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Wednesday, August 29, 2012

The Art of Food Photography (And A Great Christmas Gift Idea)

Have you noticed how it's no longer enough just toss a few ingredients together and call it a meal? Now you need to style it and photograph it too. Just in case, you know, you need it for your blog. Or your next book deal.

Or that cookbook of family recipes you been wanting to collate. (Such a great idea. It's just a pity I can't cook very well. A cookbook of dodgy dishes doesn't seem as appetising.)

Even those of us who aren't avid foodies, such as this writer, are still enthralled by food photography. Well I mean, it's fascinating. The vintage plates and bread boards. The old French linens. (Where do they source them all?) The styling. The beautiful lighting. Even the settings are amazing. It's not surprising that bloggers like Katie Quinn Davies (who took the second photo above and the one immediately below and writes from whatkatieate. blogspot. com) and Béatrice Peltre (top image and chocolate dish below:  latartinegourmande. com) have been given book deals.

So many people I know have started up food photography as a hobby that I've lost count of the number of conversations I've had about macro lenses. (I'm still trying to find the best one for good bokeh.)

One friend, a restaurant reviewer in London, even shoots the meals we have together when he's not reviewing. Apparently many London waiters are becoming annoyed about the sight of Canon lenses poking through the napkins. I'm not surprised. It would scare the life out of me too.

If you're fascinated by food photography, like I am, you may like to take a peek at a post Béatrice Peltre did here, on a workshop she held in France recently. It shows the behind-the-scenes shots of food styling. The images are so evocative you can almost smell the ripeness of the fresh produce. And the accompanying pix of the French countryside are beautiful too.

(If the link doesn't work, here's the site here:

So if you're wondering what to give you mother or grandmother for Christmas this year, why not collate a book of their best recipes, all photographed in beautiful, bokeh-enhanced light? Lots of places will print and collate mini booklets – Officeworks, Harvey Norman – and you could give them to the hard-to-buy-for aunts and cousins too.


  1. I think you've read my mind! I've been meaning to do a family cookbook of my grandmother's recipes. Everyone fights over her hand written recipe books (she's now in a nursing home aged 92) so I'm planning to scan in some of the recipes, add some photos of her and some of the dishes. Then give copies to all in the family. I'm not sure my photos will be quite as good as those you've featured though....!

  2. Dear Janelle
    What a super idea! My mother would have loved a book like that! Though I don't know what "bokeh-enhanced light" is?

    Have to confess I've become one of those who photograph spectacular meals at restaurants. Only fell into this habit on our recent holiday when so many dishes were so beautiful that I couldn't resist recording them on my phone. No-one seemed to mind. The only time I actually photographed a waitress was when she was conducting the flambe of my bombe alaska. And it was done with such drama and panache that she didn't seem to mind being captured on camera. Of course my pictures are only for fun and not as gorgeous as the ones you've shown. Best wishes, Pamela

  3. Fantastic foodie photographs and what a great idea it would be to make a book of favourite recipes... On catching up on your previous posts how very pretty are your green and blue photographs and especially of your decorating in your new place... Also how on earth did I miss the post about the garden tour in England next year? Please count me in - Chelsea, yes please and I could perhaps also get us a private tour of a walled garden at Bowood House in Wiltshire if there was enough of us. Hope all well, Sarah x


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