So the first thing to food photography is to start out with a latte and a good breakfast! I enjoy this simple egg sandwich usually once a week.
- 2 fresh eggs
- 1 bagel
- handful of baby arugula
- 2-3 campari tomatoes
- goat cheese, plain or with herbs
- salt and pepper to taste
For this recipe you’ll need two round metal cookie cutters.
- Preheat your grill to 370°F. Have both flat grill plates inserted.
- Coat the inside of the cookie cutters with a thin layer of butter.
- Slice tomatoes into large slices.
- Toast bagels to taste.
- Place the cookie cutters on the grill. Crack 1 egg into each cookie cutter. Close the grill and allow the eggs to cook for at least 3 minutes or until the yolks are firm.
- Layer goat cheese, baby arugula, and tomato slices on the bagels. Sprinkle with salt.
- Remove the eggs from the grill. Use a small knife to remove the eggs from the cookie cutters.
- Place the eggs on top of the tomatoes. Add freshly ground pepper to taste. Serve immediately.
Once you’ve got that we’ll get into a few tips on food photography. I’ll answer a few questions that some of the Food Thinkers contributors have asked about improving their photography.
Buying A Camera
The first question that most people ask is, “What kind of camera should I buy?” My usual answer is that cameras are just tools, and you can take great photographs with just about anything.
I’ve been a Canon user for over 15 years now, but Nikon also offers some great products. I would suggest that you start with something from one of those manufacturers; most camera rental stores will carry them, which means you can rent equipment and try it out before you commit to buying something.
The old rule of camera purchasing was to spend as little as possible on the body and save your money for the lenses. That made sense when the film captured the image; the body was just a film holder.
With today’s digital technology, however, you’re better off spending more on the body, since it will provide the only capture (film) that you get. A solid digital body and a decent lens will give you a good start; you can always rent a lens for a special project.
Choosing a Lens
I shoot most of my images with a long lens (100mm or longer). Longer lenses have a much tighter depth of field, which compresses the background and throws it out of focus. While that might sound like a bad thing, it actually makes for a picture that is more focused on the food itself.
If you need to shoot at a greater distance, you can use extension tubes to increase the focal range of your lens. I actually prefer this to a macro lens, since I can use a long zoom like a 70-200 f2.8 and still keep a good working distance from the plate (to help with lighting).
Finding the Perfect Angle
Finding the right angle to photograph from is a matter of creativity. Don’t just look at the food the way you would when you sit down at the table. Try shooting level with the food, or directly overhead.
I’ve stood on my kitchen bar to shoot straight down on plated food. Sometimes the plate, the food, the table, and the drink are gorgeous from above. Or I’ve gotten down at the level of the table and put the food down on the counter to shoot straight at it, letting the food tower up in the frame.
Shoot close up. Shoot from far away. Nothing is right or wrong here, so try it all!