Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Delicious Memories

Real-life food photography at home
By Kristin Zecchinelli Of Shutter Sisters Published in Point Of Focus
Delicious Memories

Food itself is beautiful. I pick up my camera from start to finish of a project. From simple ingredients, to floury mess, to the oven, to golden delicious, to crumbs on my plate, and all the messy goodness in between. For this story, I captured my steps through making a peach pie.


Celebrate all the beauty of your ingredients in their natural state. A quick rinse in a colander or favorite bowl, tomatoes warming on a windowsill, the gradients of color in nature, bags of flour, sticks of butter—stop and notice the colors and textures in this beginning step of creating something delicious. Pay attention to details, like the curve of a leaf or stem, the fuzz on the skin of the peaches or the way dry ingredients look beautiful. Notice the simplicity.


Another fun step is paying attention to details and pulling out little pieces that are important to you—perhaps a recipe box handed down, a handwritten recipe card, your favorite Pyrex® bowl or your grandmom's apron. All of these little details add to your photo story. Fresh linens, patterned fabrics, a well-oiled cast- iron pan, mom's pie plate or dad's bread pan. Or, create your own traditions with new favorite pieces all your own.


Keep your camera at the ready. (And keep a clean towel nearby to wipe your camera and hands from time to time. It's bound to get a little sticky, and it's best to be prepared.) Photograph the steps prepping your meal—washing the peaches, cutting the peaches, rolling the dough and flouring the surface—and picking up my camera in between, I capture the beauty in the process.


Take a moment to capture your creation. For my pie, I stopped to capture it in its prebaked state, a sink full of dirty dishes as proof of my effort. This might make a food stylist cringe, but here's where we diverge: I'm celebrating the "real" in my food photography. I like the intimate peeks of home and those dirty dishes that anchor my shot.

Then, of course, is the crowning achievement: my baked, golden-brown pie. Take that moment to celebrate your creation, perhaps sitting it in some great light on your kitchen table. Again, seek details—steam rising, the imperfect textures of a flaky golden crust and the details of the table or linens.


Slice a piece and dig in! All your hard work has now paid off, so don't forget to document the sweetness in the pie. Perhaps an image with your own hand on the fork and a glass of milk. Again, I like the real life sort of shot where there's a bite—or two, or six—out of the final product.


1) Pay attention to detail. Slow down. Savor the process from start to finish.

2) Seek out great natural light in your kitchen or cooking space.

3) Choose linens, utensils and cookware, paying attention to their colors and textures.

4) Don't be afraid to get messy and document the messy! Cooking is a full-contact sport and you're going to get your hands dirty.

5) Focus on the "real"—floury, messy, dirty dishes all included.

6) Hands are also encouraged. Capturing your own hands, and the hands of those helping, can be a beautiful detail to record.

7) Tell a story. By capturing from start to finish, you tell the story naturally.

8) Eat and enjoy! Don't forget to document that first yummy bite or smiling faces around your table.

KRISTIN ZECCHINELLI is a mother, a wife and an artist living on the coast of Maine. You can find her writing for SHUTTER SISTERS and Paper Coterie or musing about her everyday on her personal blog, Maine Momma. Kristin is co-founder of NOW YOU Workshops. See more of her work at shuttersisters.squarespace.com.

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