Shake-Reduction tool?

If you’ve not come across it yet, I understand what you’re thinking…

“What the heck is the shake reduction tool? They made a #fixitinpost for reducing camera shake?”

I know! And they totally did and it’s absolutely wonderful!

Let’s talk about what exactly this tool can do for you.

It’s a rather new feature on Adobe Photoshop (CC 2019 version). It was introduced a few months ago and it’s been developed and fine-tuned by Adobe with every update.

Disclaimer : At its current state, it’s not a be-all-end-all solution to reduce camera shake and this is only meant to fix a teeny bit of single directional shake.

Let’s jump into it with an example, shall we?

Zoom in to take a closer look


Terrible shake right?!

Okay it’s not that bad but it’s a visible shake that you’re definitely gonna notice if it’s gonna be printed on packaging (which it was).

Sooo let’s see how you apply shake reduction in photoshop.

Filter -> Sharpen -> Shake Reduction…


It’s a pretty automated filter so I generally don’t have to mess with the settings here

And that’s pretty much it!

Before                                           Vs                                             After

Yeah… This pretty much saved the picture for me!

I think this filter is an absolutely wonderful addition to the myriad of features in Photoshop. It comes in handy when there’s a small mess up like the one above!

This article isn’t meant to be a comprehensive guide to this filter sooo…. If you wish to learn a lot more about this tool, go check out this link from Adobe.

Hope you found value in this article!

A crispyboi big version of the final pic!


You can check out the final version of the pic on my Instagram!

Smoke photography! How do you do it?

Why would you possibly want to capture smoke/ steam in your pictures?

Well here are some reasons to :-

  1. Helps visually illustrate that the subject is hot (eg. Food items, Coffee etc.)
  2. Makes the picture more 3D.
  3. It just looks cool! (also helps add interesting and playful patterns in your pictures).

Is it just a gimmick? For the most part, the way it is used nowadays online… I think so! However it’s a really cool thing to know about as it is a very useful storytelling tool that can be used to drive a point home.


Let’s jump right to into it! The stuff that are absolutely essential to effectively represent smoke in the best way in your pictures are threefold.

1. A dark background – is absolutely essential to represent smoke in photos because smoke is usually a delicate thing to showcase in pictures and are bright in nature. A dark background would very much go a long way to make them stand out in the image.

The image below shows how the exact same image with the same amount of smoke looks like when the background area of the smoke isn’t dark.

Don’t see no smoke 😦

2. Side light – or backlighting from top (if you like to complicate pics for fun) would help highlight the smoke when placed in front of a dark background instead of overpowering the smoke as lighting from the front would.

3. Fast shutter speed – is required because smoke/ steam is essentially a moving subject. It might not move as fast as a vehicle or a bird in flight but it still moves and in case you’re new to photography, a fast shutter speed is required to freeze the action of moving subjects. Doesn’t have to be crazy fast but anywhere over 1/100 should be plenty fast to freeze smoke (that sounds weird) in your pictures!

The smoke shown in any of the pictures in this post isn’t from the coffee but from an incense thingy (sambrani) that was placed behind the cup. Since the setup involved a lot of minor changes which took up a lot of time, I went with this option where I’ll constantly have smoke for a long time for me to shoot patiently. The principles of how I captured it however is what I’ve explained above.

You can apply the rules when shooting actual steam coming out of your coffee, tea or even Biriyani! Well anything for that matter.

Enjoy the newfound knowledge and use it wisely, my young padawans! May the smoke photography skills be with you.

Also here are some of the weirder looking ones!


Overcoming the challenges of shooting at a restaurant

I recently conducted a food photography workshop which I think was a big success in my book because I think it gave me a chance to address some of the issues that are faced by photographers when shooting food. So I’m gonna do the same with this post

This was one of the toughest shoots I’ve ever done. Mainly cuz I had no access to cutlery or crockery (plates, dishes, cups and stuff). I obviously can’t blame the restaurant since the whole concept of the restaurant was to serve American style pizza where the pizzas are sold in slices in a non-fancy way. Since that’s the kind of vibe they were going for, the pizzas were served in these paper plate thingies.

A wonderful restaurant but not good for photography! Plating and styling is a very important part of food photography! Like Tony Stark in Iron man 3, I had to play without my toys (cutlery and crockery)!

So to deal with the situation I mentally scanned the area and saw the good parts of the scene that I have, for the picture.

1. Wooden table
2. Great lighting from the windows (went for backlighting, obviously)
3. Fresh pizzas (which are a plus cuz they start looking sad when they’re not fresh.
4. Basil and chilly flake bottles.
5. Glass windows which allowed a view of the road outside and the vehicles moving there.

Behind the scenes shot of how I set up the camera!
Aand that’s how it turned out!

With the focus set on the pizza, I set up the scene and tried to incorporate just these 5 things in the picture with no focus on what I didn’t have access to.

So yeah! I’m pretty happy with how it turned out and I think I did my best with the situation!

Canon 6D | Canon 50mm F/1.8 | ISO 50 | Natural light

Hope it helps you make your shots better under challenging circumstances! Go iron man 3 those shoots! :p

Also here are a few more pics I shot there!





Alright, first things first. I know that some of you are already triggered to tell me to delete this post right now. I completely understand the reasons why you might think so but I sincerely request you to read the whole article first. Thank you.

Hello! I’m Ashwin, a Chennai based freelance photographer and my primary focus is on food photography right now. I am, by no means an expert and the motive of this article is just for me to share my experience so far and hopefully bring some value to those who take the time to read it.

Some background on me – I’ve been into photography since the tender age of 13 and have been shooting pictures rigorously ever since! I knew for a fact a working at a 9-5 job is not for me and have always thought along the lines of working for myself and owning a business. And my parents have been extremely supportive of this decision.

Before I expand on the title of the article, let’s get down to the basics for a minute. What is business? Business is basically trading products and services in exchange for money. Now photography is a service so let’s focus on that.

Photographers operate like any other business, we offer our services in exchange for money. Who do we offer our services to? why clients who need our service of course! There is abundant money in the market and a seemingly infinite number of companies and businesses would like to pay for YOUR photography service.

You might be thinking… “Okay smartypants, how do you start working with these businesses as a photographer starting off in a field that is absolutely new to you?”.


When I first decided I wanted to venture out into advertising photography, I had no idea what to do. I worked in partnership with a friend of mine for a couple of shoe brands which was some pretty good work experience for me. However it was not exactly what I wanted to do for the rest of my life so I ventured out and tried different things. I shot for some referrals of my friends and peers and as much as I enjoyed those shoots, I was not really working with the businesses I really wanted to be working with.

Some agencies and companies did approach me through Facebook (the organic reach days) and through referrals but they were simply not okay with my charges. One reason could be that I had no prior experience shooting the type of stuff that they wanted me to shoot – Food products, restaurants, interiors and a whole variety of things. So my portfolio and I wasn’t inspiring much confidence in them.



None of my peers were really doing the kind of work that I was looking to do so I really had no one to ask. Until I came across some business videos and also reached out to a lifestyle photographer who was actually doing the exact kind of work that I wanted to do, through Instagram. She simply said ‘start photographing the things you love and perfect your lighting and composition… tag the companies featured in your pictures and they’ll re-post it or reach out to you if they like your work. That’s a good place to start.’ And so I started… I created content around stuff I wanted to shoot and posted them on Facebook and Instagram and even messaged some of the companies I wanted to work with.




However I didn’t stop there. As mentioned above, that was just a start. With the help of Gary vee‘s content and bit of thinking on my own I got this idea to reach out to companies and businesses that I wanted to shoot for and offer to do a test shoot for them AKA giving them 3 pictures of any 3 of their products for free. If they like it, and are looking for a photographer, then we discuss a full fledged photo shoot and all that jazz. If not, they’re still free to use the pictures. So there’s really no downside for the prospective clients to take up the deal and makes this a no-brainer.

Now let’s break this tactic down…



  • You fill up your portfolio and social media with the kind of pictures you wish to shoot for a living and hence attracting exactly the right crowd for you, who are looking for the kind of work you display.
  • You’re providing value to a prospective customer way more than any other photographer on the market and hence getting on their radar. Even if they’re not looking to do a photo-shoot right away, if they have a good experience with you and should they ever decide to have photos taken for them later, they’re more likely to contact you for it. (Yes it has really happened! It actually works!)
  • You have the leverage since YOU are offering THEM a service for free so you can be choosy on who you decide to provide this value for based on what you want to do and what you want in your portfolio.
  • If you don’t have enough (or any) experience or the confidence to take up a big shoot that you wish to, this could be a great learning experience for you! It’s free anyway so you can’t really disappoint anyone even if you tried!
  • If the company or business decides to use your picture on social media or their advertising, you can have that as proof of working with them which adds to your credibility and could also help get more exposure for your pics.
  • People only get used to discounts and not free stuff so I don’t think this is going to devalue your work or reputation in any way.
  • If the company sells a product they want pics for, they happily give you the product to shoot. This would still be better than shooting that product on your own since you wouldn’t have to buy it to shoot it. I was reaching out to companies like this only since I had more time than money so this worked out well for me.


  • It definitely takes time and effort that you spend which might not immediately bring returns to you in terms of money.
  • You can possibly be ‘taken advantage of’. Some have tried to push me to do a couple more pics than I first agreed to and I’ve given them more pics if I felt like they’d dealt with me professionally or when I just felt like shooting more. But something to look out for.

Now just in case it was unclear (in spite of the title) I’m all for this tactic however I do not advocate companies that approach you that claim an upper hand and extract full-fledged photo shoots from you for free in the name of offering ‘work experience’ or claiming that they’re a startup and that newcomers should help each other. Unless you think the deal would bring value to the both YOU and the client, do not accept it.

It’s a completely different energy when you offer trial shoots to someone on your own Vs when someone comes in asking for free work.

This is most applicable if you’re fairly new to this field of photography but I honestly still do free work just to create some content for myself and for providing value to people in my market. Food photography is definitely something that I’m passionate about so I still offer free shoots to a few brands even though I’ve already done a bunch of paid shoots of the same kind simply because I really want to work with that brand (UPDATE : relatively a much lower number now since I simply buy the products to shoot instead nowadays)

I went on a spree messaging about 30 brands/ restaurants that I wanted to work with, a couple of months back and did some trial shoots and even landed a super cool long-term client from there. I honestly don’t know why I stopped. So after a sudden realization, I went on a bigger spree last week (Jan 2018) and messaged about 57 restaurants in a day on instagram (I got banned from DMing twice that day so I suggest chilling it with the spree DMs and spreading it out over a few days)

That, my friends is why I think doing free shoots isn’t at all that bad. I hope you gained something valuable from this long-ass article.

If you’ve made it this far, thank you so much for taking the time to read all this! Do you agree with me on this? Do you disagree? Do you think I’m a disgrace to all food photographers on the planet? Let me know in the comments below. Would love to hear your thoughts on this matter! Send me a DM if you have anything to ask me on @ace._photography!

Don’t be selfish! Share it with a friend who might find value from this 🙂

P.S. All the pics featured in this article were taken as part of trial shoots or on my own and here are some more! You catch up on all my pics on Instagram @ace._photography!










Check out my Instagram @ace._photography for behind the scenes and more pics like these!