It took me a while to fall in love with quinoa. It was a recipe I prepared a few years ago from a cookbook that taught me the proper way to season it and, since then, I’ve been hooked. The trick, I’ve learned, is to make a dressing that is incorporated into the cooked quinoa. If you just drizzle it with oil and citrus and a sprinkle of salt, it won’t distribute the flavor and, instead, you’ll be left with sections that are intensely seasoned and others that are lacking it.
This salad is definitely not lacking flavor. I found myself building off each element. I started with the dressing, which is primarily a mixture of fresh herbs (mint, basil and parsley) and lime juice. There’s a bit of minced ginger in there, adding even more brightness to the dish. The berries and feta were the last to go in. At first I thought, “Berries and quinoa. Is that weird?” I threw some of the quinoa mixture into a separate bowl, topped it with some blueberries and raspberries and feta. First bite. I knew. We had a winner. Even my father, who gave it a quizzical look when I passed the bowl to him, ate his serving. Always a sign that a recipe is a success.
I used to take my camera all over the place, lugging a DSLR and a 50mm to every restaurant. I’d try to remain inconspicuous as I grabbed shots of the dining room and each plate that was brought to the table. I’m sure I wasn’t as subtle as I thought I was being.
Things have changed a lot over these last three years. Smart phones have effected my experience as a photographer. It’s allowed me to not only develop my photographic style, but it’s given me the chance to hone my skills. Since my last post on smart phone photography, the quality of the cameras has gotten exceedingly better. I never thought I’d get to the point where I’d look at a picture on my computer and think, “Did I take that on my phone or my camera?” Everything is crisp and clean, with very little grain. It’s a very exciting time in the world of photography and, today, I want to go over a few points about what I think about when I’m making photographs with my iPhone. In the below examples, you may see a slight difference in the quality. The majority were taken with an iPhone 6+ but others are older and were photographed using an iPhone 5s.
You can view my earlier post here: PART 1
1. Tell a story
There’s always a story to be told. What that story is and how it’s told is up to the photographer. I spend a lot of time thinking about what it is I want to say in a picture. Rarely is it a closeup of a finished dish. I like to pull back and reveal something else in the scene or show action. Food is so much more than a pretty plate. It’s about how it’s prepared, who is preparing it, how it’s being served, where it’s being served, how it’s consumed (You get the point). Sometimes that’s much more compelling than a beauty shot.
I think showing where you’re dining – the vibe of the restaurant, the movement of the dining room, the decor – is just as visually interesting as the food. Look around and you’ll find a lot to capture, from the table setting to the excitement of the open kitchen to the sign hanging outside the front door.
It’s not uncommon for me to return from the market, unload the bags, and get to work setting up scenes of chopped up fruit and vegetables, dressed fish, or plates of cheese and sliced bread. Unadulterated (uncooked) ingredients are a joy to play with because there are endless ways to capture them. A container of kumquats pop on a dark, rustic surface, while some bunches of fresh herbs pairs perfectly when placed atop a sheet of parchment. It gets the creative juices flowing when you start with these images that, a way to warm you up before you get to the final dish.