Do you take notes? I do, just about every week. I find that my attention span is smaller and smaller, ant-like. My note books are a combination of images and text. I create word pictures from what I'm hearing and I draw the speaker, all this helps me concentrate on what is being said. I saw a woman do this next to me at Alt, so I know I'm not alone. Sometimes when it's a really good story, I'm fully engaged watching, listening, I want to take the journey with the speaker, and then I put pen to paper and start to draw the story. These days, with my camera in hand on my phone, I find taking pictures works the best. During our Food Styling photography class at Alt, it was all about the pictures.
What did we learn? We could have made this an all day class. But it was only a few hours at the most. Our two photographers, Joy Uyeno and Lindsey Johnson suggested only using things that make the food look good, but still edible (i.e. spritz of water on salads, no unnatural glazes.) We know we all want to eat this food after we shoot it.
Styling. Some great suggestions on props, antique stores are a good start or do you buy one napkin, one bowl, one fork at places like West Elm? I do. Texture matters, cloth napkins are best. How about showing the ingredients you used in the food. Make the picture live, like you just ate it, or are about to. Don't be afraid to take a bite and then take a picture, it can be a little messy, this makes it real.
Have you found that treasure trove of antique mismatched silverware, how about an old wood patina cutting board, these are great pieces to include. It takes a while and some room to build a collection of props. I once had a photography assignment that we had to use 3 objects, metal, paper, texture and fabric. I loved this project, because it made push my creativity and was a nice departure after the Fashion shoot we did. I still own those props from umpteen years ago.
Lighting. Natural all the way, I tend to take my pictures in the morning light and right before sunset, I do get some great light in my kitchen and living room at these times. My bedroom get's some great light mid-day, so once I get a few more surfaces (slate, more wood options) that I can move into there, that might be my mid-day spot. Great tip came from someone that suggested natural daylight bulbs, you can buy and replace in all your lamps. If you happen to only be able to shoot your food when the sun has set, or your space isn't well lit, this is the way to go. If you have the money and space a strobe flash would be great. You'll probably at the very least want to purchase black and white foam core as bounces for light and flash. They really do make a big difference.
Here's Joy getting this amazing Raspberry tart set up for a shot. Love how she should us a simple way to get the napkin in there. Grab it from the middle and just let it naturally fall and lay it down, no fancy folding. Seriously how easy is that, and looks great. Loved this class and all the fun little tidbits. Seriously this needs to be a whole day session, which would include eating everything too. I think this may be another investment that I make this year for myself. Taking another food photography class, investing in the right equipment and of course, all year long I'm on the look-out for props.
And lastly, above is my assignment shot from the 3 objects, paper, fabric, metal and texture. Not bad for my first time, I had to search through my archives to find this image. I think this is the image that made me want to do more of this type of photography. It's not a bad thing to look back at what we've done and critique ourselves. Maybe we realize that wasn't that bad, or maybe we see "man why would I have ever taken that image and posted it."I think I have more of the later these days. Learning a little patience when it comes to content creations is a good thing.