Earlier this year, I decided that I wanted to begin to pursue turning my photography into a profession. In January, I created Brian Samuels Photography, my portfolio website, and it has been very exciting to see where that has taken me.
Most recently, I was asked by Babette, creator of BakeSpace.com & TECHmunch founder, to be a part of a panel on “Creating and Distributing Mouthwatering Multimedia Content” for their Boston TECHmunch conference, which is being held today.
Knowing that many of you will not be able to attend this conference, I wanted to provide a guide on some of my thoughts on food photography. I didn’t want this to be an epic post, so I kept things brief. Hopefully you will find a few of these points helpful.
1. Make the food the focus
The key to any good photograph is composition. This can be particularly difficult when using a point and shoot because you are limited in terms of the depth you are able to get. Therefore, keep the shot simple and have the food be the focus. Give it a little action by including a fork by the side of the bowl, or put down a colorful cloth under the plate to give the shot some life. I suggest shooting from in front of the subject as opposed to from above to give it a little depth.
2. Bring some life to the photograph with some action
The finished dish is a beautiful thing, but if you want to entice your audience, you must show some action. For example, with the above photograph I wanted to focus on the massive amounts of cheese and bread that accompanied the French Onion Soup. To do that, I had my husband dig in… pulling out a big spoon of baguette and oozing cheese… and that brings life to the image.
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This may be a bold statement to make, but I think pescatarians have it tougher than vegetarians when it comes to BBQ foods. Now, before you start commenting frantically, calling me out on my ridiculous remarks, just hear me out for a moment.
We all know that summer gatherings consist of two types of foods: those you grill, and the sides that go with them. And I have no complaints when it comes to sides. In fact, the bean, pasta, or potato salads that decorate the table can sometimes pack more flavor than the main dish. But after I’ve had my sixth serving of these, I’m still ogling those juicy chicken thighs (yes, we pescatarians still ogle such things). I need something more substantial; something that’s going to sit with me longer than a half an hour.
For a lot of pescatarians (those are folks who eat sea creatures but, for the most part, stay away from chicken, beef, turkey, duck, lamb, goat… really, anything that walks on land), meat doesn’t disgust us. We just prefer not to eat animals. I primarily do it for health reasons and because I feel so much better after eating a piece of fish than I ever did when I ate a hunk a hamburger. Most pescatarians aren’t terribly picky about their food touching meat products and if a dish happened to contain a few small pieces of bacon in it, well, I certainly wouldn’t be offended (unless I told the waiter that I don’t eat meat… then I’d make a polite stink about it).
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Being a morning person, I take great pleasure in those moments of silence before the world starts to rumble. It is so rare that I’m not moving, not working, not thinking about what I’m doing next, that I find this time to be vital to my well-being. I use this part of the day to write, to read, and, on weekends, before everyone is up and after I’ve taken the pup out for her morning constitutional, to make scones.
To say that I’m a bit scone obsessed is an understatement. The scone base that I’ve created here is the culmination of a lot of testing (it’s tough work, but someone’s gotta do it!) and it’s my pleasure to announce that this is a recipe that does not disappoint. I’ve used it to make everything from chocolate cherry scones to savory scones and now this recipe for peach scones. It has just the right amount of sugar, and the tough outside with the soft, slightly bready inside … it’s exactly what I look for in this kind of pastry.
Unlike making muffins, preparing scones is a very hands on experience. My favorite part of the whole process is when I get to fold and cut the dough into those imperfect triangles and brush them with the last of the milk. It makes me feel like an artist and the table is my canvas. I also (shamelessly) love that you can snack away at the “raw” dough because there’s no egg in this recipe (not that that’s ever stopped me from sticking my finger into cookie or cake batter).
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About a year ago, I came across the blog, I Am A Feeder, and I was immediately hooked. Jackie, the writer and photographer, has a personality that permeates off the screen. Beyond her recipes and writing, however, is her incredible energy. She’s sexy (check out her Nudie Foodie profile), funny, and, as I experienced when I met her a few months ago when she came to visit Boston, one of the most outgoing individuals I have ever met.
When Jackie asked me to write a post for her blog, there was no hesitation whatsoever (anytime darling!). I know she’s been quite busy with… well… life (yes, we bloggers have lives outside of these posts).
So, now I want to direct you all to my guest post at I Am A Feeder, where you will get this recipe for a very easy Bourbon Chocolate Cake. Enjoy!
I don’t do well with extreme temperatures. This may sound weird for someone who has lived in the northeast their whole life. Honestly though, I may be more suited for the climate of California than New England because my body freaks out when it is exposed to weather that is below 32 or above 80. Take, for example, the current temperatures here in Boston: humid, mid-80s. All I want is ice: ice coffee, ice cream… ice cubes.
So, it’s on days like this when nothing feels better than a scoop of lemon ice. As a kid, I remember going to theme parks and we would pick up an ice slushi or Italian ice from a local stand. It was the only thing that could relieve us from the scorching heat.
It was over two years ago when I first saw this granita (an Italian shaved ice dessert) recipe on Smitten Kitchen and I immediately bookmarked it in my brain. The time to pull it out came a few weeks ago when I couldn’t take the heat any longer and all I wanted to do was stick my head in the freezer.
And, as simple as this granita is to make, it also feels both elegant and playful. Serve this at your next barbecue and I am certain that you will have your guests smiling. Plus, it can be boozified with the liquor of your choice (we topped it with gin, but I am sure vodka would be equally delicious) or left kid-friendly.
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I’ve tried a lot of new ingredients since I started this blog a few years ago. When people raved about squash blossoms, I scoured the farmer’s markets until I finally got my hands on some. Fiddleheads became an obsession of mine for the months that they were in season. And now I’ve moved on to garlic scape, which has found a very special place in my foodie heart.
The first time I’d heard about garlic scape was on the blogosphere this time last year but I never made the effort to track some down. Thankfully, with the help of our CSA, I have had a formal introduction.
One way to look at the garlic scape is as a shoot. These shoots grow out of the garlic bulb that we are most familiar with as it develops in the ground. When the garlic is harvested, the shoots, earthy green hued with whimsical curls, can be separated from the bulb and be consumed either raw or cooked. It’s flavor is not as potent as the garlic we are used to, making it wonderfully versatile.
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