First and foremost Bupa organised an awesome food styling and video masterclass for the Bupa Blog Award finalists this year, so this post is sponsored and it probably won’t interest you if you’re looking for a recipe. But if you’re a blogger or you’re interested in taking photos of food, this will be something you’ll love! Jamie Humby who is an amazing wealth of information showed us how he styles food and all the while it was being videoed, so it was an awesome way to experience a live style-and-shoot with commentary and useful hints and tips all the way through.
I learnt so much at the workshop but my three major lightbulb moments were these:
- Food looks good when it’s styled messily. It’s hard for me to do this, but I got out of my comfort zone and styled something messily at the event…and yes, it looked so much more interesting.
- You can flip a video (180 degrees so it looks like it was shot from where you are working, instead of the other side of the bench!), so it looks like a buzzfeed video. I know, you’re probably all eye rolling at this, but it really was a lightbulb moment for me as my videos never reach the buzzfeed standard.
- The key to making your food look amazing is the accessories that you use, collect awesome plates, schnazzy napkins and funky spoons.
We did a masterchef style mystery box challenge and we came up with some yummy fritters which were not only tasty, but also healthy and perfect as a lunchbox item or as a brunch. I’ll be blogging them sometime over the coming weeks.
At the event I was talking with other bloggers as we learnt a lot about how your shooting surface influences your photos. So I want to share with you my hot (cheap) tips for food photos. You might think I have some awesome studio that I take food photos in, but that studio is actually my kitchen table. And until recently, my kitchen table was glass, something that really doesn’t work when you have two kids, a messy floor and need to take food photos.
So we bought some timber look flooring laminate from Bunning, clipped it together, cut it to size and it now covers my table top. That means, that in the morning I can take lunchbox photos without too much fuss, just pop the lunch on the table and we are good to go! This has made my mornings so much easier and has also meant my photos have a consistent look to them (the lunches). It was also super cheap $24.98 bought me enough laminate to do two table tops! It also looks pretty cool as a table top. Here it is:
Other backgrounds? Want other colours? Masters do free wall paper samples, they will cut off a strip for you. They are great for small photos as there is a limit to the length they will do…but that also depends on who helps you with it! I’ve also bought a long piece of wood panelling and had it cut into 4 1.2m lengths, that I’ve then glued together. I’ve stained one dark brown, I have a bright blue, a natural timber and a grey one. You can see one in action here:
You can also buy really cheap fabric photography backdrops on ebay. They are shipped rolled from Hong Kong and come in various designs. One I bought is in this picture:
Wrapping paper looks gorgeous, is easily replaced and is cheap! I used the wrapping paper that my wholefoods order from affordable wholefoods came with for this photo… my first ever one on foodgawker.
Lights. They are expensive and the best ones for food photos are no longer available in Oz without selling your first born, a kidney and your soul. So I bought these LED panels, they are cheap, but you also need an adapter. They work really well. I didn’t bother with stands, because they were an extra expense. Instead I use a hendricks gin tin and the box from our airport express to hold them up.
And here is my setup for taking that photo.
Those white things? They are foam core board, cut through the top layer of paper only and you can fold them however you want. Which makes them the perfect reflectors.
Plates…are really important to the photos you take. But, I find that matte ones are the easiest to use, because they don’t reflect me, the camera, the reflectors and everything else in the room. My best ones have come from: ikea, kmart and big w which goes to show you don’t need expensive plates. Brown food looks great on pink or purple, teal looks good with everything and a pop of bright blue does wonders for an otherwise boring photo.
I’m certainly no expert, but these are things I’ve learnt that have helped me to improve the photos on my blog. And here’s a before and after so you can see what I mean:
I hope that these hints and tips help you to take better food photos!