I love talks about food photography and styling. It's so good to listen to someone who is as mad about it as you are. I may not ever be as skilled as Donal Skehan, but I could still listen him talk about it for hours.
Don't worry I shall keep this short and sweet!
This talk and demonstration was by Irish lad, blogger, photographer and all round nice chap Donal Skehan, ably assisted by the rather elegant food stylist Sharon Hearne-Smith.
Donal first talked us through food photography and how it has changed. He summed up modern food photography as more about personal contact. He told us today you will find more people in shots or sometimes just hands.
Here are some of Donal's tips:
- Take photos of the process of making a dish.
- Set up a shot how you would eat food, have things in the shot that would be on the table if you were sitting down to dinner.
- You wouldn't have the raw ingredients of a dish at the dinner table, so don't include it in the shot.
- Do some reportage pieces, for instance a grid with photos of where you bought or picked produce, following through with the cooking to the end dish.
- Use a higher ISO in dull light.
- You need a camera, tripod and bouncer as your basic kit.
- Use the bouncer to take away shadows
- You can use a mirror to bounce light, but you have to be careful not to overdo it. Try gently bouncing light off just one small area of a dish. It's good for lifting the colour of brown food in particular.
- Take photos in RAW format.
- If you need long shots and close up shots go for a 24 -105 lense.
- Make sure the food isn't too big in the shot
"you don't want the food to look like it could eat you!"
- Take shots in both landscape and portrait.
- Also take overhead shots.
- to take a good overhead shot, stand on a stool and fit a spirit level onto the flash connector (not sure if that is the correct terminology), to make sure your hot is even.
- Tuck the camera tight into your shoulder and have your arm tight into your body to keep the camera steady.
- Hold the camera firmly by the lense.
Food Styling with Sharon Hearne-Smith
I knew quite a lot of the tips Sharon shared with us, but it was nice to have a reminder and to hear her talk. I find there is always something to take away from a session.
- If a sauce is a bit flat in colour, add some foil to the dish under the surface, this will instantly reflect and lift the colour of the dish, say for instance cranberry sauce.
- Keep tissue and paper from gift and food boxes. It doesn't matter if it is crumpled, it makes an interesting surface to display baked goods on.
- To stop croutons sinking in soup and to keep the spoon near the surface, place a small upturned bowl in your soup bowl and only just cover with soup.
- Use, tea towels, doilies, crumpled paper, paper straws in baking shots.
- Wrap coloured twine around the handle of a knife for a pretty effect.
- Use a cotton bud to clean a tide line around the inside a bowl of soup or sauce.
- Use a perfume spritzer filled with water to spray and perk up salad leaves.
- Brush on oil or water with a paintbrush to liven up the look of food.
- think about the food, should it look oily or wet?
- only use clear oil, olive oil will distort the colour of food.
- Use a paint stripping gun or blow torch to melt cheese (say on a burger) at the last minute, as cheese will start to look oily and rubbery as it cools.
- Grate cheddar and place it on a baking sheet to melt. Pick off the crusty bits to add to the edges of an oven baked dish like pizza or lasagne.
- Add salad dressing to a salad at the very last moment and pool some on the plate.
Veggie Recipe of the Day
from Amuse Your Bouche