Wednesday, January 28, 2015

52 Weeks of creative exposure Week 3 and 4 : Composition - A tutorial

#FoodPhotoGraphyTutorial #FoodPhotoTips #LearnFoodPhoto #SimiJoisPhotography

#FoodPhotoGraphyTutorial #FoodPhotoTips #LearnFoodPhoto #SimiJoisPhotography
When I started the 52 weeks of creative exposure this year, I also started a group on Facebook for everyone who wanted to join my friends and me in this challenge. A lot of readers and friends asked me to continue with tutorial on food photography, similar to last year, when I did the 365 day challenge ( an image a day), after a bit of brain storming, a lot of you asked me to cover composition. It took me a while to think and work on the material. To me composition is very personal and somewhat comes naturally. It might be my background in art, I grew up in an artistic household; my mother is a painter, every summer as far as I can remember we spent time drawing sketching, learning about color, composition, light and strokes. Even though my mother did not teach any theory about art,  we learnt as we painted. So for weeks together, I kept thinking consciously about composition as I photographed my image. I though this could be great opportunity for me to learn the theory behind the practice.

Composition is all about
  • Evaluating what elements you have, positioning it.  (In this case I have citrus fruits, where am I going to place them)
  • Shapes you have and you can create 
  • leading the eye - perhaps the reason why we want to compose
  • colors, textures and  perspective of elements
  • balance and framing ( what you want to include in the frame)
  • Negative space : the space that is left empty
There are certain rules of composition that lead the eye to the subject. It is a helpful tool to direct the eye to the hero of the shot.

I recommend some coffee, pairs well with posts like this one. 

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Saturday, January 24, 2015

Instant Rava Idli - the big Indian breakfast

#RavaIdli #InstantIdli #IndianBreakfast #Indian #SimiJoisPhotography

#RavaIdli #InstantIdli #IndianBreakfast #Indian #SimiJoisPhotography
As I entered the chatra ( marriage hall) I could smell jasmine, roses and sandle wood incense in the air. I fixed the pleats of my red and green kanjivaram sari, as my husband whispered to me, “ you are over dressed” . “ Absolutely not, this is a South Indian wedding, there is nothing called overdressed” was my quick response. I loved the scent of jasmine lingering in my hair, every traditional south Indian woman loves to adorn her hair with jasmine flowers, and I am no exception. We found a seat by a distant relative ( that’s the only face we recognized ) and sat there. Everyone seemed busy and occupied ….the bride’s father was busy talking to the guy serving kapi (coffee). A few cousins of the bride were shouting from the elevated stage like platform of the wedding, asking someone something in a tone of urgency. The old aunty next to me ( in India every elderly lady is an aunty and elderly man an uncle) was busy explaining her relation to the bride to another lady. The uncle next to my better half was telling my husband about his brother’s wife’s sister’s son who is also in Chicago and they are looking for a bride to fix an alliance.

In my twenties, I found it a waste of time and money…these lavish weddings….something changes when you hit the magic forties. I was soaking in all the colors, aroma chatter, and was loving every moment of the experience. From traditional kanjivarams to the most modern styles, it was all here, teens to elderly grandmas - all draped in rich colors of silk. My eyes were feasting, after living in the west for a long time ( especially midwest) you forget what color is….

The kapi man approached us and I was quick to take a glass of coffee. ( In South of India coffee is served in six ounce steel glass). It was pipping hot and absolutely delicious a perfect blend of coffee and chicory, I wanted a second, a third and a forth. It would look rather rude and greedy to take seconds and thirds I thought. Before I could plan for a strategy to pick up another glass, a man approached with a smile, “ breakfast banni” ( please come for breakfast) hubs and I exchanged smiling glances and got up, walking slowly to the dining hall….

There were rows of tables with fresh banana leaves and a glass of water ( talk of biodegradable disposable ) a few people were sitting and we found space near some young kids in there late teens. Hot rava idlis, chatni, kesari bhaat, hot upma and coffee… this is the stuff life is made of. As the server approached me he gave me a generous helping of 3 idlis and a lot of chutney…I did not refuse, I wanted it all. It is part of an Indian wedding to eat well to your hearts content, hospitality at its best, people asking for seconds thirds and forth with endless gallons of coffee.

Back on a cold winter snowy morning, when everything around me looked white, so pristine and beautiful. I thought of the colors, the idlis and the coffee. Frantically looked thru my recipes and found a handwritten recipe of rava idli. My sister had written it up for me ( Picture below) the year I got married, it seems like yesterday….


#RavaIdli #InstantIdli #IndianBreakfast #Indian #SimiJoisPhotography
Ilva, Sophia and myself are back with a similar themed post, this is our first one for 2015. Do visit their blogs to read about their favorite breakfast and gawk at the amazing images.

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Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Homemade pita bread with spicy panner

#PitaBread #TandoorPaneerPitaBread #Recipe #SimiJoisPhotography

#PitaBread #TandoorPaneerPitaBread #Recipe #SimiJoisPhotography

I just cannot believe that it has more than a week since I blogged. Time seems to be slipping through my fingers like sand. Last week was rather hectic with back to back photography assignments. It was fun, but when you are cooking, styling and photography all in one, it becomes rather taxing. I really love the process, but I tend to overdo it by obsessing about the smallest details. And let’s not even start talking about the clean up….there was a time when, I would clean while cooking, so clean up was not a stressful chore. I remember all my spices and daals, well almost all the ingredients in my kitchen were labeled and neatly stacked. If you see me working now, seriously, it is not the same person, you will see stuff on every inch of the counter space and strangely I am more productive than I ever was. It started as a one off thing and over the months it has become a habit. Its something I need to address this year. Will see how that goes ;)

It has been a while since teen has been asking me to bake pita at home. I sincerely thought it was a long drawn process and was keeping the baking  for a relaxed weekend. This bread is so easy that I feel rather stupid waiting for a weekend to bake this. This is THE quickest bread I have ever made and I just love the soft fluffy texture. I can eat this without filling, just with hummus. If you are looking for a hummus recipe, click here.


#PitaBread #TandoorPaneerPitaBread #Recipe #SimiJoisPhotography

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Tuesday, January 13, 2015

52 weeks of creative exposure #Week2

#52WeeksOfCreativeExposure #SimiJois #Photography #CreativeLearning
Am loving every bit of #52 weeks of creative exposure.  Unlike the 365 day project where I had committed on creating an image every day, this is not stressful, you have a week to ponder, think, chew on an idea before you come up with an image. But I think am being repetitive in my creativity. I need to get out of the box, get some fresh air and think with an open mind. The above image is a food abstract. While I am happy with the composition, I am not too happy with the light, I feel I am repeating my style of dramatic light. I know I can push myself, but I don’t know how, kind of feels like groping in the dark. It’s hard with creativity, it’s not like a technical skill, which can be acquired by reading. How do you really challenge your creative mind, push yourself to take the leap to the next level. Again am certainly not bored, am digging this, but am not moving forward.  I would love some recommendations.

I could not stop myself with one image, played around with lots more and here you go, some eye candy for you guys.

About the tutorials, they are work in progress I promise, am not a fast worker, I like to chew on an idea before I throw it out for general consumption. But it will be there and am working on composition right now, as requested by many of you.

I would love to know which one is your favorite from this set, this will help me get better. Thanks guys !
#52WeeksOfCreativeExposure #SimiJois #Photography #CreativeLearning
 The long winder shadows tickled me to create these 2 images of white and aubergine and white props on white background.
#52WeeksOfCreativeExposure #SimiJois #Photography #CreativeLearning

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Friday, January 9, 2015

Homemade pizza crust

#PizzaCrust #HomeMade #EasyPizza #SimiJoisPhotography

#PizzaCrust #HomeMade #EasyPizza #SimiJoisPhotography

#PizzaCrust #HomeMade #EasyPizza #SimiJoisPhotography

This week has been exceptionally cold, if you are following me on Facebook  I am sure you have heard me rant about the brutal cold. I did accomplish a lot this week and am surprised at myself, finally I cleaned up all my folders and millions of photographers that I keep taking. It was a mammoth task and at the end of it I look like a raccoon, staring at the computer screen for so long. I feel like a zombie! Am so glad my teen baked a pizza and I took a break from all the filing work to go and take a few pictures. I was so relieved to go and do something creative.

The pizza break was even better, loved the pizza bread and all that cheesy goodness. It was the best homemade pizza ever the pizza bread is to die for. Teen wanted to bake this during her winter break but then we were to loaded with food and gave ourselves a break. Am glad she had an extended break and we got to eat this.

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