Hello, Ferns’n’Cakes, it’s been a while, I missed you so much 🙂 As I mentioned in my previous post, I was involved in a cookbook project and my goal was not only photography and food styling but also cooking all the recipes. I cooked 2-3-4 and sometimes even 5 recipes every day and I have to say that this experience was absolutely awesome. Of course it was a challenge and I feel like I’ve spend 37 days in the kitchen, but I also had a lot of fun and learned huge amount of new things about food and cooking. I decided to summarize this experience and write a short guide for those who want to make photos for cooking book.
So here they are 5 food photography tips for your cookbook based on my own fresh experience.
Planning is a must
I can’t say that I’m a person who has plans and schedules for every step, but when you need to shoot over 80 dishes in just a bit more than a month you really need to write the plan or you will die in a mess.
What I planned
– shopping. I had a schedule of dishes I was going to cook in 5-7 days and I made 1 big grocery shopping during this time. I counted how many eggs, milk, butter, meat, etc I would need and also grouped all products by departments in the grocery store (it was very useful and saved a lot of time as I didn’t need to run from let’s say milk products to vegetables for a few times). Don’t forget to buy some extra of all “key” ingredients. I had a few difficult puff pastry recipes and I didn’t manage to cook them right from the first try. I had extra packages of dough so I was safe.
– shooting. You can group recipes in order which are more convenient to you. For example I always made 2 recipes with puff pastry in a row because 1 package of dough was perfectly enough for exactly 2 dishes. Also, some dishes can be cooked in the evening or night, then be decorated and photographed in the day light.
– decoration. The book I shoot included holiday dishes recipes from all 4 seasons so I had to plan in advance from which friends I would take Halloween decoration and who would let me use Easter stuff. Think in advance if you don’t have enough different plates and backgrounds
– eating. Really 🙂 In some cases you can make an event from cooking and invite your friends for dinner or supper. I had a recipe of roasted duck and grilled meat and of course it was cooked for a company of my friends. So look through your recipes, choose dishes that are worthy to cook for a company and ask you friends to join you.
Don’t be afraid to cook using half measures of ingredients from recipes
Let me explain. If you bake cookies and it’s written in the recipe that you will need 600g of flour, ask yourself, how many cookies will you get and how many of them you will need for pictures. For some recipes “rule of the half” works very good, for others it doesn’t because you just can’t roast half of the duck when the recipe is called “whole roasted duck”. However, don’t forget that you can save your time and money by not cooking full portions.
You don’t need to use all ingredients
One of my goals in this project was to make an editorial check of all the recipes so I used absolutely everything that was written in the original recipe but sometimes you don’t need to do that. If recipe includes vanilla extract and you don’t have it right now, just forget about it, it’s not visible on the picture of the cake if it smells with vanilla or not.
Photoshop can fix a lot of faults but I prefer to spend a little bit more time in the kitchen and to make dishes look perfectly without being retouched for hours.
Take a rest
It was my biggest fault. I over-planned and then I was frustrated that what I had done was not good enough. You can work hard but don’t forget that photography is a creative job that needs special mood. If you are tired, frustrated or exhausted your photos may not be so successful.
and one more small notice.
May be it’s just my own bad habit, but anyway: don’t forget to eat and to drink during cooking and shooting. I am always very concentrated on the process and usually I don’t notice that I had last glass of water hours ago. Don’t be like me, eat and drink.
I’m so excited about the result of this project but I don’t need to wait for a long. The book will be published at the beginning of November.
So Ferns’n’Cakes are back on track. I can’t wait to post my own new recipes here again:)
And by the way, are we friends on Instagram? Find me there @my.ko.la