Colbie Caillat has a new song called Try that has become a hit. It starts out really soft and slow, talking about makeup and hair, getting your sexy on so “they will like you.” Then it builds up and shows all these women taking their makeup off to reveal pretty much flawless skin, and still pretty hair (except for the one chemo patient lady). It’s a “feel good about yourself the way you are” type of song — original, huh. Anyhoo, this song has been shared a lot around Facebook and has 14 million views so far. Whew, quite popular so far!

Well, I’m gonna go out on a limb here and say I think it’s a dumb song. I can understand Colbie singing to other fellow female celebrities who struggle with the constant pressure to stay thin and look pretty so they can make a buck… but the whole song comes across as simplistic. Why try, try, try so hard? Why don’t you just stop brushing your teeth twice a day, too, and shaving your legs, and just stop wearing bras? Who needs bras anyway? You have to try so hard to find one that fits well.

The other thing I’m tired of is this constant theme of there only being pressure on women when it comes to beauty standards. What if this song had been sung by men from mens perspectives? Would we see them go from clean-shaven, showered, fit guys to unshaven, stinky, slobs with beer-guts? Catch my drift?

Hey, I’m not for holding women to Hollywood standards of beauty, either. I think that our society is messed up in many ways when it comes to women. But coming from a homeschool background where we didn’t try very hard to look sexy or pretty, I have to say that I find this song mildly offensive. It’s conveys s subliminal message that gives leeway to women everywhere to just forgo the shower and ditch the mascara and pretty clothes. It’s also saying that if I put on pretty clothes and makeup everyday then I’m trying too hard. By whose standards? Are the only two extremes here doll myself up like a hooker or go au natural and baggy sweatpants?

At the end of the day, yes, do stop try, try, trying so hard for other people. Stop trying to look like a photoshopped version of Colbie Caillat. But have some respect for yourself, and dress the way you want to dress, take care of yourself in the ways that make YOU feel good. If you love makeup by all means wear it everyday. If pretty dresses and heels make you feel confident and sexy, go ahead and dress up. If jeans and short haircuts do it for you, be my guest, do what makes you feel best. I have no problem with women wanting to wear makeup, not wear makeup, have long hair short hair, whatever. Just stop setting the beauty standards for everyone else, and stop letting them be set for you. People need to just start setting their own.

Personally, I find makeup enjoyable. I will put it on because I have respect for myself, and it makes me feel relaxed and happy. Do what you want to do, not what other people want you to do. That message should have been communicated better in the song, but I feel like Colbie botched up the communication part of her song.

And remember, self-confidence looks good on everybody, so get yours on.

Oh, and one last thought. If you really want a good way to gain some perspective about beauty standards and “relax” yours a little, I recommend browsing on the “Nu Project” for a while — it helps to see other people’s bodies sans clothes and in all their love-handled glory if you have body-image issues. I do find the body beautiful in its au natural form, as well. Just a fair warning; the site contains nude images, so don’t look it up if that is offensive your your standards, speaking of standards, and please don’t look it up if you are underage and don’t have parental permission. I’m not trying to start an issue here, but just trying to point out that I have no problems with nudity in art, and also have no problems with nudity in photography. I don’t recommend looking at it for pornographic purposes (solo sexual gratification — I have issues with that), but as an objective way to view the human body. It CAN be helpful to view the human body sans clothes if you have body-image issues, as I have had in the past before.


Food Photography

Working in a restaurant has gotten me champing at the bit to get a camera again. Give me a 70D with a 100mm macro lens, and I would be in heaven. Of course, I would have to take all evening to just enjoy photographing food, and I can’t do that anyway, but with the extra cash I save up from this job, I can’t wait to actually get a camera again and taking photos of the incredible food that is being served up at the Bistro.

Food photography is tricky. Most people just snap a photo of what looks appetizing in real life, but the end result of the photo is usually a snapshot of greasy food. Appealing, not.

One of the biggest tricks when taking food shots is to use lots and lots and LOTS of natural light. It can be hard in most dimly lit restaurants to get enough light to actually take a good photo (as the guest). Find a window, and have the light be to the side or coming in from behind or above you. use some white poster board to bounce light back onto the food by facing the poster board towards your light source. Sometimes it’s also fun to place a vibrantly colored poster board directly behind the food to add a splash of color, too!

Food shots are also best done with a camera that can achieve the “bokeh” effect — where one part of the food is in focus and the rest is blurry — this is best done with a DSLR and a lens that has an aperture as big as f/2.8. A T3 Rebel Canon body and 50mm macro lens can achieve that if you are on a lower budget for camera equipment. I want a camera body that can handle lower light situations, so I am going to save up for the 70D.

One last tip is: try different angles. Get up high, get down low, get up close. Food rarely looks good when you take in the whole plate at standing eye level. Be creative with your angles, and I mean that in reference to photography ;-).

Anyway, enough talk. Here are some of my favorite food shots from over the years of being a photographer. Hope they give you some insight into the world of food photography, and they make your mouth water, too!