it’s self-improvement month on pmk!

guess who is really awesome at taking food photos.

i’ll give you a hint: if you guessed me, you are absolutely wrong.

lately, i’ve been perusing all kinds of awesome food blogs in all reaches of the blogosphere, and quite a few have left an impression on me.  some of the huge ones that have really inspired me are one man’s meat, cottage grove house, and simple provisions.  every time i read those blogs, i think “jeez, look at these pictures.  there is no way in heck i could take food photos that look that good.”

but today, i finally thought, “maybe it is time to try to take some food photos that do look that good.”

so i have declared this month the start of a new, beautiful trend.  i have declared this november to be self-improvement month on pmk.  i’m mind-numblingly poor, so self-improvement week sadly does not include activities like “buy a dslr” or “make my tiny one room apartment into a professional grade photography studio chock full of lights and choice camera tech.”  but it does include a few items that are going to make my photos a lot better and my life a little more difficult.

  1. stop cooking exclusively at night.  i rarely get the opporunity to take food photos using natural light because i bike to work twenty minutes after the sun comes up and i get back while the sun is going down.  so from now on, i have decided to wake up even earlier and start making nice meals in the morning.  i think the fresh morning sun is going to take my photos to a brand new level.  needless to say, i’m giddy with excitement (and a new opportunity for extreme sleep depravation).
  2. purchase an assortment of smaller/textured dishes.  i love solid colored dishes, and i have a few.  but lately i’ve been wanting a lot of matching, small, textured, or oddly shaped dishes.  i’ve been super into square plates lately, and i want to take my obsession to a new level.
  3. take better care of my camera and stop using the automatic settings.  i’m not sure if most people who read my blog know this, but i take all my photos with a three and a half year old underwater camera i bought off a friend for next to nothing.  and i love it.  but it gets dirty a lot, and i often forget to clean it, and i almost always leave it on the macro settings.  i don’t really know anything about white balance, shutter speed, zoom, or image quality.  stop wagging your finger at me, i know i’m a bad foodie.  but i’ll be better from now on, i promise.
  4. think about plating.  i spend a lot of time planning side dishes for my recipes.  i do my best to make cohesive, balanced meals whenever i can.  but i don’t really spend a lot of time thinking about plating until the food is done, and most of the time that seems to be too late to make it look nice.  time willing, i’ve resolved to sit down and plan how my meal will look as well as how it will taste from now on.
  5. bring out the peasant.  this is the big one.  i have resolved to take more outdoor food photos.  i live like a peasant and eat like a king, but i tend to do it indoors when photo taking time comes around.  yes, it is starting to get cold.  but that isn’t going to stop me.  i’m going to grill, make soup, plate delicious morsels in subzero weather, and do whatever else it takes to get some beautiful photos.

those are the main ones i could think of.  are there any tips/pieces of golden advice you think i should know?  are a few of the items on my list sorely mistaken or a recipe for food blogging disaster?  if you are an experienced, tried-and-true food blogger (and even if you aren’t), feel free to shoot me a comment or two.

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3 thoughts on “it’s self-improvement month on pmk!

  1. I honestly like your food blog pictures more than most food blogs, because yours look like food on a table to be eaten, as opposed to “matrix-style studio look” where they have the “before/after” with all the ingredients laid out like an art piece beforehand. Nobody does that before cooking. “Mise en place,” yes! But “poster for my hipster museum,” no! Keep it up. And maybe I’ll lend you another camera, haha.

    • thanks dude, i appreciate that a lot. i think you are totally right. i’m not planning on including props or any crazy stuff like that, i just want to get some nice plates and start using lighting that isn’t painfully yellow all the time.

      i think kappabashi-doori might have some stuff i’m looking for. awesome square japanese plates? i would be surprised if they don’t have them.

  2. I’ve heard of people getting their picture-taking plates at thrift stores. Literally, the cookbook event I went to a couple weeks ago, I talked to the author. His ladyfriend got them at Goodwill. Besides that, I had a much more intense foodie phase say, 3 years ago, complete with taking pictures of what I made. I read a tip to make a “white box” . Basically, you get some white cardboard or something and tape it into just one edge of a cube, white sides facing in. This reflects light back, even at night. I don’t have one, but I try to take photos on my white cutting boards and white stove. But then again, I also need to replace some bulbs in my kitchen…

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