Behind The Scenes

April 23rd, 2012

My food photography has come a long way from the early days with my point and shoot camera in the kitchen snapping quick pictures of my dinner.  Now, more often than not, when I am photographing food you will find me in front of those sliding doors behind me with the sun shining in from the left.  But on cloudy rainy days and for night shots I have to get out my silver dome light diffusers and a white core board sheet to bounce back the light.  It has gotten complicated, but I am having fun with it.

Last week I received an invaluable book as a gift from my niece Jennie.  Thank you Jennie.  Helene Dujardin of the much admired blog Tartlette has written a book to help her fellow foodies take better pictures.

I recently upgraded my point and shoot camera to a Canon EOS Rebel T2i with an added 50 mm 1.8 lens.  I have been lax about learning my camera.  I have relied on the automatic settings like “close-up”.  Helene’s book has gotten me excited about taking control of my shots.  Here are some shots taken in low light with the diffuser in the AV (Aperture Priority) mode.

Composition is not good in this picture.  Clarity on the meatballs suffers also.

I like the way the meatballs look in this shot, but the plate is overexposed and again, composition could be better.

I like the composition in this picture.  The leafy maidenhair fern adds a softness to the shot.  I’m still not where I want to be.  Lighting is still my enemy, but I am learning to make friends with it.  And I am having fun doing it.

I am also having fun with blogger’s new designs.  This is a temporary look.  My Son ( in his spare time) is working on switching me over to Word Press and my new blog look will be totally different.

SWEET AND SOUR MEATBALLS (Everyone has a version of this recipe)

1 1/2 pounds ground chuck
1/2 pound ground pork
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 onion chopped
1/2 to 3/4 cup dried breadcrumbs
2 eggs
Salt and pepper to taste
1/2 teaspoon allspice
1 12 ounce bottle chili sauce
6 ounces red currant jelly
Zest and juice of one lemon

Combine meats.  Cook onion in oil until soft.  Add to meat mixture along with breadcrumbs, eggs and seasonings.  Form into 1 inch balls and place on a rimmed baking sheet.  Bake in a 350 degree oven for 20 to 30 minutes.  In the meantime, combine the chili sauce, red currant jelly and zest and juice of one lemon in a large skillet.  Heat and stir to combine.  Remove meatballs from oven and add them to the sauce.  Roll to coat.  Cover skillet and cook until flavors are combined, about 15 minutes.

Printable recipe

11 responses to “Behind The Scenes”

  1. “Lighting is still my enemy” just too funny. A salute to the Daves in our life who eat our beautiful food … but only after we get a photo.

    Remember the days when we served our best looking plates to our spouses. Now of course they are saved for the photo session.

    Your work is paying off, beautiful shots.


  2. I know exactly what you mean. I was lucky in my previous house, there was tons of natural light. In this rental in the mountains the light is not that great. I am trying to spend more time learning the manual part of my camera…

    Great composition!

  3. Kate says:

    Wow! Your photographs great…I love the staging! I too am challenged with breaking away from “auto”!

  4. Big Dude says:

    Wow Penny – you are a serious photographer and it shows in hyour shots.

  5. I know what you mean about lightening. You are doing a great job and look so professional with your lighting light dome.

    We chase the natural light and end up doing most of our shots during the day, mostly around noon. We find that we are also fighting time, as our subject will soon be our dinner in most cases.
    I keep forgetting to say thank you for not having that “prove you are a robot thingy” that is so hard to read.

  6. Lorrie says:

    I took Helene’s book out of the library just this afternoon. What beautiful food shots she does. Your set up looks so professional.

    Isn’t it great to have husbands who will wait for the photograph before eating the food?

  7. Great post, Penny. I’m happy to learn about Tartlette’s new book and to see your set up. I use the end of my dining room table with very mixed results. Would you tell me about the lights you are using. That’s an area where I really need help. I use the same Canon and am very happy with it. This is an ongoing struggle, isn’t it?

  8. Rita says:

    What a fantastic post; now I understand Penny. I have always admired your photos. I still have so much too learn. I can almost taste those meatballs.

  9. marcia smith says:

    I so envy great shots of food!! You are really doing a lot to make your shots great! Don’t think I am quite there yet- I still take shots with my Iphone!!!! LOL- would much rather eat the food than take pix of it!! 🙂 Keep shooting!!

  10. lindaraxa says:

    Bravo! You have inspired me to get cracking on my photography. As you say, lighting is your best/worst friend.

  11. I’m so impressed with the depth of your hobby, and I like how you showed your analysis of each picture. I wish I had the time to compose and think about these pictures that I post, but these days I’m just glad that I have time to take a few snaps before the plate goes to table. I hope you share more tips in the future.

© Penny Klett, Lake Lure Cottage Kitchen. All rights reserved.