Let’s Dish about Food Photography

I’m certainly no expert food photographer. If you’ve taken a look back at the early posts, from when Forkable was just “Forkable Fia” on Tumblr, I’m sure you’ve figured that much out! I did realize after a brief while that my little green Fuji point-and-shoot was much better for photographing food than, say, my cell phone, and it wasn’t a huge leap to connect sunlight with more appealing photos. While you can see an improvement in my photography between the beginning and end of Forkable Fia, you may have noticed that the improvement is far more vast since Forkable went live — although occasionally I will still snap a photo with my phone if there’s nothing better at hand and my carefully plated dish’s demise-by-devouring is imminent.

The primary reason for the improvement is this: Ian’s camera, photo skills and knowledge of photography and photo editing all far eclipse my own. It’s one of many reasons we complement each other so well, and why this blog — and our relationship — works. We each have bits that fill in where the other lacks. He’s taught me so much already that sometimes I’m honestly not sure, when uploading a photo for a recipe or review, which of us took the shot we finally decided was the best. And it doesn’t really matter — we’re in this together, and as long as the photo highlights the dish we made or the product we tried, that’s all that counts.

I recently submitted what I considered to be our best recent photos to a few food photography sites that I had heard were very selective, but I didn’t realize just how selective they were until they sent my rejection emails: too tight, too dark, too overexposed… even though I was expecting them, they still affected me. For a couple of days, I was intent on scraping up the money to buy a second-hand digital SLR, but now I’ve settled for seeking out a book on food photography, a much more reasonable investment!

One aspect of our photos that has been fairly lackluster are the dishes — not the food, the dinnerware! I have a couple of plates that I brought with me that were purchased by my mother specifically to plate and photograph things I made, but other than that we have mostly just been using some plain, utilitarian blue glass dishes that Ian inherited from a previous relationship. They do the trick, but they’re boring as heck to plate delicious meals on! You may have noticed we’ve started mixing it up — over the course of the last few weeks, we’ve done some thrift store scouring, and come up with a number of really unique-looking plates and bowls, for maybe a $20 investment overall, that are guaranteed to make our delicious treats pop and our photos less stagnant.

It seems silly to be so excited about an eclectic mix of dinnerware from more than a dozen different sets, manufacturers and even eras, but each one is individual — which makes me wonder a little about their former lives. How did they come to be in a thrift store, without any of their mates? Were their sets bought up around them individually by other food bloggers who, like us, wanted some variety in the backdrops for their creations? Were they the sole survivors of tragic slippery-handed post-dish-washing incidents? We’ll never know, but then again, everyone enjoys keeping a little mystery.

~Fia

Fia Marquis

Fia Marquis is a home cook who enjoys gardening, creating recipes, collecting vintage Pyrex, cooking for herself and her husband, and trying to keep up with their toddler and three cats.

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