Photo Tips

 

It’s Jo from @healthyeating_jo again! I hope you all enjoyed last week’s blog. This week I wanted to share some of my photography tips with you, and some thoughts on getting the ‘perfect’ shot.

 

From when I started my Instagram page, my photos have definitely changed – and hopefully improved – over time! Like anything you are passionate about, it takes time and effort, and a bit of test and learn to get the result you are after.



 Jo's photography style has changed over time


The majority of my photos continue to be taken on my iPhone. Many are just a 30 second shot before work, prior to the contents being emptied into a Tupperware container to take to work. I’m certainly no professional, and everything I do is self-taught. As my passion for food began to evolve, my tastes changed, and my interest in photography grew with it. I started adding in a few props from around the house to make my pictures more inviting and colourful. I tested out different angles, I positioned my food in different places, lighting and locations. I picked up some free tiles from my local tile shop that they were throwing out, to use as backdrops. I got my husband to buy me a $15 hallogen light from Bunnings so I could take some photos at night after work, and fashioned my own lightbox out of stuff from the garage, and some flip chart paper. I have this set up at home behind a lounge, and in front of a big window, so that I can get natural light flooding in, whenever I’m home when it’s light! Natural light is definitely my best tip when it comes to food photography, and no flash!


 Tip #1 – Take your photos in natural light


Find a spot next to a window; or head outside and use your deck, garden, balcony or front step. You’ll find photos look different at different times of day and year, so test it out and find what works for you. Bright midday sun is usually not good. Never use your flash for food photography!


 

Natural Light!


Tip #2 – Complementary Colours, textures and backdrops


The perfect shot for me, comes mainly from finding complimentary colours to the food you have made. It also means trying not to cook food that is all one colour! And I love the saying ‘Eat the Rainbow’. It’s certainly something I try to follow.  I think about what colour plate or bowl my food should go in. The next part is the toppings, my favourite part. To see a recipe transform from a plain blank canvas to the final product, is so exciting for me. Again it comes down to finding colours that complement the main dish, but add variety and texture to the eye. So a mix of fruit and seeds for example. For pancakes, I show the sauce oozing down the stack. I like the idea of people being able to really visualize what it tastes like - is it gooey, or crumbly, or soft and spongey? The odd crumb of food also helps show texture. Then I think about what background will contrast nicely with what I’m displaying - do I need something light, or something dark? I set up the dish, and then I add any props. It could be a fork, or a cloth napkin, a flower, or a dish of some of my toppings. Again it’s just about making a visual scene to compliment and capture your amazing dish.

 

 

Complimentary colours and textures


Tip #3 – Get the angle right


As you practice taking your photos, you’ll see that food can look very different from different angles. So I think about how to plate up my food based on what angle the photo will likely to be taken from. Smoothie bowls, usually from above, pancakes usually from eye-level etc. Change up your views; angles; close-ups; far away; half the plate cut off etc to make it more interesting, and show off the texture of your dish. This is the part where you’ll usually see me down on my hands and knees at eye level getting a close-up! Or you may have seen foodies standing on chairs to get the perfect angle. The behind the scenes shots are always quite amusing, and my husband is used to me embarrassing him in public to get the right angle.

 

On the weekends, when I have more time, I use my standard, point and shoot Canon camera, with the lense that came with the camera. I don’t think that ‘creative’ has to be expensive, and for the average person who doesn’t do this as their day job (like me), you can certainly take good photos with what you have.

 

Experiment with different angles

 

Tip #4 – Do it for Yourself!

 

My most important tip is – do it for yourself. Food photography is something you will develop if you are passionate about it. But remember it’s ultimately all about being yourself and letting your own creativity shine. It needs to look good to you! Photos for me can range in time from 30 seconds to 10 minutes (for professionals – a lot longer!), and how much time and effort you put in is totally up to you. It should never be a chore. With practice you’ll soon get your routine and style down to a fine art. And with a busy life, no one’s got time to waste taking lengthy photos, when they could be eating!

 

At the end of the day, I do this for fun. I want to role model good eating for my family, so that my own daughter doesn’t go through the same issues as me. It keeps me accountable for eating healthy, it gives me a creative outlet, and if by posting pretty photos, and helping one person to give healthy eating a try, then it’s a personal achievement for me.

 

I just never realized healthy food could be so delicious, and I’d love for more people to know that, and be able to turn a ‘diet’ into a permanent healthy lifestyle change. I hope you enjoy my recipes...


 


Maqui Mango Vegan Cheesecakes

(Makes 6 muffin size)

 

Base

1/2 cup almonds
1/4 cup dried dates chopped (soaked for 20mins in boiling water & drained)

Blend almonds until crumbly in a food processor. Add drained dates and blend again. 
Press into the base of a silicon muffin tray with your fingers. 
Place in the freezer while you make the filling

 

Filling

2 cups cashews (soaked in water overnight and drained)
1/3 cup granulated stevia
1/3 cup almond milk
2 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 coconut oil

Blend until smooth, scraping down sides as required. 
Divide in two

 

Mango Layer

1/2 the filling mix
3/4 cup mango cubes
2 tsp Lacuma powder
1 Tbsp Lime juice
1/8 tsp tumeric powder (optional for yellow colour)

 Blend until smooth

 

Maqui Layer

1/2 the Filling mix
1/4 cup blueberries
2 tsp PSF Maqui Powder


Blend until smooth 

Layer the Mango and Maqui layers on top of the 6 bases as desired

Place back in the freezer overnight to set. 

Store in the freezer

Allow to thaw for 15 minutes prior to consuming.


 

 


Maqui Smoothie Bowl

(Serves 1)

 

Ingredients:

1/3 cup oats
1 scoop vanilla protein powder (optional)
2 Tbsp PSF chia seeds
1 Tbsp Psyllium husk powder
2 tsp PSF Maqui Powder
1/2 cup frozen blueberries
1 cup coconut water
1 tsp granulated stevia OR 1Tbsp PSF Coconut Sugar (more to taste) 
Handful of ice

 

Blend chia seeds until powdered
Add all other ingredients and blend until smooth
Top with kiwi, strawberries, blueberries and deluxe caramelised buckinis