About half the reason I wanted to go to IFBC this year was to get some additional (and much needed) photography tips. We were beyond lucky to have Andrew Scrivani spend about 5 hours of his very valuable time giving us a photography lesson.
Andrew is an extremely talented food photographer. He shoots regularly for the New York Times. You can also see his work in numerous cookbooks, magazines, and other papers. He even has a great blog, making SundaySauce.
His website has some incredible dessert photos that just make you want to stuff your face with a giant piece cake or get some melty ice cream right away.
Until I get to that caliber of photos, I’ll just have to be happy with my own pictures and these ones are some of my favorites from the weekend. I got some good practice with my camera, learning techniques of lighting, angles, aperture and food plating.
They showed how to butcher a fish (and how not to) and where different cuts come from. Ceviche is typically about 1/2″ sized using the back and front end of the fish. Tartare uses the remaining meat from the bones. Sashimi is the prime cut, which is the top side or the belly side of the fish.
The above picture used the sashimi cut, beautifully presented in the shape of a rose.
The salmon was served with a side of blackberry “caviar” which looks very eerily similar to beluga caviar. All it takes is a heck of a lot of patience. Because you have to pick each “drooplet” off the blackberries… by hand!
After the food was prepared, Andrew gave a photography demonstration on how best to take pictures of food.
Some of my biggest takeaways:
- Don’t stand between your light source and the subject as this will create shadows in your pictures (this sounds obvious but tends to be a mistake I make frequently)
- Use natural light as often as possible; artificial light will make food look flat and unappetizing
- “About 90% of the time, photos in restaurants look terrible” because the lighting is just not good
- Use salt-glazed pottery and tarnished silverware which will not produce glare or reflections in your photos
One of the best statements was that food photography is more than just the food. It is about “connecting to the memories attached to the food.” So strive to create pictures that evoke memories rather than just hunger.
IFBC was a great way to meet lots of other bloggers. I met a lot of great people. Check out the blogs of some really great people:
Fake Food Free – Lori became my buddy for the weekend, touring cider bars, the hotel bar and local crumpet shops.
Fresh Scratch – Kelli and I had a great time wandering through Anthropologie and getting inspired by their fun knick knacks. I wish she lived closer so we could do some photo prop sharing!
A Bountiful Kitchen – I met Si at our UrbanSpoondinner at Wild Ginger. She writes a great blog with lots of fantastic recipes. I’m especially excited to try her Sweet Potato Salad with beets and a spiced brown sugar vinaigrette that we randomly started talking about over dinner.
Bread and Water – Steph is a food photographer so not surprisingly she takes incredibly beautiful photos
I also made it out of Seattle with a TON of swag. Chocolates, cereals, a cookbook, a whisk – which I desperately needed at home! – and many more delicious treats. I won’t need to purchase any snacks for a long time.
Overall it was a really great experience going to IFBC. I learned a ton, made a lot of foodie friends who were totally ok with waiting 2 minutes before eating so I could snap some photos, and am more energized and inspired for future blog posts.
Thanks to the IFBC team at Foodista and Zephyr Adventures for putting on a great conference and to all the sponsors!