Today’s chat is confirmation that to be a food photog, you DO NOT need to be a cook and/or chef. In fact, you don’t have to like to cook and you certainly don’t need to know how to cook. In our home, my husband jokes that he knows when dinner is done because the smoke alarm is going off! I do love my husband and although it’s a joke, it’s not far from the truth because it’s just not where I devote my energy at this stage of my photography career. Now, I have been known to cook some really yummy foods like homemade jar sauce and chicken cutlets with a glass of wine in hand but Chef, I am not/photog I am!
For me personally, my focus (pun intended) is to work on presenting the food, obtaining the exact lighting and having the perfect composition for my PHooD photography. All of these topics and more will be discussed on future blogs and eventually a YouTube Channel but for now, let’s stick to the topic at hand, photographer and/or chef? The answer is simply you don’t have to be both.
Below are 5 tips to help get your camera in hand and PHooD Photography on set.
Tip 1 – Go buy the food at your local grocery story. You can buy premade foods near the deli, cook a frozen product or pick up a beautiful decadent dessert or two or three (sweet tooth). Whatever foods you want to photograph your local grocery store will have it. Then afterwards, you have a meal for the family to enjoy, right! That’s using your time wisely!
Tip 2 – Don’t make a big deal over all of the food you are going to photograph. Some foods can be made at home (even if you are not a chef in the kitchen), look delicious and have a great presentation and that story may just be in your kitchen cupboard just waiting to be photographed. That’s right, break out the PB&J, cut the crust, cut the sandwich in diagonals and add some chips, a pickle and VIOLA. This is an easy set up to prepare but be aware, sometimes making something so easy can be the hardest to photograph. Think about when you were a child and tell your PB&J story and bring back memories or create new ones.
Tip 3 – Produce is our friend, that’s right! Grow some of your own fruits and/or veggies. Green Peppers & Jalapenos are super easy to grow and will make a great addition to photograph alone or with your purchased food products. Also, a little side note that jalapenos help keep critters away from other veggies because of the potent smell and hot taste. Let’s not forget our fruit friends as well. Oranges, lemons, limes, grapefruits, grapes, etc., all can be picked up at your local Farmer’s Market or if you have the ability and willingness, you can grow these babies as well. Use them as a side to enhance your story or as the Hero of your photograph.
Tip 4 – Fake it until you make it. YES, some icing and confectioners’ sugar (powdered sugar) will make a great ice cream that will melt your heart and not your display. Stay tuned for my upcoming blog and/or video in the next couple of weeks. I will share all the details with you and the best part, we will not need to rush because we will not melt.
Tip 5 – The bread winner! Anyone can make a semi homemade and healthy pizza with already made flatbread, pizza sauce and your favorite toppings, perhaps from your garden. Not to mention, adding some flour, a chopping block and some already diced garlic, onions and pepperoni crumbs for depth will make for a fantastic photo that looks like you made it from scratch.
I hope you found these tip helpful and that you will follow me in the next few weeks where we will talk more about PHooD (food) Photography and Tip #4, don’t miss it!
Until next time, I am Tina Coe and this is PHooD Photography with a PHD!
I hope you found these tip helpful and remember, you don’t have to be a cook/chef to be a food photographer. So get shopping, get out your gear and get to photographing the foods you love.