I’m off to South Carolina to cover the Family Circle Cup for BetterTV (go here to see a bunch of my Better segments), so I thought I’d make Kendrick’s “new favorite” dish for dinner tonight. I made a whole bunch of Chicken Vesuvio, because I want him to not starve over the next couple of days. This time, I used a couple of suggestions sent in by reader Heather: I dredged the chicken pieces in flour first (to make them brown nicely and to give the sauce a bit more body), and I used semi-thinly sliced white potatoes.
Now, I’m hardly an authority on food photography…but I’m trying to get better, and I found Andrew Scrivani’s New York Times article unbelievably informative (thanks to reader Alana for sending on the link!). When I took the above photo, I tried to use all of his suggestions. Let’s take ‘em one at a time:
1. Shoot in natural light whenever possible. I couldn’t shoot in natural light (it was nighttime), but I did turn off the flash.
2. Fill your frame with the food. I tried to minimize the empty space in the shot, filling the frame with the food (and a touch of the plate, which I think is pretty – it’s Kate Spade, from our wedding registry).
3. Set up your frame with the same care you might apply to dressing yourself for a night out. I did my best to arrange the plate carefully, loading much less onto it than Kendrick wanted to eat (I added about three more heaping scoops immediately after the photo was taken, much to his delight). I don’t like salad much (save for this one and this one), but I put some on the plate for color’s sake.
4. For bright and sunny days…soften the level of brightness [using a white card or paper]. N/A (nighttime), but I did place the plate on a neutral-colored tablecloth because Scrivani advises that “neutral colors like white or tan will help reflect light back on your subject.”
5. When shooting in low light, move the food to the brightest part of the room. Done! I put the plate on our dining room table, right next to our brightest lamp (which I set off to the left so that the food was side-lit, as Scrivani advises).
(I’d also add one more tip: I’ve found that the more complex the plate, the more it behooves you to photograph it directly from above; simpler plates often look better from a low side angle.)
So…is the photo better than usual? Any other suggestions?