabulous images that let you document the gastronomical miracles occurring within your kitchen, or someone else’s.

Get started with these tips, consider taking photography classes to expand your skill set, and practice with other enthusiasts.

Choose a camera with a good macro setting.

Most of your food photography is up close and personal to capture the textures, colors, and shapes of the food. A camera with a good macro lens and feature set allows you to take the focal range within a few inches of the subject you’re photographing. This brings all of those details into crisp, clear relief in the photos.

Master basic lighting skills.

Most photography classes provide extensive information on lighting techniques, the appropriate type of lighting for different situations, and tools you can use to direct the light. White paper and even cheesecloth help out with food photography in the kitchen. Ideally, a kitchen would have a great deal of natural light, but if it doesn’t or you’re working in a professional kitchen, daylight light bulbs provide a similar lighting environment. Consider using a tripod when light conditions aren’t ideal and increasing the shutter speed so you have an appropriate amount of light coming through the aperture.

Work on your plating.

If you want to create exceptional food photography, look at the plating designs that high-end restaurants use to make their food look irresistible. You might not have a food stylist waiting around for your photo shoot, but you can use their techniques to help elevate your home food photography to the next level.

Mix and match serving platters and backdrops.

Some food simply looks better on a plain white plate; others look good with a complex backdrop. It requires a bit of trial and error, but taking a look at some of the popular food photography blogs will give you plenty of composition ideas.

Capture the entire process.

Don’t just snap a picture of the cooking conclusion. Take photos of the ingredients, the preparation, and the cooking process. This helps the viewer get an idea of how the entire cooking process goes, instead of guessing at the way the dish comes together.

Keep it clean.

Wipe away any drips, grease, and smudges that may end up on the edge of your plates when you’re putting the food together. You want every part of the food placement on the plate to be deliberate, so take a second look at your plating before you start snapping pictures.

Explore our photography programs at The Art Institute of Pittsburgh -- Online Division.

Essential Advice for Pursuing a Creative Career

written by Georgia Schumacher 3 June 2014

Person Starting a New Career

You're a creative person, and you've always wanted to pursue your passion as a career, which is exactly why you came to art school. When you have that special combination of talent, passion, and a drive to succeed, an art school education followed by a creative career is an obvious choice.

You bring a lot to the table as a creative individual, including innovation and a unique way of looking at challenges and tasks you encounter in a day-to-day workplace. With the possibility of automating more menial tasks in many industries, employers look for employees who have strong critical thinking skills, interesting perspectives, and thought processes that can't be replicated by a computer—employees like you. However, to set yourself up in a creative career that is fulfilling and financially stable can take hard work and dedication, so here are some techniques to get you started.

1. Market yourself

"Show your work" is a common adage in the arts, and it applies just as well to creative careers. Learn how to sell yourself. Your business skills are arguably as important as your creative talent, and if you can't market yourself, it doesn't matter how good you are at what you do. Learn how to reach clients through social media profiles, maintaining a blog, and creating an online portfolio so you can easily show it to companies looking to hire. These skills serve you well whether you're after a job at a corporation or agency, or you want to end up creating a thriving freelance business.

2. Bolster your network

The next essential is networking within your industry. Many jobs are all about who you know, and in the creative field, that means who you sees your profile and portfolio. Stay in touch with the people you went to art school with and get to know other alumni. Talk to people about your work, attend trade shows, conferences, and directly visit businesses that hire for the type of work you're looking for. You want to get to know people, companies, and the movers and shakers in your field.

3. Plan your progress over time

It’s always good to dream big, but you’ve got to plan a path to reach your end goal and accept that working your way up will likely take time and hard work. Remember, once-in-a-lifetime opportunities only come around, well, once in a lifetime!

You may not end up in your ideal job immediately after graduating from art school, but as long as you're actively taking steps towards career progression you can build up to the position and salary you desire. Two ways to move forward in your career after art school include taking freelance jobs to expand your network and your professional portfolio, and applying for jobs across a variety of industries that may be interested in your particular creative flavor.

Resources

12 Practical Tips for Those Pursuing Creative Careers 
9 Dream Jobs that Actually Pay

3 Proven Sales Techniques in Fashion Marketing

written by Georgia Schumacher 30 May 2014

Fashion display

You (or your company) may have found the hottest fashion line in existence, but now you need to get it in the hands of consumers. Start by developing a sales and marketing plan with fashion marketing strategies and tactics that ensure that you get the attention of shoppers and stores worldwide.

1. Think about the whole picture

Keep the store flow in mind. Every retail store owner has a specific store flow that they use to direct customers around their location. The store layout utilizes racks, end caps, window displays, and other arrangements to show off the merchandise in a way that's accessible and desirable. Visualize what the clothing you're marketing will look like in each prime store flow location, so you can describe to the store owner exactly how well your fashion fits into their store vision. You want the store owner to realize that you know about their side of things as well and can help them make more sales.

2. Get social

Create a fashion marketing platform using social media and social networking. When you show that you already have popularity, you create a demand for your fashion designs. Whether your pieces are in front of millions on high end fashion blogs or you have a thousand dedicated fans following your or Instagram account or Tumblr, showing that people want your clothes helps business owners make their purchasing decisions. Sites such as Pinterest are particularly useful for fashion marketing, especially if you catch the ear of some of the most active pinners on the site. The visual-based medium of this site is also helpful for showing off your clothing properly, and most sites allow users to easily share content from Pinterest so it's much easier to get a viral reach throughout the Internet.

3. Put people in your clothes

Set brand ambassadors forth in the world. A brand ambassador wears your clothing and talks up your product to their peer group. You want brand ambassadors who will give your products a good reputation, so make sure that you screen potential ambassadors so you aren't on the receiving end of an embarrassing viral video campaign that shows them behaving badly. Not all press is good press, contrary to popular opinion.

Read More: http://www.specialtyretailcollective.com/traffic-flow-make-it-work-to-maximize-sales/

You’re Invited: Learn about Interior Design Careers & More!

written by Georgia Schumacher 18 May 2014

calendar

As an art school offering fully online programs, we want to make sure you, our students, always feel connected to what's going at our own art school and in the creative world as a whole. As part of our efforts, we regularly host online events where you can explore your areas of interest and interact with your peers, faculty members and industry professionals.

The events listed below are a part of the American Society of Interior Design (ASID) Career Week. You can register for these events and find even more webinars on the Events calendar in the Campus Common!

Rachelle Schoessler Lynn, ASID National President
Monday, May 19, 2014
9:15-10:15pm ET

Career Opportunities in the Contract Furniture Industry
Tuesday, May 20, 2014
9:15-10:15pm ET

Insight and Tips from Someone Who Recently Passed the NCIDQ Exam
Wednesday, May 21, 2014
9:15-10:15pm ET

Benefits of the NKBA (National Kitchen & Bath Association)
Thursday, May 22, 2014
9:15-10:15pm ET

Remember, to register or view our full calendar, current students can visit the Events page in the Campus Common (located in the Campus Life dropdown menu in the top navigation).

Interested in attending an art school and taking classes online or at a campus near you? Explore our programs and locations today.

Working with Clients: Balancing Opinions & Expertise

written by Georgia Schumacher 1 May 2014

CommunicatingAn inevitable occurrence in the life of every art school graduate is a conflict between your vision and the opinion of the client you intend to serve. You can imagine some of the issues when disagreement arises — for example, clients who are steadfast in their ideas, emboldened by the fact they are paying for the service and therefore, assume a sort of authority, challenging you, the artist, who is trained, experienced, and demonstrates a true talent for your craft. Added to this dynamic is your desire to prevent a rift so contentious that you damage the relationship and threaten to destroy your chances at future business from the client.

Even if you learned an array of impressive new creative skills at art school, communicating your clients is a skill you can’t afford to ignore. So, what are the best ways you can balance the opinions of your client and your experienced ideas and vision?

Keep an Eye on the Big Picture

First and foremost, whenever a conflict arises with a client, be sure to keep it all in the proper perspective. Oftentimes, an artist will take the discontent personally and allow a range of negative thoughts to be injected into the project. Allowing the disagreement in artistic opinion to affect you personally is not a healthy and productive way to operate and will do nothing to solve the issue. Avoiding the feeling of a personal affront is easier said than done but is, nevertheless, a point that cannot be overstated. What is most important is your ability to satisfy the client’s requests while making every effort to provide your experienced and talented artistic eye.

Keep an Open Mind

This advice seems to go without saying, and should be a standard rule of working with clients and colleagues. However, in the case of dueling opinions regarding a client’s project, you should make a special effort to remain as personally detached from your ideas as possible — enough to give the client’s suggestions a fair and dispassionate review.

Remembering to maintain objectivity not only affords you the ability to absorb your client’s opinions in a fairer and more approachable demeanor, doing so will allow you to better understand what is going to be required of you once the back and forth has ceased. You do not want to be so intransigent in your position that you are unable to hear the countering opinion, only to be left without definite direction once the dust settles, as you go about altering the project.

Give the Client Some Credit

While many of your clients lack the artistic education and experience you bring to the table, the client has at least one advantage — perspective. Your client is likely skilled at identifying the target audience in ways that you may be unable to perceive. The client’s perspective is honed over time and should be revered for nothing if not the experience that informs the opinion.

A client who has a different set of goals and offers opinions as to how to achieve those goals, no matter how different from your opinion, is not always doing so from an undeservedly powerful position. Their experience should be duly considered, and you would be wise to listen to their perspective and needs.

If you still disagree with their opinions, then calmly and professionally communicate your reasons, backing your opinions with evidence and data from user and case studies (some of which you may have saved from your art school classes) as well as blogs and expert opinions where possible. Explain how your choices could benefit their business and help them achieve their goals, as well as how doing something else may detract from these same goals. Ideally, you can combine their audience knowledge with your creative expertise to build something truly effective and inspiring.

Resources

www.smashingmagazine.com/2009/12/10/how-to-explain-to-clients-that-they-are-wrong/
www.artpact.com/Articles/42/Dealing-With-Difficult-Clients
www.hubpages.com/hub/The-everyday-life-of-a-digital-artist-Dealing-with-difficult-clients