Anyone who has seen my iStockPhoto portfolio knows I like to take photos of food. I’ve always loved looking at the tempting photos of food in cookbooks, so when I started shooting stock, food was a natural area of interest for me. Now, I don’t want to mislead anyone – I am not a fantastic cook, I just like looking at food, trying new food, and basically dreaming of being a good cook. I guess I’m more of a wannabe Foodie!
There are a few things I am generally successful with preparing… I do alright with most anything that has lots of garlic in, and I can bake select things with a fair amount of certainty. Besides cookies, which are my favorite, a recipe for banana bread that my neighbor gave me is probably my second favorite thing to bake. This banana bread was my most recent model for a stock shoot:
Since I still consider myself a student of photography, not nearly qualified to “teach” anything on this blog, I was thinking “How can I add something of value? I don’t want to just use this blog to pimp my iStock portfolio…” So, I decided that the least I can do is share a recipe occasionally when I am featuring a series of food shots from iStock. I’m not planning to turn this into a cooking blog, I just thought a recipe or two now and then wouldn’t hurt. So, here’s the one for the Banana Bread above:
1/4 cup Sugar
3/4 cup Oatmeal
1 Tbsp Butter
1 cup All-purpose flour
1/4 cup Applesauce
1 1/4 teaspoon Baking Powder
2 Tbsp milk
1/2 teaspoon Baking soda
Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and mix well. Pour batter into a greased 9-x-5-x3 inch loaf pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 35-45 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pan 10 minutes; remove from pan, and let cool on wire rack.
The original recipe called for 3/4 cup of sugar, but with ripe bananas, I think it is sweet enough with only 1/4 cup, and I’ve even made it with no added sugar.
Now, back to the photography…
You may have noticed that I called the Banana Bread my “model” for a recent stock shoot. I think of it as a model… it is very still, unlike the usual Homo sapien model, but it does get weary over time, just like they do. Food dries out, looses it’s color, and some things just go flat like whipped cream – which is worse than my hair on a humid Maryland summer day! Food, like humans, also needs good light with highlights and shadows to define its’ shape and texture. I tend to like to use natural light, since it is easy to see where the shadows fall and to add highlights with small mirrors. What I do know about food photography I have learned by studying Williams Sonoma cookbooks and Everyday Food magazine, along with reading this book by Lou Manna:
Another great source for anyone interested in learning more about food photography is the course by Joe Glyda over at Kelby Training. You can even watch the first three lessons of the course for free. Kelby Training is a fantastic resource!
Looking over at Amazon there are several new books out on food styling and photography I’ll have to check out. Also, I believe Lou Manna is coming out with a second book “More Digital Food Photography” soon. I’ll try to do a proper book review next time!
That’s all for now… better get back to work!