I started this blog a little over a year and a half ago on a whim, I wanted to have a place to catalog my family’s recipes. Since then, this little blog has become so much more than just a recipe catalog.
And along the way, I have practiced (and practiced, and practiced some more) food photography and styling. Because, what good is a great recipe if the photos that go along with it don’t make you want to reach into the picture and gobble up the food that is inside?
To demonstrate the process of styling a dish, here are a few shots of soup from the Food & Light workshop in Boulder.
We had been taking turns sharing and photographing food during the workshop, and I had my eye on this bowl of soup. When I got my turn at the soup, this was how it was set up:
1. Thyme was already placed and sprinkled on top.
2. The bowl was sitting on some crumbled parchment paper.
3. There were two mini spoons nearby, the metal one that you see in the photo and a white one that matched the bowl. I pulled the metal spoon into the shot since I wanted the white in the photo to be the focus of my composition. White draws your eye into the photo and the soup was my focus.
I will also mention that I spent a good 5 minutes wiping dried
goop soup from the rim of the bowl. Even though this was petty, it’s easier to clean off your dishes before photographing, as opposed to removing in Photoshop later. As you can see I only wiped half of the bowl, the rim closer to the bottom of the photo is still messy.
Although I liked the texture of the crumpled parchment paper, I didn’t feel that the photo was quite pulled together enough. I felt that the spoon and the thyme in the background were just floating around the bowl of soup.
So I added a small wooden cutting board underneath the items in my shot. I like this because:
1. The board brought the items in my shot together so that they all looked like they belonged together.
2. Added another interesting texture in addition to the parchment paper.
3. The clean lines and smoothness of the cutting board made this bowl of soup look more formal and at a table or serving setting.
However, I felt that there was too much brown with both the parchment paper and the cutting board being a very similar brown color.
So I added a green fabric in between the parchment paper and the cutting board, thus breaking up the amount of brown but using a color that was already in the shot: green. By using a green fabric, and not bringing in a new color that wasn’t already in the composition, your eye is immediately drawn to the bright orange-ish, yellow soup in the white bowl.
To add another dimension of interest, at Matt‘s recommendation, another sprig of thyme was added to the soup. And I then sprinkled a few more herbs around the cutting board below the spoon.
Then after some post-processing to remove the goop that had formed along the lower rim of the bowl, here is the final photo!
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