Cooking, gardening and preserving come easily to me. Food photography does not. Rarely does an image just appear, fully formed and lovely. I work very hard at it most of the time. Then there’s the technical side of photography, which I’m always forgetting. What is aperture again? Which one of these numbers is my shutter speed? Is focal length important? Damn it! Why is this picture so dark and blurry?! Sometimes, you just need help.
That help came in the form of a food photography class, led by photographer Amber Prococcini, hosted by Kitchen in the Market in Minneapolis. The class, called “Food Porn,” focused on photography and blogging, assisted by blogger Stephanie Meyer of FreshTart.net and senior food editor Stephanie March of Mpls St Paul Magazine. Food was everywhere, as were cooks, preparing lunch for us to shoot and enjoy. Filled with bloggers, amateur and pro photographers, cooks and foodies, the goal of the class was to utilize natural light, try out new equipment, consider editorial, story, art direction and composition. And to shoot our asses off.
For me the class was a chance to ask questions in the moment and actually learn about my own camera and style of shooting. Stephanie Meyer loaned me her 50mm lens to try out, which was a revelation. Viola! I had instant depth of field. I was also advised to set my Nikon D80 DSLR camera on aperture priority all of the time. No more auto mode. In the process of focusing, twisting knobs and following the light, I discovered a few things about my own point of view. I like motion, a little story and some mess. Pretty food is nice, but for me, without a fingerprint smudge and a trail of crumbs, it’s a bit boring. Anticipation is a big part of eating, so photos for me need to build to that moment when the food it revealed and enjoyed. Please, may I touch that, smell that, devour that? I like to play detective with my photos, leading you on a tantalizing chase. There are no recipes in this post, just images from the class. Thank you so much to my fabulous teachers!