Thursday, March 14, 2013

Let's Talk About Foodtography!

I (try to) maintain five blogs. Aside from this, I have a travel blog (which I surely need to update again), a personal blog, a blog I share with my sister, and a food blog. I am not a popular blogger, but among these five blogs, I have to say it is the food blog - Tara, Let's Eat! - that has the most visitors.

Now that Internet is part of one's necessities, it has become a practice for companies to tap bloggers into attending their events to help spread the word. Of course, bloggers have all the right to say their own opinions - bad and good, and even if I don't receive that much invitations (compared to some of the bloggers I meet at different events), I sure am blessed to not only receive invitations, but receive some goods in exchange of my honest opinion.

Here on my photoblog, I noticed I don't share that much food pictures, maybe because I focused on the food blog to be the haven of my foodtography. For these post, allow me to share pictures from the food events I attended from February of this year, along with several foodtography blahbbies.

Manang's Chicken

Manang's Chicken - SM North EDSA
08 February 2013

I received a voucher from Manang's Chicken (one of my current favorite Filipino-owned fast food places) to try their newest offering, and I was truly impressed at how good their food is. This very lean cut of pork looked dry, but it was really tender and flavorful.

My style: Whenever I am presented with plated rice meal, I always take a picture of the rice behind the viand, but if I end up using a picture with the rice in front, I'd make sure it will show more of the viand and less of the rice.

Bizu Catering

The Sweetest Thing (A Valentine's Picnic Dinner) - Rockwell Tent, Makati
14 February 2013

Oh lookie... I got to celebrate Valentine's Day this year! :)

Challenge: Taking a picture on low-light environments

My Style: As much as possible, I want to showcase everything on the plate. It doesn't mean I have to focus on everything, sometimes I partly hide certain elements in the image. I don't know if I photograph this one well, but I decided to turn my plate so that the fish is at the front and the beef behind, because if I place the fish at the back, the color will blend with the white plate and would make it more unnoticeable. Since the beef is dark, it is still seen even if it's not the focal point.

At times, distancing my camera away from my subject won't create a depth of field. Editing this image, I made a selection around the plate so I could blur the cluttered table.

Pasta a la Carlo

Figaro Fort Pointe Opening Day - Bonifacio Global City, Taguig
18 February 2013

For the opening of Figaro at Fort Pointe, I was given the privilege to choose whatever food I wanted to eat. My first choice was this pasta, and I was happy I made a great choice this time, as I always end up having bad choices whenever I eat out. This tasted good, but I gotta say, my favorite Figaro pasta will always be their Aglio Olio.

My Style: I love, love, love taking food pictures real close to the point that my camera lens are already a few millimeters close to touching the food. On this particular food trip, our table was quite low that if I take pictures of my food at the plate level, it will show the legs of some customers on the background - something I don't like. As much as possible, I try to avoid unnecessary clutter in my images, especially the arms, elbow, legs, and feet (before I didn't mind, but when I attended an event and I was seated next to a culinary magazine's associate editor, she mentioned how she loathed having someone else's hand or elbow on her food pictures). This often causes for me to have little arguments with my family - whoever is in front of me because I would always ask them to move a little so my camera won't capture parts of their body. If it's really unavoidable - like when I take pictures of drink and my brother or mother is right smack in front of me, I'd then use several props, such as the restaurant's menu as my background.

French Macarons

French Macarons from Max's Corner Bakery
18 February 2013

Max's Restaurant hosted a movie screening, and part of their giveaway was this set of French Macarons.

My Style: I often experiment with photography, but whenever I take pictures of cookies and pastry bars, I try to stack them to achieve height. Doing that technique with these macarons was a bit tricky because I had to make sure I show each of the colors. Of all the macarons, the brown one looked the most appealing as it shows the merengue and the filling, so I placed it at the top and aimed my camera looking down.

Banana Hearts Salad

Culinary Dialogue with Glenda Barretto - The Maya Kitchen
23 February 2013

I love attending the featured cooking classes at The Maya Kitchen because not only do I get to learn new recipes, I also get to pick tips and tricks from the featured chef.

My Style: Whenever there are two plates of the same food, I try to use the other as the background. Sometimes it helps, sometimes it doesn't. For this image, I went for the usual style when photographing food - with the camera at the top looking down. To create contrast, I rotated the plate behind so that the prawn's tail would be opposite of the plate in front. Although, I admit I should've moved the top plate a little to the right.

Beef Stromboli

Food Tasting Event at Ristorante Bigoli - Eastwood City, Libis
28 February 2013

Ristorante Bigoli is my choice whenever I want good yet affordable Italian food, so when a blogger friend asked me if I could join this intimate (meaning only a few bloggers were asked to join) food tasting event, I immediately said yes.

My Style: I always try to show the restaurant's name on the plate whenever possible.

Foodgasm (Take a Second Bite)

Foodgasm (Take a Second Bite) - Mercato Centrale, Bonifacio Global City
09 March 2013

Foodgasm is an event showcasing up and coming food businesses in a friendly taste-off. Attendees line up to get samples from each of the concessionaires, taste their food, and rate them. I wasn't able to finish the program, but I did my part of rating each of the samples and choose the one which gave me a foodgasmic experience. I sure had problems taking pictures because of the low light environment, added with blue toned lights that seemed to affect the look of the food.

My Style: Upping the ISO of my camera result in noise, so even under low-lit environments, I still take pictures of the food and rely on GIMP to help me achieve the look I wanted. Thanks to the "curves" tool, I was able to control the lightness of the image - making it appear less dark. Yes, I do use GIMP to edit my images, but use less of it on food photography... but as you know every rule has exception - this, being it.

Bistek Tagalog

Flourish Pilipinas Media Launch - Crowne Plaza Hotel, Ortigas
13 March 2013

Yesterday, I attended the media launch of Flourish Pilipinas, a competition spearheaded by Universal Robina Corporation (Flour Division) and the Department of Tourism to help promote the flour / bread / pastry industry in the Philippines. At the event, we were served lunch and we had Bistek Tagalog (beef steak) for the main course.

My Style: If it is my food, I usually arrange some elements to achieve the image I want to produce. When this was served to me, one of the onion rings was already on the plate (not on top of the beef) and the green bean was behind the cauliflower.

I will be the first to say that I am not a great photographer...but I am very much willing to learn. With my food blog as the one with the highest visitor count, it is only normal for me to strive more so I could show good images. Part of the perks for attending events is the free food, but one of the things I love attending events is the possibility of me learning something new from my fellow bloggers. I can't afford to attend a photography class and my camera is not recommended (most classes I see often requires participants to own a DSLR camera), so during food events, I also try to interact with fellow bloggers - sometimes check the way they capture an image and learn from it.

Photography is an endless learning process, for sure.
Care to share some photography tips? It will be a great help.

Loves on a Thursday Little by Little