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Picture This…

We all read them, or at least look at them; those beautiful “food porn” blogs that look like pages from a magazine. There are perfectly pith-less curls of citrus peel strewn elegantly about, and it appears that some of these folks have approximately 16 sets of dishes, glassware and silver as well as assorted French Provincial, Tahitian bamboo and vintage embroidered place mats and tablecloths. They are so beautiful, and so intimidating, and honestly, at some point I decided just to give up on taking pictures of my finished dishes. The camera moved, the light was wrong, dishes that actually looked good in my kitchen ended up looking curiously as if they were all piles of cook lentils, brownish-greenish and indistinct. I am usually cooking dinner as…dinner, too, which means that the willingness of my family to wait whilst I whisk away a perfect plate, set up lights and a tripod, and try to get the perfect shot is pretty much nonexistent.


I have been told recently by two trusted readers that I really should include pictures, and that I should try to make them good ones. My old friend Eric from, Lordy, Middle School, said I might want to include pictures of finished dishes, and pointed out that people often decide to make a recipe based on a photograph of the finished dish in a cook book or magazine, and I know that’s true because I often make decisions on that basis. Claudia, from cook eat Fret also suggested in a recent conversation that if I stepped up my game in terms of photos, I might be more successful in attracting readers. They are both right, but I am afraid.

I am making a resolution to take pictures as often as I can, and to try to use a tripod, learn the settings on my camera, and go where the light is best in the house. I guess I’ll just let the starving hordes go ahead and eat while I fiddle. Perhaps, now that garage sale season is upon us, I will snap up some fabulous looking platery, cutlery and napery and pretend that we don;t really eat off of white plates with Oneida forks. Bear with me; I love to write, and I love to cook, but I am not very good at taking pictures.


About imagineannie

I feel like I'm fifteen - does that count? I'm lots of things, I get paid to be the Managing Editor for a local news publication, and I love my job. I am also inordinately fond of reading, animals (I have four), elephants, owls, hedgehogs writing, tramping in the woods, cooking India, Ireland, England, avocado toast, Sherlock Holmes, Harry Potter, Little Women, Fun Home, Lumber Janes, Fangirl, magic, Neil Gaiman, Jane Austen, YA books, not YA books, classical music, Salinger (OMG SALINGER), Brahms, key lime pie, indie music, podcasts, sleeping in, road trips, marmalade, museums, bookstores, the Oxford comma, BBC, The Miss Fisher Mysteries, birdwatching, seashells, kombucha, and stickers. Not a huge fan of chewing gum, jazz, trucker hats or dystopian and/or post-apolcalyptic fiction (but I'll try anything).

5 responses »

  1. Dear Ann,
    Photography may not be your core strength, but it’s part of your complete blog “recipe”. I am reminded of my dear friend Dr. B-a gifted prosthodontist. She works miracles with people’s teeth, but still has to deal with the nasty insurance companies, vendors etc to keep her practice running. You wouldn’t want to leave out a key ingredient in a great recipe (reminds me of a cheese cake bake-off against our dear H.S. French teacher-she forgot the vanilla and had to stir it into her pie halfway throught the baking process–and STILL won–the judges were fellow students and biased, in my humble opinion). Anyway, you’ll get better and better at it and might inspire some great presentation ideas–you can’t taste or smell a picture, but you can Imagine Annie! EW

  2. Interesting observation, Eric; the thing I have hated most about practicing law all these years is the schedule/deadline/paper shuffling/if you don’t follow procedure your client is dead to us stuff. Law was probably not a great choice for one with, shall we say, my artistic temperment. You’re right though; if I want to play with the big boys, I’ve got to give it everything I’ve got, even if that involves learning shutter speeds.

  3. i almost always shoot on my white dishes. i almost always shoot at night. i din’t use a flash. i DO use a tripod and have an SLR camera which enables me to leave the shitter open for a long time – i leave it in my kitchen. i know very little about photograohy. i use google’s picassa – and the ‘i’m feeling lucky’ button saves my ass consistently. i have a $2000 adope cs3 photo shop program that i got from cary that i NEVER use because i am totally clueless. it is on my computer and it is a mystery.

    my point is this. find what works and redo it over and over. a flash is the kiss of death on food. daytime is always better but – we live real lives… hence the need for the tripod. oh and i leave my camera on the same setting all the time and just adjust the F stop for depth of field. i shot with a 50mm lens which means i have to be at least 18 inches away from the food – but thank god for cropping capabiities.

    i think it’s all about doing better. and doing what you can within your limitations. i have oh so many of those – but i just soldier on…

  4. Take the pictures of your family eating the delicious food. Show them eating with enthusiasm. Live action shots are always good. Eric suggested I look in at your site. You know Eric, Jan’s son? He says you went to school with him. Since he has a wonderful Mother, I will believe him. You should give him a cookbook. I know he would cook for his Mom.

    🙂 Mari

  5. Oh claudia, you’re right as always – plus it turns out we have a tripod which I didn’t even know we have, and I use Picasa for my “regular” pictures, the photos of family, trips, sporting stuff…non-food. I am going to take pictures of my newly arrived lemons today, and see how it goes. Thanks, as always, for pushing me in the right direction. (You bossy New Yorker).

    Mari, thanks so much for coming! Yes, Eric gets credit, and yes, I have known him since 6th grade. Good suggestion about the family pictures, although I’ll have to catch them before they inhale it all….


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