Food photography is everywhere--on trucks and billboards, in magazines, blogs and Facebook posts. I personally love looking at photos of food. In fact, I can't buy a cookbook that doesn't include images with the recipes. And I can't tell you the number of magazines I have purchased because of the decadent chocolate cake or cheesy casserole on the front cover. On the contrary, I have also seen some really bad, almost lost my appetite level of food photography. Do you remember the series of dinner photos Martha Stewart tweeted using her phone camera? Her followers reacted with comments like, "That looks like spit and diarrhea" and "Better than prison food?", or my personal favourite, "Looks like a present from my dog". Poor Martha.
Great food photography is truly a combination of art and science. In addition to proper lighting and correct choice of lens, there are little tricks, creative applications, and props that are used to make food look fresh, plump and ready to eat. Stylists or photographers often spray glycerin on fruit or vegetables to add beads of moisture or insert make-up sponges between the layers of a hamburger to make it stand tall and proud. Meat is generally under cooked and painted with Kitchen Bouquet Browning Sauce and branded with skewers to give it a "hot off the grill" look. Some trickery perhaps, but necessary when working with perishables and competing with the ultimate adversary--time!
A few weeks ago I had the opportunity to work with Chelsea Robinson, owner and primary chef at Lamplight Diner in downtown Ayr, Ontario. Chelsea started her business in 2016 after graduating from the culinary program at Conestoga College. Chelsea needed photos for advertising that would highlight her signature home-cooked style meals and baking. It was very difficult handling the food without having the urge to take a bite! I've provided a few of the photos from the day. I will be adding more photos in the coming weeks, so please visit again!