Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Food Photography Obsession?

Are you like me and take pictures of every awesome dish you order at a restaurant, or take pictures throughout your cooking process like most foodie bloggers are doing these days? Would you say you have a food photography obsession? Lol well I sometimes feel weird taking pictures of my food in public, but after reading this article I shouldn't feel so ashamed :o)

I came across this article this morning - I get Google alerts on many topics, and one is specifically food photography. It usually sends me pretty generic articles and updates, but every now and then I read a great article or learn some great tips for photography and shooting food items.

Well this morning was one of those articles. The original writer nails the point - Experienced photographers and chefs probably hate most of the photos they see online of food, or watching people in restaurants whip out their smartphone to take a quick pic of their dinner and post it on Facebook...but David Hammond has a great point, taking these quick pics and snapping every step of your cooking process is actually a healthy habit to practice. It means your spending more time with your food, appreciating the process and smells - Where on the other hand, the people that aren't documenting their food are probably the ones who are in line at Chick-Fil-A, eating on their way to the meeting they are late to, and spilling crumbs all in their car. They probably have no idea what the wonderful Polynesian sauce tastes like or what slowing down your eating feels like :o)

Enjoy the article!


Like many of my friends, I take a photo of almost every restaurant meal I eat. I do that because I never know when I might need a picture of something I've eaten for something I'm writing.

Also, maybe I'm a little obsessive.
Those of us who whip out cameras or iPhones to shoot our food are no longer considered eccentrics.
I get the sense, though, that chefs wish amateur photographers would dial down their urge to document every dish.
Jeff Kauck is a professional photographer who has shot the culinary creations of some of Chicago's leading chefs, including Tony Mantuano of Spiaggia, Ryan Poli of Perennial and Alinea's Grant Achatz.
Kauck told me that Achatz, for one, "sometimes worries that his food is being appreciated only visually," and that when guests photograph his food, "they're not really concentrating on the aroma and thoughtfulness that went into it."
But Kauck believes shooting food is a way to spend more time with it and appreciate it more.
"In America, a lot of times we eat while driving in the car. We're rushed," he says. "I think it's wonderful to slow down, sit at a table and capture the food with a photograph. If that increases everyone's appreciation of the food, so much the better."
What can non-professional photographers do to improve the quality of their photos?
"Definitely turn off the flash," Kauck says. "With a flash, you lose the mood of the room.
"And find interesting angles. There's a tendency to bring the camera to eye, because at dinner you're usually in a chair, but there are other angles that are more interesting. A low angle, for instance, is more majestic. Or you can crop halfway through the food and show the ambiance of the room."
Fancier photography requires a more sophisticated camera. I asked Ronnie Kap­lan, the best "amateur" food photographer I know, what kind of camera he'd recommend to a non-professional food enthusiast.
"The Canon EOS 550D is the way to go," Kaplan says. "I've seen them for under $900, and this camera is going to be great for food in low-light situations. It shoots in several modes, which gives you the maximum amount of post-production capability."
Whether or not you have the eye and an expensive camera, remember this: The art of food is transient. If you can capture how that beautiful dish looks at the moment it's set before you, you can continue to appreciate it long after the table has been cleared.
David Hammond is an Oak Park writer, Chicago Public Radio contributor and founder/moderator of culinary chat site Questions,comments, tips? E-mail