Thursday, October 28, 2010

How to take food photos

So my talented sisters, Jenny and Kathy, have been making desserts and stuff and they asked for some tips on how to take photos of their food. I got all inspired as I was looking over some of my photos, I am also teaching a photo class as part of an elementary contest so I had to print out photos for those so here is goes.

1. Lighting- Natural lighting is the absolute best for shooting photos, especially food photos because you want your colors to look right. Indoor lighting usually has a yellow tinge to it, and your flash will blow all the detail out of your food. So, look around your house and outside and find a good spot for photos. I like to do them in my kitchen because in the morning the light reflects off my back wall and it makes for a soft light in the morning. In the afternoon I get full sun in the back window so it fills up my kitchen so I can take a photo not in the sun but still has enough ambient (light that is everywhere) light.

I took this photo in my kitchen and the light was not directly on them, but there was enough light in the room that I could still get the photo

 Example 2:
Notice the direct light. It is coming in through the window so I have the lines from my blinds. It also highlights my food and that gives it more contrast which can look really nice in your photo.

2. Macro setting: Most cameras have a macro setting. It is the little symbol that looks like a flower. This changes the settings on your camera so it will take photos at a closer level. Very important, when you are taking photos of food you do not have to show all of the food. Say you made 20 cupcakes, don't try to get all 20 cupcakes in the shot, arrange the cupcakes and get up close to a couple of them so that you get the detail of the cupcake and use your macro setting so it is in focus.

3. Aperature: So, you are taking a photo of your cupcake and you don't have a ton of light, that is fine. You can flip your settings to AP which is aperature priority then adjust it ( usually you have to spin a little wheel or press the circle that is your menu button) until you get to the smallest number it will go to. That is usually a 2.8. That will let the most light into your camera and then your camera should adjust the shutter speed in order for your shot to work.

Example: 3
- See my little chick. This is shot with a 2.8 aperature, notice how the chick in the background is out of focus, along with the chips? That is what happens with a low aperature it will focus on what is closest to you and the background will be fuzzy. GREAT TECHNIQUE!

4. Use your timer: nobody utilizes this feature enough. The timer is what you use when you want to get everyone in the shot. The camera takes 10-30 seconds and then goes off on its own. So, you have a photo and it is kind of dark in the room so the photo is going to take longer than 1/30 of a second to go off. Unless you have an amazing sense of control, set the camera down and use your timer. That way your shot won't come out fuzzy because you were moving. If you have a tripod that is even better, it is easier to set the camera on there and then get it positioned and use your timer. On youtube they have videos on how to make your own camera stand in case you need one and are short on funds.

5. Attention to detail: I don't do this too much because I am usually shooting at the last minute, but if you are taking photos of food, pay attention to a couple details. 1- what is in the background? Does it go with the food or is it just junk left over from baking? 2-If you have multiple of something then pick the best looking one for the photo. 3-colors, what are you serving it on? What is it sitting on? Think of textures and colors, that is what makes a professional shot. This can be shown by my example 1 and example 2 photos. Example 1, I had a low aperature so my background came out fuzzy but it still looks kind of junky, not super clean and professional. Example 2- Better, I kept with just blacks and whites so it looks more professional.

Ok- have fun with it. If you do any good ones, let me know. I would love to post some photos from other people on this section.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010


Ok, I don't know about the rest of you but I have never made my own biscuits before. I've just always bought the ones in the can that pop out and scare you. So on Sunday I made chicken soup and I thought, Oooo soup with biscuits sounds good. So I made biscuits on Monday and I was pretty impressed with how they came out. So here you go!


2 C flour
4 tsp. Baking powder
3 tsp. Sugar
1/2 tsp. Salt
1/2 C butter or shortening
1 egg
2/3 C milk

I used my food processor for this so I put all my dry ingredients into the bowl. I tried using half shortening and half butter but I think it would be better with all butter, but make sure it isn't warm and squishy because you want your mix to be crumby. So add slices of your butter into the dry ingredients then pulse it or use a fork to mix it in until it is a nice crumby texture.

Beat your egg with your milk and slowly add it to your mix, I like to use a fork to mix it while I pour.

Plop your dough out onto a floured surface. Don't go crazy on the flour. I think I put a little too much flour on mine. Knead your dough about 20 times. So that means, push down into the dough with both hands then kind of roll it back in, that counts as 1. Do that 20 times.

Now press your dough out and you can roll it a little with a rolling pin but you want it really thick. 3/4 inch is good, if you need, go get a ruler. Part of mine was like 1/2 inch and part was 3/4 inch. The 3/4 came out bigger and fluffier. Also, turn on your oven to 400 degrees.

Some fancy people have a biscuit cutter. I don't. So I used a glass that was about 2 1/2 inches wide, I dipped it in some flour and that worked great.

Place your biscuits on a greased cookie sheet. I had this cool sil mat so I didn't have to grease my pan. Once you cut all your circles out, you can roll up the dough, squish it a little then flatten it out again and cut out some more circles.

Alright, so pop those suckers in the oven and time it for 10 minutes. Check them to see if they are getting a little golden, don't cook them too long!

I like mine with butter and honey. Mmmmm

Saturday, October 16, 2010

New Flower design

I probably need to take a photo of this in my hair so you can see the ratio. These are my new large flowers. They are about the size of your hand if you cup it a little. I did a series of these to sell at the  hair salon that I have moved over to. I am super excited about the move. The other salon was a good starting point so I could figure stuff out but the new salon I have them in is established with a huge clientele so it has great foot traffic. This way I get to concentrate on a smaller number of flowers that are unique, instead of mass produced quantities that were way to hard to keep up with.

So if you are in Las Vegas and want to take a look or possibly buy one, they are at Cariloe hair salon that is on S. Eastern just a little north of pebble rd on the west side of the street. It is a beautiful salon and extremely up to date on all the newest hair styles so I love going there anyway.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Fix a hole

So yeah, probably a year ago I noticed a hole in Warren's shirt that looked like a cut with some scissors so I went out and bought this fusible interfacing and then stuck it somewhere and couldn't find it. Well a couple weeks ago Eleanor got a hold on some scissors and she cut a hole in two of her best shirts....Great. Luckily I found my packet of interfacing so I decided to pull that out and fix them today. I thought I would put it on here because some people don't know how to do this or that they even have that option.

Ok, so if you have a hole in some clothing and it is a smooth cut where the fabric can be matched up again, instead of sewing it or throwing it away you just need to buy some interfacing, which you can find at your nearest fabric store.
1. Put the shirt inside out.
2. Cut a piece of interfacing to fit over the cut with a little extra.

3. Place the side of the interfacing that has the little dots on it against the fabric.
4. Cover the area with a damp cloth. I like to use a handkerchief or a thin dish towel because it is thin so the heat will go through it well.
5. Place a hot iron over the area and leave for 10-15 seconds.
6. All done!

It is super easy, I was able to fix all three shirts in like 6 minutes, it was awesome.

Easy chicken pot pie

Hoo Yah Baby!! Doesn't that look good?

Alright so I have been making an effort to cook stuff that I can eat a couple nights in a row just kind of remade so it isn't really leftovers. So Monday I made potato soup, pretty easy if you haven't done it before. Quick steps:
1. peel and chop potatoes put in large pot, cover with water, bring to a boil then cover and simmer for about 20 minutes.
2. Chop one onion and some celery, put in saute pan with a little butter and saute until celery is soft.
3. drain potatoes, reserve water in a bowl and add celery and onion to potatoes.
4. Make a rue which is melting 2-3 tablespoons of butter then whisking in equal amount of flour then gradually adding milk while whisking, let it thicken and add more milk. Continue this until you get a good amount to go with your potatoes.
5. Add rue to potatoes, stir it in let that cook, if you need more liquid I add the water from the potatoes. Then I season with garlic powder, parsley, salt and pepper.

So we had potato soup on Monday night with some mixed vegetables. Tuesday I picked up a rotisserie chicken and chopped up the breast meat, put it in a bowl with my left over mixed vegetables, some potato soup and a can of cream of chicken soup. Stirred this all together and put it into 3 individual serving dishes. I bought frozen puff pastry from trader joes a long time ago so I pulled that out of the freezer, let it sit at room temperature for 10 minutes then used a pizza cutter to cut out circles that were a little bigger than my ramekin. The one in front I just placed the dough on top, the one in back I pushed it down, so don't push it down otherwise it comes out kind of flat. So we ate those for dinner and they were amazing! Tasted just like marie callender's pot pies. I had leftover dough so I brushed the top with an egg wash and put a table spoon of jam inside. we ate those before I could take a picture of them because they were so tasty.