My Take on Food Styling and Photography

My Take on Food Styling and Photography

An early photo after realizing the value of food/prop styling

When I first picked up a DSLR camera and began photographing/blogging regularly, Nor could I have predicted that less than 2 years later, I'd be getting such incredible support from my readers, and more recently, an increasing number of emails asking for photography advice. I have no idea if this comes across online, but I'm actually quite a shy person in real life. It's truly a testament to you all that I feel quite at ease writing this post today.Please understand that I don't claim to be an expert in any of this (photography, styling, processing, etc.). What I do possess is ... So what are we waiting for? Let's get started!At this point you might be wondering why I chose to start a post about food photography with a collage of photos that are mediocre at best. The photos above are some of theto have graced this blog. In fact the blurry shot of raspberry streusel bars at top left was the first food photo taken by yours truly to be posted here! For me the importance of this is twofold. First, Certainly some people are better at it like anything else. But to give an example, take a look at this early post by blogger/photographer/stylist Aran Goyoaga of Cannelle et Vanille. I bet her early photos are not so different from yours or mine. She had to learn the same basics as any other photographer in order to get where she is today.Second, I think I've seen many bloggers complaining about how much they hate and hope to one day replace their early blog photos. If you're one of them, I hope you'll change your mind. There's no shame to showing the history of your development as a photographer, and at least for me, removing them would just feel like pretending to have been something I wasn't.As I've mentioned before, and for the majority of the photos on this site. Both are on the lower end of the price range for dSLR equipment. To touch briefly on the Point and Shoot (P&S) versus dSLR issue, I wholeheartedly agree with the common saying that "it's not the camera, it's the photographer." So no, not even dropping several grand for a professional camera will allow you to instantly take amazing photos. BUT dSLR cameras do generally produce photos with noticeably superior clarity and color. And most importantly, they put an incredible amount of control in your hands. .Though the Rebel XS has served me very well, I'd recommend starting with a slightly higher-end model (like an XT or XTi/Nikon equivalent or even better if you can afford it) if you expect to be serious about photography. Regardless of the camera, I guarantee the 50mm lens is the best bang for your buck (at around $100) and won't disappoint!

Ingredients

  • Vintage wood tables: the real deal is pretty expensive, but one day I hope to afford it; meanwhile I've been eyeing this DIY tutorial for faking the farmhouse table look.
  • Weathered wood boards: if you have access to a farm or barn, those are your best bets for scoring naturally weathered boards; or you may want to try this DIY tutorial for painted boards.
  • Linen, denim, burlap, etc.: local fabric stores are best so you can examine the color and weave before purchasing; but if none are available, online stores like Fashion Fabrics Club stock a large variety and have frequent sales; get at least 1 1/2 yards of any fabric you want to use as a background
  • Step outside "the box": there are many other potential backgrounds out there just waiting to be uncovered...you just have to get a lil creative; for example Helene of Tartelette has used vintage ceiling tiles very effectively in food shots. I also read of a stylist who picked up a broken table from the street, sawed its legs off, and got a gorgeous wood backdrop for free. Two examples of my own use of unconventional backgrounds are shown in photos above and below. One was a vintage wood chair and the other was the back of a small, dingy roasting pan.
Read the whole recipe on 6 Bittersweets