~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Food Photography~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
By Valerie Lamaree
Just a few tips from me. I don't profess to be some kind of crazy amazing food photographer, but I enjoy cooking a lot, and trying to make my food look pretty, and I enjoy taking photos, so it stands to reason that I would end up taking photos of food.
I think back to my own childhood, and I think of all the memories I have that are kind of hazy- or just not there. This is in the back of my mind a lot when I take photos of my kids' everyday lives, just little details, their toys, their activities, the things they make. I want them to have a picture of their childhoods to look back on, and what they eat is a big part of it. (It's a bigger to some than others- my Nicholas is a real little gourmand. )
So, anyway, I just want to share some tips that I use, some examples of food photos that I like, and am proud of, and I want to encourage everyone to take photos of your own food, especially things that you make that are special, or that are real standbys in your home. Write your recipes down (or type them) and pass these down to your kids. I think they'll be happy to have them when they are older.
My first tip is that anytime you make something special, or that took a lot of time, take photos of it! How cool will it be some day when your kids are talking about those cool cookies Mom sent to school for Halloween to be able to show them the photo.
Another tip is to start collecting some cool dishes or serving platters to use. I find a lot of cool plates and stuff at TJ Maxx. I also keep my eyes open after the holidays to get nice trays and things on clearance. JoAnn's and Michael's really mark their stuff down after the holidays. the Halloween plate above came from JoAnn's after Halloween, and I think I paid $2 for it.
My challenge to myself for this summer is to see if I can find some cool, vintagey looking stuff at yard sales or flea markets to use in food photos. I want some cool looking old silverware.
One technique I use a lot is to open up my aperture and focus in on one food item, while using more of the same food item and/or ingredients from the recipe in the blurred background.
Get close to the food.
Arrange things so they look cool. Try stacking cookies instead of piling them on a plate.
You can't really go wrong with cookies though. They look good piled on plates too.
Or just on the cooling rack.
I like food to be photographed in an appropriate setting, so I use my kitchen a lot, with a wide aperture to blur out the BG. (My kitchen looks a lot nicer with a little blur on it )
A word to the wise- be super careful photographing soups, stews, or anything that might be confused with a pile of regurge on a plate. If you are very conscious with your setup, you'll have no problems.
I used a round cookie cutter to help mold my rice into a perfect circle to hold this gingered beef.
You want to avoid anything that would end up looking like this:
If you have any friends who own restaurants, offer to take food photos for them, if you have an interest in food photography. My friend Charlie produced some amazing stuff for me to photograph, and he has used a lot of my photos on his websites and menus and stuff.
Having plenty of time, and plenty of space, and tons of natural light can also make a pretty huge difference in the kind of photos you can get. His restaurant was perfect for photos.
More posts in the "Tips for Improving Your Photography" Series:
Five Tips for Better Images! (Without Buying Stuff) - By Megan Love
Letting your Kids Call the Shots: Tips for Getting Great Photos of Your Kids - by Meg Kelly Anderson