I'm thinking of investing in a better camera, because now I only have a point-and-shoot which I use on the macro setting.
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Getting a better camera could be nice if you really want to get into the photography aspect of it. If you get a camera with a popup flash, you can get one of these: http://photojojo.com/store/awesomeness/pop-up-flash-bounce/ to get really nice even bounced light that would probably do just what you want.
If you just want more light with your own without having to deal with a new camera, you could add in a nice bright lamp. The pro - no worrying about upgrading the camera. The con - you have to make sure the lightbulbs in the room are the same type or you risk combining color temperatures which can make the colors in your photos look really wonky.
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Getting a light or two that have a daylight bulb, and then creating a diffuser around them works for lighting. The Lowel Ego light (http://www.amazon.com/Lowel-Digital-Imaging-Tabletop-Fluorescent/dp/B0009K50RO) is relatively inexpensive and has the same spectrum as natural light, and already has a diffuser on it.
Good question! You can buy one of those inexpensive portable photo light tents for about $50, which eliminates the shadowing and weird light you get from a flash. Better ones from B and H Photo go for about $150. As for the camera, I recently purchased a Canon Powershot SX30 IS which I use on the macro setting. I love it.
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I am getting a new camera and have considered a canon, good to know wssmom that you love yours.
I also have been finding that on the macro setting, if I'm not taking a close-up, it's somewhat out of focus (i.e. if I want to get the whole plate in the picture). Should I try a different setting?
The Canon Powershot you mentioned looks like a good compromise between a large camera (that seems like a hassle to take on vacation with different lenses, etc) and my current limited point-and-shoot....thanks for the suggestion!
As a professional lighting designer and amateur food blogger I still struggle with this. Ultimatey what fiveandspice recommends is the correct approach. You want a high Kelvin temperature lamp (yes, it's about to get really nerdy) translated that means the a bluer light bulb. Daylight is blue, not the warm colors we associate with the incandescent and halogen we use in our homes. Which is why the food looks really muddy under halogen sources. For instance the color of halogen is around 3000 degrees Kelvin and daylight is closer to 5500-6500 degrees Kelvin. Fluorecent lamps are available in these cooler tones. You also want a lamp with high color rendering index, quite simply for this purpose, that's a better mix of gases. Just like chocolate chip cookies are not the same from baker to baker, the same can be said of a lamp (or light bulb). The indirect approach too is also key; bounce the light off of a surface with a light, neutral, matte finish. And lastly there is quantity. There is a lot more light outside than inside. If you want more information about how to find these lamps, rather than bore the group, please contact me directly.