When I first got interested in taking food photograpgy, there were not all that many books to read to get you going. There was “Digital food photography” by Lou Manna and perhaps “Food Styling for Photographers”. Both great books, however now they both feel a bit dated. They were written at the time where weird substituents were used in place of difficult food (remember mashed potatoes instead of ice cream?) and shortcuts were used to get food to look its best (iron form grill marks?) was popular and broadly practiced.
Nowadays, we live in the world of food blogs, where regular people share online recipes for delicious dishes. It is a completely new trend, the demand for natural look, including simple styling, freshly and real looking food and mostly bright, natural light. As if the food just came out of the oven and was shot on the table next to kitchen window of the blog author. This requires new approach, and new books.
The market went form close to nothing to hard to choose almost overnight. Several great books came out, written with food bloggers and starting food photographers in mind. Each of them offers a unique perspective, one focuses more on photography, while the other would have more insides for propping and styling. But today, I want to start from one which seems to have a bit of all, very neatly and visually packed – “Focus on food photography for bloggers” by Matt Amerndariz.
What sold me on it when I took “Focus on food photography for bloggers” for the first time was how beautifully it was laid out. There are short paragraphs of well spaced text, with additional tips in different font, and at least a couple of pictures on each page. It makes a clean, minimalist even impression and is easy to scan, like a web site or a blog, rather than long lines of pure text filling a page and making you tired just from looking. With simple, direct language, and very practical approach, it makes for really easy read. Since I really enjoyed Matt style, I was done with the book in just a couple of afternoons- just could not put it away!
While “Focus on food photography for bloggers” might feel all that in depth compared to other books on the subject (what? only 195 pages in small format?), nothing is missing. There are chapters about basic camera stuff (aperture, shutter speed, tripod), light, composition, styling and props. There are lighting schemes and many, many examples for each tip. Just take a look at the few spreads from the book to get the idea what it is that I am talking about!
“Focus on food photography for bloggers” is great for both beginning photographers and beginning and intermediate food photographers. I certainly learn a lot, and I am sure you will, too.
UPDATE – you can read the interview with Matt about his photography and his book on David Lebovitz blog.
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