Apple, Almond and Cinnamon Cake – Food photography

 

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If you love apples this delicious cake is for you. I love the look of this cake. The recipe comes from The Dessert Spoon. Stephanie has so many delicious baked goods on her blog. Her latest creation is a Lemon and Rosewater Sponge Cake. I’m hoping to inspire the baker in my house to bake this one too.

 

© Copyright Beth Walsh Photography. All rights reserved.

 

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Apples – Still Life Photography

 

I shot these two images while doing some food photography. I was trying some compositions with separate ingredients. During processing, I decided that I liked them better as still life images and converted to black and white. The 1st image is a random grouping of apples. I cloned one apple out of this grouping. Can you tell? It would have been easier to adjust the composition and take another shot but unfortunately I did not see it and moved on to the next composition with a bowl.

 

© Copyright Beth Walsh Photography. All rights reserved.

 

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The green apples are one solid colour so I had to use the lighting to provide the necessary contrast. Because there was not enough sunlight in the kitchen that day I bounced a single light off the ceiling. This did present some issues with the highlights. However the main highlights are still from sunlight through the windows. I curved the image to create a more contrast on the apples themselves and then lightened the background to provide more contrast. I shot these wide open because I wanted most of the apples and background out of focus.

 

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This blog is about my learning to be a better photographer and not just about sharing one image of my best work. At times, I’m sharing numerous images and asking for feedback and you are definitely responding. I want thank everyone who has taken the time to give me such wonderful and constructive feedback on my images. I also want to give a shout out to Noeline Smith of Noeline Smith Photography who has been especially generous with her constructive and helpful comments. Because I could not say it better I am going to quote Noeline from one of her comments on my last post “Nature covered in Ice and Raindrops – BW“…

“The benefit of varying opinions is that seeing other people’s views helps to refine our own and our understanding of what we do/don’t like and where we want our photography to go”

 

So please if you do have an opinion on what works or doesn’t work or what you think would improve the image, let me know. I appreciate all of your varying opinions.

 

Cranberry Shortbread Cookies – Food Photography

 

© Copyright Beth Walsh Photography. All rights reserved.

 

We made 2 batches of these cookies. One for Christmas that were enjoyed by family and friends. And a second batch so I could photograph the process and record the recipe for next Christmas. The recipe is from Baking in the ‘Burg and was so good it didn’t need any tweaking. I love shortbread cookies at Christmas and this recipe was perfect and very well received.

 

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Cranberry Shortbread from Baking in the ‘Burg

 

makes 48+ cookies

 

1 cup butter, room temperature
1 cup icing sugar, sifted
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup dried cranberries

 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

 

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With an electric or stand mixer, beat butter, sugar, vanilla, and salt until smooth. With mixer on low-speed, add flour, mixing just until a dough forms. Stir in cranberries.

 

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Divide dough in half; place each half on a piece plastic wrap. Gently roll each into a 1 1/2-inch-diameter log. It will be about 12 inches long. Wrap tightly in the plastic wrap, and refrigerate until firm, 1 to 1 1/2 hours.

 

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Unwrap logs; with a serrated knife, slice dough 1/4 inch thick.

 

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Arrange slices, about 1 inch apart, on baking sheets. Bake until lightly golden around the edges, 6 to 8 minutes.

 

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Cool on baking sheets 1 to 2 minutes; transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

 

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And here is the final result, delicious, tender, buttery shortbread. We will definitely make them again next Christmas!

 

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A super helpful tip from Baking in the ‘Burg for storing a log of cookie dough in the fridge or freezer. Put it in an empty paper towel roll that you’ve cut down the middle. It helps to keep the round shape and prevents the flat side you might get after it rests for a while. We missed this tip when we were doing our batches this year but hopefully will remember to do this next year. Click on the link if you would like to see the picture that goes along with this tip. 🙂

 

My Latest Adventure With Food Photography – Red Pepper Soup

 

© Copyright Beth Walsh Photography. All rights reserved.

 

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When red peppers are fresh and plentiful in the fall, we often make a soup with them. I shot the photos of the process while my husband, the chef of this household was making the soup. And more recently I took the first and last images of the finished product.

 

I started to look for props during the summer. I had read a few articles by food photographers who shot in their own studios. They had fairly large inventory of dishware but only one or two pieces of a set. After viewing various food photography blogs, I had a good idea of what I was looking for. It is really amazing what you can find at local thrift and consignment shops. I found some real treasures and added a number of things to my kitchen that I thought would look good in my food photography shots.

 

 

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This is a learning experience for me and as I mentioned I took the shots of the process when my husband was cooking. This was very disruptive for the both of us. In the future I think I will try to take a few photos of the ingredients before and separately from shooting the process or final product. I don’t know what can be done to improve the shooting during the cooking. I fear that I will continue to be a nuisance for my husband at times.

 

It was a time-consuming process setting up the first and last shots of the final product. I set up all the props before adding the food. But it was still a race to get the shot before the food was worse for wear. I can only image what it is like to shoot ice cream under hot lights. I found myself making constant changes to the presentation even after I thought I was set up. Between the lighting, preparation and presentation of the food, this type of photography has been the most challenging yet.

 

I hope you will let me know what you think of this effort. Any words of advice with the shooting, presentations or final pics are always appreciated.

 

Tarts from Le Moulin de Provence – Byward Market

© Copyright Beth Walsh Photography. All rights reserved.

 

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I love to eat and take pictures of food but cooking or baking is not a strength of mine. However, a side benefit of following a number of really good food photography blogs is that I can share a lot of new and delicious looking recipes with my husband who is the chef at my house or with my daughter who also loves to cook and works in a bakery too.

 

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The ByWard Market is a wonderful place to take pictures. It has bakeries, restaurants, pubs, boutiques, artisans and a local farmers’ market. Le Moulin de Provence is a bakery in the Byward Market. I bought blueberry and Lemon tarts as well as a few other pastries that were eaten before I could photograph them.

 

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Maple Leaf cookies are prominently displayed alongside photos of President Obama. If you look closely at the top photo of the bakery, you will see a picture of President Obama and staff from the bakery hanging on the wall.

 

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I thought that these tarts could be served to company and so I set out the good china. I took this picture at different depths of field. Because the background is very busy and the dishes have an eye catching pattern, I think that I like the image with the shallow depth of field better. I think the saying “less is more” applies to this image, in that there are too many dishes in back ground competing with the tarts. Also the presentation of the lemon in the bowl could definitely be improved upon.

 

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I changed to a neutral dish which worked well with a tighter focus on the tarts and of course, added some colour to the last picture.

This is a very new endeavour for me, so I am very open and appreciative of any constructive feedback on these images. I absorbed and hopefully used the helpful advice that I received on my first efforts, when sorting and processing these images. Some things I will keep in mind for the next time I set up a food photography shoot. So don’t be shy, let me know what you think.

 

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Because I photographed these tarts over a number of sessions while I learned how to set things up. I had to put the tarts in the freezer which meant when they came out the blueberries had frost on them. I took pictures of them frosted and when the frost melted. I liked them best with frost.

 

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A Starting Place for Food Photography

 

© Copyright Beth Walsh Photography. All rights reserved.

 

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I am enjoying discovering food photography. How can something that looks so easy be so challenging on so many fronts? These two images of my son’s favourite chocolate chip cookies were taken last June. For various reasons I do not process many of my images right away. I think it really helps to take some time especially when learning something new. As you gain some knowledge you are better able to judge your efforts.

Not used to shooting inside I had to play around a lot with my set up. I used natural light from a window and a reflector. The 1st and last images are cropped and I had to adjust the white balance. I have a long way to go but I wanted to share these early efforts. Kind of like setting a starting point where I can look back to access my progress.

 

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The last image is a cropped version of the image above. Let me know if you have a preference. I thought I liked the cropped version best and now, I am not so sure.

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Yellow Peony and Fruit

 

These images are a combination of flower, food and still life photography. It started with a peony that I brought in because the rain was pummelling it into the ground. Then I wanted to experiment with food photography but also include the peony. So I was working with the colours green, yellow and red. Hence, the limes, grapes, cherries and lemons. In the first still life I liked the lighting and the colours. After another search of the fridge I added the grapes. I did another simple arrangement then added the peony and more loose fruit. I think I would have liked it better without the loose fruit but for some reason I didn’t take that shot before I changed the still life.

 

These photos were about learning to set up with props and using indoor lighting. I used natural light from a window as well as one light with a diffuser. I was also experimenting with my depth of field (DOF). I read that most food photography is done with a shallow focus between f 3.5 and f 5.6 and most of these are, with the one exception. In the second peony still life everything is in focus because it was shot at f 11. Setting up your props and lighting can be very challenging but also lots of fun.

 

© Copyright Beth Walsh Photography. All rights reserved.

 

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Banana Cinnamon Buns for Father’s Day Brunch

 

Today for Father’s Day we had my parents over for brunch and my husband made a very delicious batch of Banana Cinnamon Buns. So after everyone left I decided to photograph the leftovers.

Creating a good composition requires you to make several decisions. The first is camera angle – the angle from which you choose to shoot the subject.

What do you think is the most common camera angle used in food photography?

It’s typically between 45 to 60 degrees which is also the normal viewing angle for food. Food at this angle looks pretty boring.

So what is the best camera angle to use?

Well that depends on the type of food and how food is staged. The angle of choice depends on lot of different things.

The best advice my first photography teacher gave me was to explore my subject from as many different angles as possible. You have to work and explore your subject to find what makes it look beautiful.

 

© Copyright Beth Walsh Photography. All rights reserved.

 

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My husband has given me his adapted version of this recipe from Bon Eats.

Proof Yeast by mixing the following and waiting for 10 minutes:

2 ¼ teaspoons active dry yeast
½ cup milk (I use skim without a problem, heated to 105 to 115°F, warm but hot)
2 tablespoons light brown sugar

Mix together the following:

2 cups bread or all-purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon salt
2 large overripe bananas, mashed
¼ cup butter, melted and cooled slightly

Mix either by hand or in a bread maker on the dough setting, the dough ball should be light and springy to touch and tacky to touch. Either follow the directions for the bread machine or knead for about 10 minutes and then let rise for about an hour or until double in size. Punch down and let rest for 5 minutes and then roll out into a 12 x 10 inch rectangle.

For the filling Blend together and then spread on the rolled out dough then sprinkle the raisins and walnuts on top:

½ cup packed light brown sugar
2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ cup butter, room temperature
½ cup raisins
½ cup walnuts slightly crushed

Roll up, slice into 12 even slices and place inside a 9 inch pan and let rise. I let mine rise overnight (if you do then cover with plastic wrap) in the refrigerator so that they are good to go in the morning. Bake at 375C for about 25 minutes.

While it is cooling cover with the glaze:

Zest and juice from ½ lemon and add icing sugar until thickened

Lemons – Food Photography

 

I have been interested in trying food photography. I love lemons because they are used to make some of my favourite foods like lemon cake, lemon tarte, lemon and cranberry scones, lemon and blueberry muffins, lemon meringue pie and lemonade. In fact, I don’t know of any food made with lemons that I don’t like. I had a large bowl of lemons in my kitchen waiting to be made into my favourite foods so it seemed like a great food to photograph.

When researching food photography, I learned that the first thing you should do is familiarize yourself with outstanding food photos. Understanding what are beautiful food photos is the very first step in improving your food photos.

Below are some food photographers who have been consistently producing great food photos. Their styles are unique:

Matt Armendariz
Penny De Los Santos
Aran Goyoaga
Lara Ferroni
Beatrice Peltre
Helene Dujardin
Teri Campbell
Katie Quinn Davies

Luckily, this list was already compiled in the 1st Day of a series called 30 Days to Better Food Photos . If you are interested in making better photos I highly recommend that you study their photos. I thoroughly enjoyed this exercise and felt that I learned from the experience. I spent today shooting more food photography and yes, there were lemons involved. But I had a better idea of what I wanted to achieve at the end of the day and I hope you will see real improvement in my next post of food photography. So stay tuned…there will be more.

 

© Copyright Beth Walsh Photography. All rights reserved.

 

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