We might not be experienced photographers, but we love food blogging. I know some of you can’t read Greek (as one of our readers so humorously pointed out), so here is the translation of the food photography project we are working on. This will be a two part series of posts where we ask different food bloggers some questions about food photography. Most of the bloggers we have interviewed are here in Greece but one of them is from the United States coming up in part two. Let’s get started!
Evangelia created her blog Healthy and Delicious Recipes (Νόστιμες και υγιεινές συνταγές) 6 years ago. Her purpose is to change, or at least try to improve the nutritious eating habits of people by encouraging them to include her recipes in their everyday life. She thinks it is not a good idea to supply our body with garbage when we have the option of eating healthy and delicious food instead. As a result she focuses her recipes around this concept. Even though photographing food is a time consuming procedure, she tries to have a plan as to which plates, atmosphere and styles she is going to use. This planning before setting the plates helps the photo shoot go smoothly. She used to take photographs with an old camera. Now she uses her iPhone but is thinking about buying a new camera.
(1) What would you say, from your experience, are the most important elements of food photography? For better or for worse, beyond the title, I think the photo plays a very important role in attracting people. For me, it is important for the food to show clearly. The ingredients need to stand out and the texture should be visible. Also, when we describe something complicated in the instructions of a recipe, it is good to have a photo example.
(2)What has been the most difficult thing about food photography for you so far? The biggest difficulty I encounter is catching up with the sun. This last winter was so heavy and unpredictable! Combined with the fact I work in the morning and return home in the afternoon make it very difficult to have bright photos. Once I overcome this obstacle, having different photos and not repeating the same ideas is something that puzzles me. In an attempt to overcome this I have bought various different plates and kitchenware.
(3) Share a trick or a detail that helps make the food look better. Lately I have noticed that I really like the photos when there are a lot if different objects on the surface. Meaning, besides the plate, to also show cutlery, glasses, other dishes and bowls.
(4) What emotions or thoughts does food photography bring you? It makes me feel inadequate. I know photography is not my strong point but my time is very limited. I am a mother, working woman, wife, a person who doesn’t accept help and I want to do everything by myself. So naturally, you can understand how my priorities are sorted out and I try to keep blogging low on that list. Of course, I may be doing it subconsciously because of the low acceptance my blog has had. Imagine, not even my friends have liked my page on Facebook! To come back on-topic though, some photos that I consider to be successes have made me very proud and happy.
(5) Give advice to someone that is just starting food photography. What is something you wish you knew when you first started? A lot of bloggers around the world use cardboard, mdf pieces that they paint in order to create a beautiful , special background and/or surface. I think these are tools all of us food bloggers should have. Also, flash is forbidden, we prefer natural sunlight and take photos near a bright window. Lastly, photos from different angles give a nice result.
The Veggie Sisters, also known as Eleni and Dimitra, created their page in January of 2014 with vegetarian and vegan recipes both in Greek and English. It is a vegetarian and vegan sucessor to their old food blog after Dimitra joined Eleni in becoming a vegetarian (Eleni has been a vegetarian for the last 15 years). Being two people means the work is shared and everything is easier as they divide “chores” (which helps). I like how they don’t even live in the same town yet they manage to sustain a beautiful food blog successfully. As they say in the era of internet; distance is not a problem. For the future of their blog, they want to continue creating delicious food that shows vegetarianism is a wonderful and nutritious choice for their readers. They take photographs using a Nikon d3100.
(1) What would you say, from your experience, are the most important elements of food photography? Good camera, good natural light, good props (plates, towels, cutlery etc). Careful planning of food styling.
(2)What has been the most difficult thing about food photography for you so far? Lighting. I am still trying to figure it out!
(3) Share a trick or a detail that helps make the food look better. The setting of the plate must yell “eat me”! The frames must focus in the food and be full which means that the photo must be appetizing!
(4) What emotions or thoughts does food photography bring you? A lot of joy, eagerness and excitement! Every photo shoot is a creative adventure!
(5) Give advice to someone that is just starting food photography. What is something you wish you knew when you first started? I would tell them to enjoy the journey of food photography and observe the work of successful food bloggers. The more someone is in touch with beautiful pictures , the more their eyes get trained and they improve.
Vicky is the creator of the first Greek Vegan Recipe blog, !Vegan Recipes! (Βίγκαν συνταγές)! As she wrote to us, “I created the blog in 2006, a little after the foundation of veganforum.gr. When I thought about it, I googled the word vegan in Greek and it only got me one result. So I started it to offer a chance for Greek people to get in touch with the previously unknown vegan kitchen, and to see with their own eyes that we don’t only eat lettuce! Timidly, at first, and with a lot of breaks in between; I have managed to accumulate a good number of recipes and I hope to continue. I am very very happy for the fact that there is such a plethora of notable vegan blogs and I believe this has helped very much in spreading the vegan way of life. When people see the vegan kitchen is delicious and approachable they can take the first step towards veganism. This makes it easier to remove animals from the menu and fill it with health and positive energy with confidence.” If all that is not enough, she has also created the blog vegfamily.gr which is dedicated to raising young vegans! She photographs using a Sony Nex 3C.
(1) What would you say, from your experience, are the most important elements of food photography? The lighting is very important. The food must be fresh and the shots must be from various optical angles afar and close up. The setting of the plate must be pretty and all the ingredients must show in the environment of the photo shoot.
(2)What has been the most difficult thing about food photography for you so far? No matter how tasty the food is; if it isn’t pretty, attractive and delicious in the photo then it won’t attract interest. The reader can’t smell or taste the food and the goal of the photo is to transfer the emotion that will urge them to try the recipe. That is the toughest part for me.
(3) Share a trick or a detail that helps make the food look better. The lighting on a cloudy day (since the clouds work as a filter) or in a place where there is not direct sunlight is the best way to take clear and bright photos (if we don’t have the appropriate gear). We never use flash as it alters the result.
(4) What emotions or thoughts does food photography bring you? Always joy and creativity. When I first started, I had a pretty tough time. However, after a while, I found solutions to make the process easier. I keep learning and improving as I go, so I enjoy it more and more.
(5) Give advice to someone that is just starting food photography. What is something you wish you knew when you first started? Get ideas from other food photos for inspiration. Let your imagination be free , don’t be afraid to experiment. Give the photos your touch and style. You don’t need to own a very expensive camera. You can take decent and beautiful photos with a cellphone as long as you take care of the lighting and the setting of the food. Take a lot of photos and choose the best ones. A photo editing program is always necessary to be able to improve the end result of one’s photos. A second opinion always helps us improve and with constant practice you can achieve the result you hope for.
(1) What would you say, from your experience, are the most important elements of food photography? I think the appropriate lighting is very important! I always try to photograph with natural light, either in the morning or early in the afternoon.
(2)What has been the trickiest thing about food photography for you so far? To photograph a soup and make it look delicious! I still haven’t managed unfortunately!
(3) Share a trick or a detail that helps make the food look better. Placing the food we want to photograph is small plates, bowls and glasses!
(4) What emotions or thoughts does food photography bring you? I almost always photograph while cooking with my daughter (and what we make we eat immediately afterwards), so I don’t have a lot of time for the photo shoot. Everything has to happen quickly and I am very anxious about taking the photo! At the same time though, it is a very creative procedure that fills me with happiness when I get the result I wanted!
(5) Give advice to someone that is starting food photography. What is something you wish you knew when you first started? To try different angles and shots. To find the place in the house with the best natural lighting!
This concludes part one of our food photography series. Stay tuned for part two coming soon!