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Project 2: Food Photography

For my final reflection of this year, I will be posting reflections of my projects, and all of the things I have completed over this year. Secondly, I have Project 2: Food Photography.


The goal of my project changed to having most of my recipes done, many of my pictures taken, and more of my book designed than originally anticipated. It turns out that taking pictures and baking/developing recipes takes a lot more time than it seems. Sometimes I would have to do multiple trials for the same recipe, which is very time consuming. Additionally, by the time I finished all of my research on food photography, I had already tested most of the things for my book, and was not able to take pictures. This means I am going to have to go back and take pictures for all of the recipes previously developed. However, graphic design is easy and accessible from school (once I got through all of the school set barriers which also set me back). This meant I could put more focus on this when I actually had designated time to do so. By the mid-end of this section, I realized there was no possible way for one person to get all of this done with going to school every day as well as all of my other responsibilities, so I toned it down to be more realistic for what I have time for.

Use of Kaplan Objectives

Language of Discipline- I already knew language was going to be such an important part of this book, and this section just emphasized it more. While meeting with Ms. Buis, she explained that language is the most important thing in a book. Besides pretty pictures, the words are what brings people in. When your writing is easy to understand, and personable (either through humor, emotion, storytelling, etc.), people are much more likely to enjoy your books. I made sure to take this into account when writing out the recipes, both ingredients and instructions. I would add little things, such as “2 oz unsweetened chocolate, chopped” to emphasize and make sure it was clear to the reader what they were supposed to be using/doing. I also decided to include a section on the beginning of the book with baker terminology so readers can have a much easier time figuring out what things mean. This will include definitions for beat, cream, whip, prepare, etc.

Trends- I did many observations on the continuity of photography and style of books that helped me a lot with planning. I realized there were trends within my own thoughts about my book. As I was observing cookbooks, I found that all of the ones that I was drawn to the most had very vibrant yet pastel (I would consider as happy) colors. They also were more simplistic than others, giving a very clean feel. I realized I was drawn to this, and used that when drafting other things. I also used this in my food photography, picking out platting that reinforce this, and having clear and concise backgrounds.


Very early in to this project, I realized that I was trying to do way to much, and it was simply unrealistic to complete everything ideally that should be done in the time I had before I left for Israel. Oh, did I mention I got into a study abroad program in Israel?! Very exciting, but also very much messed up my schedule. It was incredibly unrealistic for me to finish all of my recipes, take all of my pictures, and start to format the book. I was working during all of school, and then baking at home, leaving me no time to study for my other classes, pack, and simply have fun. The biggest challenge of all, was admitting this to myself, and trying to find a way to work around it. It ended up with me trying to get as much done as I could, and hope that I could get some done in Israel (news flash: I didn't get any done in Israel, but that is next project me's problem.)

Worked Examples

As food photography was originally the main focus of this class, I set up an interview with Nathan Zucker, and amazing food photographer (he also photographs concerts, including Hozier, who is one of my favorites). I was incredibly lucky to have this opportunity, so I got everything out of it that I could. To start, I wrote a list of questions I intended to ask. I did get to as all, along with the questions that came to mind while speaking. The interview lasted about 30 minutes, and I learned so much about how to take good pictures of good food.

Here are a few of the tips I learned:

  1. Use natural lighting

  2. Use the thirds rule

  3. An iPhone is perfectly fine to take pictures on if you know how to do it right

  4. Incorporate fun shapes and colors (plates, cutlery, garnish)

  5. Take so many pictures in all different ways, you can always delete them

With all of this being said, I would never consider myself a professional, but it really did help. It feels only right to show some of the results. Below I am going to attach 2 sets of images, 1 from before I learned these skills, and 1 from after. While there are some minor differences in the actual food, the way it is portrayed changes everything about it.



Ending Thoughts

By the end of this project, I finished all of my recipes, had some of my pictures, and had looked at formatting options for the future book. While it is not what I originally had planned, I am pretty proud of what I was able to get done. Additionally, I know the skills I learned in this section, from learning to take pictures, to how to create a google calendar to improve my time management skills will benefit me much in the future. One other valuable lesson I learned, was that nothing bad comes from asking. It took a lot for me to ask for the interview, but what was the worst thing that was going to happen, they would say no! I emailed a blog owner, telling her how much I loved her cookbook cover, asking if I could draw inspiration from it. She emailed me back within 5 minutes, and said absolutely! I loved getting to see how these skills were applied in the real workplace, and how I could use these in the real workplace. I saw a lot of personal growth in this section, which I am very proud of.

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