A friend of mine pointed out to me years ago that one of the most searched for things on the interwebs is recipes. Or, in a broader sense, what to make for dinner. Essentially, everyone is searching for food photography.
Pinterest blasted onto the scene a few years ago and became the go – to for most women, and now men as well. Myself included.
An outstanding meal encompasses so much more than just the taste of the food.
It starts, for me at least, when I first find the recipe, even it’s one I’m using just for inspiration. (I hardly ever follow recipes any longer, rather using them as a spring board into something else.
All of that, starts from the photo.
For years, when I was still relying on recipes, and following them to the letter, they HAD to have photos, or I wouldn’t touch them.
How else are you supposed to know what it looks like? Being able to build it based on solely the words, that comes later.Food Photography & All It Is Meant To Invoke #cookeatexplore #khalifestylephotography… Click To Tweet
Through k.H.a. lifestyle.photography, which for those of you who don’t know, is the portrait and wedding side of my life, I’ve partnered with Tony’s Market, in Denver, to cook and photograph recipes from thier collection for their website.
This project, this partnership, is one of the best moments of my professional life.
For those recipes, I follow them to the t. They are meant to be photographed exactly as they’re written, so those who don’t improvise in the kitchen know what they are aiming for, they know what thier finished product will look like.
After those photos are done, and I know I’ve got my shot, I play a little more, flavor wise.
And oh man, these recipes are turning out. They are phenomenal. The flavors are strong and bold, the combinations unique, and I’m loving it. Getting paid to photograph food, and make it, this is my dream.
But that initial photo, that one that jumps out and grabs your attention long enough to read through it, to read through someones blog (a point which I’ll loop back to in a minute) that’s got to stand out. Grab you by the figurative throat.
If you’ve spent any time on Pinterest, you know that you can wade through a few before you find one that really hits home, and that often does entail at least skimming through the post that someone else has written.
You like the words, the feelings that the post evokes, and in a way, you can see that specific dish, or table scape, in your life. Or rather imagine yourself in it, but I suppose that that is just semantics.
A UNIQUE SPIN ON FOOD PHOTOGRAPHY
This is where my background in kitchens comes in to play.
For me, food photography, like my portrait photography, is meant to evoke a response, and make people feel. This is were I tend to go down to paths at the same time.
I focus on two things. First off, the specific dish I’m making and then photographing. What about the dish do you highlight? How do I make this the most appealing as I possibly can? How can I use the light to really make this pop.
One of the other things I consider is the entire experience of the meal, not just the individual components. The tablescape, where’re you serving? The bar in the kitchen? The back deck? Big potluck at your sister in laws?
Each of those brings a different image to mind doesn’t it?
The whole is greater than the sum of it’s parts, so to speak.
The Slow Food movement espouses all of this. Wikipedia’s definition follows ::
Slow Food is a grassroots organization founded by Carlo Petrini in Italy in 1986. It has since spread worldwide. Promoted as an alternative to fast food, it strives to preserve traditional and regional cuisine and encourages farming of plants, seeds, and livestock characteristic of the local ecosystem. It was the first established part of the broader slow movement. Its goals of sustainable foods and promotion of local small businesses are paralleled by a political agenda directed against globalization of agricultural products.” – Wikipedia, April 11th, 2017
For me, it’s all of that and more.
In addition, it’s taking the time to share a meal with friends and family, to cook together, to enjoy each others company outside of the day to day demands of life, and work, and responsibilities. To put aside cell phones, cameras, and spend time connecting to each other. Something that my mother ensured we did every day growing up, over dinner. We shared our day, ate together, and what we didn’t realize then was that those dinners were formative.
They are a big part of what drives me now, and what has brought me here, and it’s what I want to bring that to others.
But again, it all starts with a photo.