Photo Lessons & Good Food

by HEAB on March 11, 2011

To my readers affected by the recent earthquake in Japan – I am thinking about all of you. I have a cousin that is stationed there with his wife and 3 children. Please keep them in your prayers as we haven’t heard from them yet.

I wanted to share some photos with you from a food photography workshop I attended last night at one of my favorite coffee shops in Nashville. I usually go for the lattes, but Fido also serves amazing food as evidenced by our meal last night.

My camera is a Canon point and shoot. I asked Santa for a Canon DSLR, but apparently he forgot and left it on his sleigh Christmas Eve. My birthday came and no camera. Had my hopes up for Valentine’s Day…hmm, hey Easter Bunny, a camera would make a great addition to my Easter basket, and if not, my fingers are crossed that Summer is feeling extra generous on Mother’s Day come May. 😉 Anyway, you don’t need a super fancy camera to take decent photos (CD, please ignore).

I am in no way an expert, but I am trying to learn more about photography. Changing the settings on your camera and working with your lighting can make a huge difference…

The first photo I took with my usual indoor auto setting. So dark…


Butternut squash and apple soup topped with dried apple and roasted squash seeds.

Look at the difference in the next photos. The first was taken on auto with no flash, and the 2nd was taken using a daylight lightbulb and a screen. To get the same effect, you can easily make your own light box.



Empanadita with chorizo, white cheddar, potato, curtido, and chipotle. What is curdito? I have no idea, but it was yummy.

Playing around with the lighting and my camera settings…

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These photos were taken at my seat with nothing but the dim restaurant lighting and no flash. Read your camera’s manual and if your photos are too dark, learn how to slow down your shutter speed, increase your ISO, and open your aperture (make it a smaller number). All of this was foreign to me until last night. I’m more of a hands on person, and it really helped to have a professional photographer explain all of this to me in person.

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Handmade pizza with goat cheese, mozzarella, feta, Parmesan, local spinach, and fig mayo. DELICIOUS!

Photo of pizza using the daylight bulb and screen…


If your photos come out looking brown, use the Tungsten light setting, and if they look too blue, then use the sun, flash, or daylight setting.

Dessert, AKA torture since I gave up sugar for Lent…

Auto with no flash:


After adjusting my camera settings (still no flash)…


Using daylight bulb and screen…


Carrot cake with spiced cream cheese frosting, coconut carrot cream, and topped with fried carrots.

I asked for a to-go container and brought the carrot cake home to CD. See, the following horrible photo proves it… 😉


While Chris enjoyed the carrot cake, I made a sugar-dessert of my own and played around with the daylight bulb I purchased at Home Depot…

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Plain oat bran in the waning tahini jar with unsweetened chocolate.

I’m loving learning more about photography, but I still have a long ways to go. Here are some basic tips other bloggers have taught me over the past couple of years:

1) Always try and take your photos outside if you can. If you can’t adjust the settings on your camera, then natural daylight will make a huge difference.

2) Attempt to make your food look nice. For instance, if you make oatmeal and then stir in a a bunch of ingredients, pour it in another bowl before taking the photo. No one wants to see the sides of your bowl slopped with nut butter and flax seeds.

3) Look at your surroundings. If you’re trying to capture your plate, then don’t have a lot of clutter around. Get a close-up of the plate, perhaps on a nice placemat.

For some inspiring food photos, please check out these amazing bloggers: The Edible Perspective, Simply Recipes, and Kiss My Broccoli.

What are some of your favorite photography tips?