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Food Shots

Foodies, they’re everywhere!

Travelers in search of food and drink seem to have multiplied like rabbits in recent years, especially throughout Italy and France.

Lunch in Montmartre

I might even have been a Foodie myself if I hadn’t been gassed with chlorine a couple times during industrial chemical spills years ago. That experience really does a number on a person’s ability to smell and taste. Don’t get me wrong. I enjoy the heck out of a great meal, but food isn’t the main reason I take a trip.

A traveler soon learns that every country has its strengths. Sometimes food isn’t one of them. As an Australian friend once told me long ago. “Hell has German police, Italian government, French engineers and English cooks.” However much his joke may still apply, Heaven surely has cooks from France and Italy.

Dinner in Vienna

Even though my senses may not be up to true Foodie levels, I enjoy photographing food as a way to enhance the best memories from places I’ve been. So, food presentation is something I notice. Not effete plate paintings, where two ounces of alleged food is spread across an eighteen inch diameter ceramic canvas, but real food arranged on an inviting table in a way that makes your mouth water.

With a few simple tricks and a little practice, I was able to achieve my Food Shot goal of more, and more delightful, travel memories. Here are the three main things I think about for food pix:

Friends Snacking in Nurnburg

  • Shift the View. Like a Christmas Tree or a movie star, your plate has a Best Side. Turn it until you’ve found that side, then shoot from an angle lower than your eyes would be while sitting in your chair. This brings out more of the food’s texture.    
  • Avoid Distraction. Make your shot from a point where most things not food are out of frame. Move things around a bit if needed, and don’t let ugly things poke into the edges of your shot. Include a glass or piece of silverware or leave it out, but don’t let part of an object pull your eye away from the food.
  • Add a Fun Reaction. Take a few shots of the food itself. Then move back to include the reaction of someone important to you. Tell them, “Have some fun!” Given this encouragement, most people will light up with a great, natural expression and make a clever gesture or two. Be ready! Doing it over can look as phony as it is.

Dessert in Verona

Whenever you make a Food Shot indoors, try to rest your camera or your elbows on the back of a chair to avoid a blurry shot from the low light. Also, if your camera has the option, you might want to set the color to ‘Vivid’ and the mode to match the light on the food (Daylight, Cloudy, Flash or Incandescent).

One of the great things about Food Shots is the other travel memories that come alive when you see the images months or years later – memories you might otherwise have lost.

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