The joys of doing your own food photography (and the bloopers that get missed sometimes)
When I first decided to start writing recipe books, there were so many questions. How were all the elements going to come together, especially the food styling and photos. Out of financial necessity of creating a book on a spaghetti budget, I decided to do my own photography! It is hilarious to look back at my first attempts! I tried to recreate some of the professional styling ideas that were beautifully executed in other books and magazines. The first great leap forward was when I realised I needed to develop my own style. To stop trying to emulate the expensively styled look of others’ work.
Photography learning curve!
I spent a bit of time doing online photography courses that covered the basics. Then I just relaxed and thought about how the photos should highlight the simplicity without all the fuss. So, as the dishes rolled out and I rummaged market stalls for interesting props, the photos improved. With some good results and positive feedback, I gained confidence. Still, there were some amusing bloopers that still make me wonder how they happened. Some of them were obvious – like the dog’s tail in the background, or my breakfast coffee mug. The one that was most frustrating was trying to get a great close up shot of serving the dish. I kept getting all sorts of random reflections in the spoon! Hence the photo in this blog.
There’s no hard and fast rules in how many takes/retakes/even more retakes it takes.
It’s interesting that the styling and photography of some dishes just came together perfectly (even with above mentioned spoon or knife) in about 4 or 5 shots. Yet others needed so many retakes, angle changes, lighting configuration, it nearly sent me cross-eyed. And I’ve learnt that some ingredients are almost impossible to make look fantastic and appetising whatever you do! Mushrooms would have to be at the top of that list!
There is great enjoyment and satisfaction in creating a recipe, cooking it and styling the photos as well. Whilst I’ve been collating, editing and fiddling with the final bits for my latest book you can enjoy, it has been personally rewarding to see how far the finished product has come.
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