From one beginner to another…??
While making Zucchini Muffins I decided to work on my food photography skills. Here are a few tips and tricks I tried.
The photos show way more eggs and fruit than I would need to make this recipe. I added more food for visual appeal; to capture repeating patterns and play with shadows.
- Take way too many pictures
The pictures that appear on my blog are a small fraction of the number I took. I actually took over 350 pictures that day! I mostly took pictures of the same things but from different angles and under different lighting.
- Play with camera settings
Throughout the day I tried different settings (close-up, landscape, portrait, etc.) and therefore got better shots depending on the situation. It is hard to really tell if the photo is what you like until it is loaded onto the computer. Therefore it is better to experiment with different settings and delete unwanted pictures later.
- Play with lighting
Half of the pictures I took inside my kitchen. There I played with the blinds; letting in different amounts of light depending on the details in the food I was trying to capture. I also set up another table outside! There I had complete natural light. Most of the food photos from my blog are taken outside.
- DO NOT USE A FLASH
You will lose the details in the food! I would have lost the texture of the blueberries and the grains in the zucchini. Go back to point 4 for lighting ideas.
- Give yourself lots of time
It took me over 3 hours to make muffins! I wanted to capture each part of the process and then decide later if I was going to use the shot or not. As I mentioned earlier, I took some photos inside, but the best ones were taken outside. It took a lot of time to bring out certain foods, snap the photos, and then bring them back in the house. However, in the end I was glad I had the outdoor set-up.
I started taking photographs of food last summer. My guide and inspiration was this blog post from Averie Cooks: http://www.averiecooks.com/2011/08/food-light-photography-tips-from-diane-cu.html
For Zucchini Muffin recipe click here— don’t worry, it will not take 3 hours to make!
I got this recipe a few years ago from my friend Amanda. She had offered me some zucchini loaf at her place. After I tried some I knew I just had to have the recipe! I have made some changes to turn the loaf into muffins for easy lunches and sharing! So far this summer I have made at least 6 dozen muffins from all the zucchini in my garden–and I will probably make 6 dozen more. They freeze fairly well. Many friends and relatives have been asking for the recipe, so here it is:
3/4 cup tapioca flour
3/4 cup white rice flour
3/4 cup brown rice flour (original recipe calls for sorghum flour, but I can never find this type of flour in the store!)
1/4 cup cornstarch (original recipe calls for 3/4 cup arrowroot powder)
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tbsp. xantham gum
1 tbsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tbsp. cinnamon
Fresh fruit: blueberries and raspberries
- Preheat to 350°F
- Mix wet ingredients together: beat the eggs, and then add in the sugar, oil, applesauce, and vanilla. Once well blended together add zucchini.
- In a separate bowl mix the rest of the dry ingredients together, and gradually add to the wet while stirring. Keep stirring until all the flour is incorporated and you have a smooth texture.
- Prepare muffin tin with muffin papers. I tend not to grease the tin for this recipe. If you would like to I suggest using coconut oil.
- Place a couple of blueberries at the bottom of each muffin paper.
- Fill muffin papers as desired but it is important to note that they will rise a lot in the oven! To make 24 muffins I fill each muffin paper halfway with batter.
- Place a few more blueberries on top of each muffin as well as one raspberry
- Bake for 30 minutes. Use the “sticky knife” test to check if they are done.
- Allow to cool and enjoy!
I have been doing some research on how to make pins more favourable on Pinterest. One recommendation is to make them long to get more repins. I was stumped on how to do this– besides taking a picture vertically! One blog suggested Pic Monkey. It is a free site where you can upload and edit your photographs. I have only just started playing with it, but here is what I have found so far.
I believe Pic Collage offers many of the same features as the above pin. The main thing I wanted to do was create long pins. I was not able to achieve this is Pic Collage (although I am not an expert); but had success in Pic Monkey.
I also had some fun with the text/font features and filters.
Raising money for charity. Check out our events page to see what we’re doing!
This weekend I spent a lot of time in the kitchen. Thought I would make the most of it by keeping my camera handy! Lately I have been reading a lot of food blogs about photography; hoping to step up my game. I am happy to say I am proud of my work so far this weekend! So far… because I am hoping I will have time to do more!
When I woke up this morning I knew the lighting was right in my kitchen (natural from the windows)– I’ve always had a sense about lighting and photographs. What stumped me in the past was how to take full advantage of this lighting when inside a building. I had found that sometimes the way the food lays on the counter is not the most favourable location. After reading some food blogs I have learned that it is okay to move the food! I was given ideas such as take the food to another room, put it directly in front of the window, etc. This is exactly what I did for some shots.
Thinking ahead, I was also trying to take shots that would lead to nice looking pins. (More about playing with pins in a future post). I took some photos that I wouldn’t usually take. For example, I took a shot of the recipe book I was using.
I look forward to sharing more about my food prep this weekend; hope you enjoy reading!
As always, my ultimate goal is to raise money for charity. Please see my events page to see which charity we’re raising money for this month.