Lately I’ve been helping my mom build her food business by photographing her food whenever I get the chance to do it. I’m having a lot of fun with it, actually. Last night she brought me over a Hot or Cold Chicken Salad & Mango Curry Chicken Salad to photograph (& eat!! yay!). Initially I was slightly puzzled on how to really make these dishes shine.
The Hot or Cold Chicken Salad, in particular, is an improved basic chicken salad casserole dish, which are generally SUPER yummy, but not very pretty. To add some interest, I did a bit of food styling & pulled out some of the water chestnuts & added a little greenery. I put all of this on one of my celery-green plates that I’ve been dying to photograph something on. Then, to add some contrast, I put tomatoes in the blurred background (the dish has red bell peppers in it, no tomatoes, so this was a bit of a fudge, but I think it still worked). While the actual food may not be as gorgeous as others, I do think it looks bright, fresh & overall pretty dang delicious.
[Hot or Cold Chicken Salad: nice big chicken chunks along with chewy wheat berries (thats the fancy term for cooked wheat), celery and water chestnuts, with a hint of lemon]
The Mango Curry Chicken Salad was MUCH easier to photograph & a lot more exciting as there is a lot of color & contrast in this dish. I plated it on a blue dish, setting everything on a lettuce leaf.
[Mango Curry Chicken Salad: curry dish, with Mango preserves, celery, grapes (red or green), and wheat berries]
To view my mom’s site/blog & see more of her yummy culinary creations, visit http://cookingwithmelanie.wordpress.com.
Here’s some recent pics for Dough Girl of her yummy Almond Joy-like cookie, Ricki. It’s huck full of coconut, almonds & chocolate – YUM!
Here’s the gorgeous dough as it comes out of the bag (without the extra coconut, almonds & chocolate lying around, though, lol).
Home-baked yumminess!! (Can I tell you again how much I love that these cookies are so easy to just pull out of the bag from your freezer & bake? Seriously, you can just bake up a few even if you’d like. I love the concept of gourmet ready-to-bake cookies at home; love it.)
And my favorite of all: oozing melted chocolate. I was really happy with this picture in particular. I loved how the melted chocolate really came through as the primary focus & that the ingredients around the cookies are in the blurred background.
I used to not like nuts at all, but I’ve been really working on liking at least almonds. Do you like nuts? Do you like coconut? Have you tried this Dough Girl?
Things have been VERY busy & I have neglected my poor little blog! Also, I’ve been having issues with a redesign for my portfolio site (the program keeps unnaturally stretching my photos, regardless of how support has told me how to fix it – at a semi-standstill). However, I wanted to get some pics up from this latest shoot of My Dough Girl’s cookie of the month, Evia. It’s a vanilla bean dough with pear slices, a marzipan center & pinenuts on top. All in all, one gorgeous cookie. I love how little vanilla bean flecks showed up in the dough pic.
There is some argument about the perfection of the food for food photography. My personal take is that food isn’t perfect in real life & it’s the sweet little imperfections that give it character. I once heard of a food stylist who spent a few hours tucking spaghetti noodles in so there would be no loose ends hanging out for a photo – bleh! When we eat spaghetti, there are plenty of loose ends & that makes it interesting. While I do think that good food styling can make or break a shot, I think excess styling can detract & make it look unnatural. The little flaws humanize the food & make it more appealing.
I’m also not a fan of having tons of stuff in the shot either (i.e. lots of props). Every dish has it’s own character, with or without needing to add a lot of props. I like the simple beauty of a white background in most situations. This dough & cookie are so light in color that the tendency would be to put some color in the photo somehow, like putting it on a colored plate or cloth napkin. However, I think the simple elegance of this cookie really shone by not having anything but the cookie in the shots. What do you think? What do you like/dislike in food photography?
Here are some photos I took recently for The Sun & Moon Cafe. They were taken on-location, which was really fun because I love getting to see the food in it’s setting. The chef styled the food beautifully. Each dish he brought out looked completely amazing. I had a lot of fun capturing these shots & will definitely be going back to the Sun & Moon Cafe for a night out. They are this cute little restaurant up in the canyon that has live jazz & bluegrass music. I’d really like to go sometime when it’s warmer. They were telling me how fun it is out on the patio in the summer. There’s a river running nearby, so the ambiance is incredible.
I literally squealed with delight capturing this shot on Saturday. Tami, owner/”director of appetites” of My Dough Girl, was nervous about shots being taken of Blythe, her green pistachio cookies, after they were baked. She thought they just weren’t as pretty as in the frozen dough-ball form. However, I have come to adore little Blythe & really think we made her shine & look her best. Isn’t she a knock-out? And, to boot, she’s completely delicious.
Thank you to all of you who participated in my little business card quest. Your input has been very valuable. I’ve made my decision & will unveil it to you in the next day or so… I’m really excited & think you’ll love it!
When I was little, I read a book about a young girl who insisted that her milk tasted best in her red cup. She was also convinced that she could splash bigger in ponds wearing her red boots and sleep better in her red pajamas. If anyone knows the name of this book, I would love to know it. The concept has stuck with me, though the title hasn’t.
Only in desperate situations will I serve my kids their peanut butter & jelly sandwiches on a yellow plate. I know: I sound completely crazy. However – FINALLY – this odd quirk of mine is put to good use: I am a food photographer. Wherever I go, whatever food I shoot, the colors (or lack of colors) surrounding the food are of utmost importance.
Shooting food can be really, really difficult. Any skeptic only needs to try taking a picture of some food & they’ll see that it’s no walk in the park. But, that’s where the challenge & the fun come in!
Do you have any color quirks? Especially related to food? Will you drink something green without batting an eye, or does green as a drink gross you out?
I loved the color combo of these beautiful spring rolls from Raw Melissa with the blue plate. Perhaps spring rolls taste best on a blue plate.