To cook and to photograph food in a very simple way

posted on 1st of july, 2009

A plate should contain colored vegetables and/or meat, deliciously arranged and dressed in sauce.
A plate should open your appetite as much as it will cover your gastronomic senses.

I am not a very traditional cook. I search for interesting recipes in certain books, I watch TV shows, or I "steal" recipes from restaurants by tasting and guessing the ingredients.

But what I love most is to share all those with my friends and to photograph the steps of each new recipe.

If you wish to photograph food and you don't have all the necessary equipment, it's better to think first at the available ambient light. If lucky, choose the natural light coming from 1 source (a window let's say). It will increase the contrast, the luminosity of the colors and it will make the plate more attractive to the eyes.
Be careful to choose the correct white balance from the beginning. I use the custom settings or judging by the light source I choose directly the color temperature (in K degrees).
Make sure to choose the best part of the plate, the better looking I mean. Choose a good angle in order to show the size, the form, the ingredients. You can photograph from above, perpendicular, when you want to show texture, or from above at different degrees when you want to show the forms and details.
If you don't have some natural light available but you have an external flash, bounce the light into the walls of your kitchen or even into the cap of the gas stove (if it's white). Use the interior light of the oven when you wish to create exactly the mood. You will probably need to increase the ISo, but make sure you will keep it at no more than 400. Depending on the camera, increasing the ISO might make noise appear in the image.

When one (or more) cooler source of light is available instead of natural or flash light, my suggestion is to change the white balance. Also to move the plate (if the source of light is fixed and coming from above, perpendicularly) until you find an angle that will provide a game of lights and shadows. That will make the dish present all forms and levels.

Using instruments - a spoon, a fork, a knife - will bring a plus to your composition.
Use herbs. A touch of oregano or parsely will give contrast and elegance to your plate.

And more than anything, use your imagination. You can create while cooking and cook while creating.

Comments (8)

Comment by Anamariaciolacu on July 15, 2011

Util articol ! Si bine te-am gasit si aici. :)

Comment by Mossel on August 24, 2009

Thank you Zaharescu. I appreciate your interest in my lost and your sympathy. I like your medical shots. Good stuff. Best of luck.

Mossel (South Africa)

Comment by Agorafobia on July 04, 2009

Thanks, very very interesting. :-)

Comment by Tanyae on July 02, 2009

Great post, thank you! I also like to photograph food, and if you wouldn't mind I'd suggest to add once more light source - from the opposite side to the main one from window. I like use a sheet of foam plastic just as a reflector. It helps to illuminate slightly black-out unlit parts of object and to soften too sharp shadows. Moreover you can turn the sheet around your object to play with light and shadows highlighting it's different parts.

Comment by Wildmac on July 01, 2009

Thank you for sharing. Everything looks so tasty :0)

Comment by Catarii on July 01, 2009

Thank you for your feed-back. It is nice indeed to share this with friends.

Comment by Asyan on July 01, 2009

I have try this technique, is very simple, ....all my friends are now asking me, when is my next photo shooting, so that they can come and eat :)

Comment by Littledesire on July 01, 2009

Nice blog! Thanks for sharing! I feel a bit hungry now :)))

Comments (8)

This article has been read 2044 times. 5 readers have found this article useful.
Photo credits: , Anna501, Catalina Zaharescu Tiensuu, Christopher Elwell.

About me

What others are writing about me: "Catalina cooks a lot and what's wonderful is that she sometimes brings goodies for us to sample. We love Catalina because too much chocolate is never too much! What a way to go, Chocolate OD. She also takes pictures of what she cooks. Danger: makes you fat and hungry!" What I am writing about me: as a Dreamstime admin, I learned many, many things about photography, food, sport, architecture and so on. Once you enter this world is difficult to leave it. My job here is to take care of reviewing images, videos, check suspect portfolios, keep a... [Read more]

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