My Favorite Food Blogs: Food Photography Inspiration
This is the second post in a little series about all my favorite food bloggers. The first was about my favorite food blogs, in general, across the board. Basically –who I go to for cooking inspiration, tips, and just a general “like” that I have for them.
This second post is a little different. I’m telling you I read a lot of food blogs, like dozens. Some aren’t as applicable to me and my style of cooking, per se, but I am obsessed with the aesthetic and photography. When I started blogging, my 2 biggest weak spots were photography and baking. Truly those are still my weakest. I’m getting more adventurous with baking and certainly better with photography, but I look for inspiration everywhere.
For instance, I play a game with myself when looking at food photos to figure out where the light source is (lame, right!?). I also like to figure out how to replicate an angle, which colors and textures specifically appeal to me, and which garnishes I like. When I first started, I thought “Okay, I cooked this spaghetti, and it tastes really good. Lemme just snap a quick iPhone pic and post that.” No. Actually –hell, no. It just isn’t that easy!
As an ambitious amateur, I’ve learned that lighting is a lot about what makes food look appealing on camera. And photography is all about translating how something looks to you in your mind successfully to film. It may look amazing to you, but on camera, it looks wonky, dark and shadowy, the garnish went limp, the spoon has a reflection, and all the components just blahh-ed together. That happened to me so many times in the beginning!
Now I’m at a point where I do know how to make food look appetizing. And what I’m working on now is creating my own personal style. A lot of my pictures look similar to me now because I’ve found certain angles and light sources that work for me, and I’m not confident enough to change it up. Plus I don’t have tons of equipment.
I went from using a point and shoot to this: Canon EOS Rebel T6 Digital SLR Camera Kit with EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS II Lens. Before you buy it on Amazon, though, check out Ebay. I got a brand new one for $100 cheaper than the list price. The lens it comes with is pretty nice, but I ended up buying this one too (with the UV filter): Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 STM Auto Focus Lens + 49 UV Filter for Canon T6i, T6s, SL1. It’s really good for food photography and other still life, and it’s actually really good for photos of kids, too! I never knew the price range was so broad, and this lens and filter combo cost me about $120. But lenses range up to the thousands, and I’m just not there yet.
Anyway, I’ve found, like always, that the more I know, the more I realize I don’t know. But if it’s something you love to do, it’s really fun to learn more along the way! I’m about 1 year into my blog going full speed. I technically started it 2 1/2 years ago, but I didn’t really get into it until last summer.
So…here’s my list of my favorite food bloggers, based on photography. I find TONS of inspiration from these guys.
1. Half Baked Harvest (by Teighan Gerard): Teighan’s aesthetic is a little dark with bright contrasts, and all her photos are taken in her barn in Colorado. She pairs earthy ingredients with some crazy over-the-top add-ins, and it makes for some truly beautiful photographs. (Pictured: Marinated Cherry Tomatoes with Burrata and Toast)
2. Sally’s Baking Addiction (by Sally McKenney): Yep, I know I listed Sally on my original list of favorite bloggers! But in addition to having tons of tips for uneasy bakers, she’s also got tons of photography tips and some super gorgeous photos. Some baked goods are easier to make look good than other. Cookies? Easy. Pies and puddings? Not so easy, in my opinion. (Pictured: Salted Caramel Turtle Brownies)
3. Local Milk (by Beth Kirby): Beth’s photography style is dark and earthy. Most of her recipes are not something that’s in my wheelhouse, but the way she photographs her food in her kitchen really can transport you to another time. It feels like walking into the 1930s…but like a really fancy 1930s with really nice pots and pans. (Pictured: Valentine’s Day Cake: All Natural Red Velvet Beet Cake with Goat Cheese Thyme Icing)
4. Cookie and Kate (by Kathryne Taylor): I loooove Cookie and Kate. I’m so not a vegetarian, but I love her commitment to fresh and healthy ingredients, and I especially love her photographic eye. Like Sally, Kate has lots of how-to posts for beginners and people interested in blogging, and I really appreciate that! Her food always is photographed in such a clean, yet colorful way. Her West African Peanut Soup truly is what got me to venture outside my cooking comfort zone with new flavors! Now I make my own twist on her original. (Pictured: West African Peanut Soup)
5. Minimalist Baker (by Dana Shultz): Minimalist Baker focuses on lots of gluten free, vegan, and other special diet recipes. But! There’s also tons of tips and tricks for other bloggers, from everything to photography to building your brand and social media presence. As a newer blogger myself, I look to experienced bloggers for advice, and I really admire the aesthetic and lighting in their photographs. (Pictured: Gluten Free Onion Rings)
6. Cafe Delites (by Karina Carrel): My favorite Cafe Delites pictures are the salads! In my experience, entree salads are one on the most difficult things to photograph. Why? Because you want everything to be super fresh and crisp. I mean, who wants to see an avocado turning or some parsley limping off the the side? The composition of her photos gives me a warm feeling, like this looks so good, but I could totally do this at home. Most people who are making recipes don’t want something too intimidating (myself included!). (Pictured: BLT Balsamic Chicken, Avocado, and Feta Salad)
7. Donal Skehan (by Donal Skehan): Yesss I know! I totally double dipped Donal, but I am obsessed. His creativity is just beyond when it comes to recipe development. But it doesn’t stop there. All his pictures truly evoke this homey, cozy feeling inside me. I think we’ve stumbled on a theme here. Home cooks don’t want a super tweezed and tweaked version of dinner because we would NEVER make that at home! We want something that looks earthy, warm, cozy, inviting — like a Norman Rockwell painting. Something we want to plunk down on the kitchen table and everyone says, “Mmmmm!” Save the fancy restaurant stuff for the restaurant. At home, we want this. I mean, I reallllly want these meatballs, though. (Pictured: The Best Baked Meatballs)
8. The Food Gays (by Adrian Harris and Jeremy Inglett): The Food Gays are a couple of Vancouver-based guys who could honestly make a piece of toast look amazing. They specialize in gorgeous appetizers, like this colorful, summery crostini. Let’s say that if Teighan’s photos evoke a warm and earthy feeling inside me with a long wooden dining table, Adrian and Jeremy’s pictures make me think of a rooftop terrace cocktail party in the summer, and I’m RSVPing “yes.” (Pictured: Honey Lemon Goat Cheese Crostini with Blueberry Salsa)