One of the best resources I came across is the book Plate to Pixel by Helene Dujardin, the author of the blog Tartelette which has some of the most beautiful food photography I've seen. It's super straightforward, with tons of pictures to show what she is talking about. It's perfect for a beginner who is enthusiastic about taking better food photos. I've also been looking at lots of online resources, which I have linked to at the end of this post.
Anyway, after doing all of this reading, I realized there are things that I want to do with my photography that I simply couldn't do with my basic point and shoot. That's not to say point and shoot cameras are bad, of course, or that the pictures you take with them aren't good - you can take beautiful pictures with a point and shoot and terrible pictures with a DSLR. However, I wanted to be able to do more with my camera, but couldn't because of its basic settings. I was feeling quite restricted by what my camera was able to do.
For example, one major thing I love in photos is the lovely blurry backgrounds (or "bokeh," as I have learned it's called). My point and shoot can't really do that. I tried to fool it into doing that by using the food (macro) setting, which blurs the background a bit because the camera is being told to focus on what's right in front of it so it can't keep the background completely in focus as well as in the normal setting, but in my opinion it just doesn't look quite like it does when the picture is taken with a DSLR. Maybe a higher-end point and shoot could do it, but mine is pretty basic. I also wanted to be able to experiment with camera settings somewhat, but didn't even have a manual setting on my camera.
I spent some time thinking about whether I wanted to get a really good point and shoot, or if I wanted to take the plunge and buy a DSLR and put to use all of the reading I had been doing about apertures, ISO, depth of field, shutter speeds, and all of that good stuff. I decided I wanted to get a DSLR, so I spent a ton of time looking at them online. I finally found a good deal on a solid entry-level DSLR (a Canon EOS Rebel T2i) and snagged it. I'm so excited to take a ton of pictures with it. We'll be taking a vacation to the west coast in a couple of months so it will be nice to bring it along and take non-food pictures as well.
Anyway, since I have photography on the brain, I thought I'd share some of the most useful online photography resources I have come across over the last few months. (And again, I would highly recommend Plate to Pixel, though it's not as easy to access as just clicking a link - but it's worth it!) Many of these are specific to food photography (including discussions of styling and composition), but there are also general photography resources geared towards beginners. These can be found either on my Resources page or pinned on my Pinterest photography board, so please feel free to check those out. I'll keep adding resources I find to those locations as I find them, so you may want to check back in the future as well. I hope they inspire you to improve your photos the way they have inspired me!
Food Photography Basics - Sally's Baking Addiction
Food Photography Basics - The Way the Cookie Crumbles
Food Photography Props on a Budget - Eyes Bigger Than My Stomach
Food Photography Tips - Bella Eats
Food Photography Tips for Food Blogs and Food Bloggers, Written by a Professional Food Photographer - Food Photography Blog
Food Styling Q and A with Tami Hardeman - Gourmande in the Kitchen
The Language of Food Photography: The Principles of Design - Gourmande in the Kitchen
My Take on Food Styling and Photography: a comprehensive overview of photography, styling and composition basics - 6 Bittersweets
Photography 101: a series of posts, including some that are geared to those with point and shoot cameras - Kitchen Wench
Photography Tips, Tricks and Tutorials - Taylor Takes a Taste
A Quick Guide to Understanding your Digital SLR Camera - Kevin and Amanda
Styling Pro's Secrets to Gorgeous Food Photos - Will Write for Food
When Good Food Looks Bad: A Styling Post - Running with Tweezers