Food Buzz

Because maybe you do care what I had for lunch...

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Food photography 101

Tonight we went to an opening at Lane's gallery so there was no time to cook. Instead we had pita bread with hummus, olives, and tomatoes. It was a lackluster meal of monotonous flavor and texture. I should have at least added cucumber and plain yogurt.

While at the opening I was telling an art critic about my blog ("Cooking? I haven't cooked since, like, the 80's!") and he gave me some advice. "You know what's the biggest mistake food photographers make? I'll tell you. They photograph only the plate of food. You do that, don't you?" I nodded. "See, that's boring. You've gotta take in the table, make it more interesting. You've gotta jazz it up a bit."

I came away thinking "photograph the table, photograph the table," in much the same way that the crook in "What's Up Doc" mutters "your charm, use your charm." At the advice of his partner he's supposed to charm a millionairess so he can steal her suitcase of jewels, but instead he ends up just tripping her. Over and over again.

Anyway, I went home to put the photography advice to use. Here are two attempts:

Lane wanted to get in on the game, so here are two of his pictures.

Ok, so I still haven't quite gotten it yet. But stick with me and three years from now my food photography is going to look a lot better.


Anonymous said...

Huh. And here I was thinking that your food-only photos were pretty darn spectacular. They seem really well-lit, and you can really see the food (which you can't, really, in some of the "show the table" photos).

Do you make your own pitas and hummus? Making your own pitas takes an hour from start to finish if you have a cuisinart and a baking stone, and they are shockingly good. For hummus, I'm a big fan of Bob's Red Mill garbanzo bean flour. The recipe for hummus on the package is killer. Apparently there isn't a store in Brooklyn that carries Bob's Red Mill products (maybe this is something you could bring up with the coop board!), but you can mail order from Or you can stock up when you come visit. :)

Margo, darling said...

I'm with Janeanne--I like your food pictures. And I LOVE your new subheading, picture, and profile. Happy New Year!

shaunamama said...

This is one of those posts that made me chuckle. Jasper cracks me up! I love the one eye peering over the table in the last one. He's just a doll. By the way, I love the food photos, too. I think they look great. Lane's pics were awesome too.

Swizzies said...

JA and that curs-ed Bob's Red Mill garbanzo bean flour! She raved about it to me a couple of years back and I searched high and low for the stuff, thinking that nothing's better than good hummus. Now I crave hummus a lot and I have even less to work with. There are many Turks here, so there is not a shortage of hummus per se - it's just not the kind I was thinking of. It's very bland. And they always serve it too close to the baba ghanoush, which stuff I hate. And what's up with taramasalata?? YUKKY. I only likes me some hummous w/ my olives, tomatoes, cucumbers pitas and yogurt - not those other dip-y substances. I'm a purist, sue me. I did buy dried chickpeas and tried to work with those, but that still needs some work. Especially since I don't have a food processor.