Julie Anne Rhodes
I wasn’t bad in front of the camera, but it was a running joke in my household that I was hopeless behind it. My first vacation with Nick I took a few rolls of film. None of the pics came out in focus, so he bought me an auto focus camera. Next holiday I took another roll of film, or so I thought. When I went to have the film developed it turns out there was none in the camera… oops! Nick then proudly presented me with a foolproof camera that told me when you “need film” or “need flash”, and things started looking up. Tatjana came along, and I quickly became a great family photographer. The trick? I learned to take hundreds of pictures to get a handful of great ones… a theory I applied to get this cool photo recently…

Sometimes the best photos happen by chance, so take lots

I’m still at the bottom of the learning curve when it comes to food photography, but I am slowly getting better as I learn from trial and error, and the tips that my heroes have shared along the way. My first major breakthrough came when I learned how to set my camera on macro.

Hallelujah for macro

While I save my “toads” for my dream camera equipment (I’m still using a point and shoot in a house that suffers desperately from lack of natural light), I am voraciously reading up on the subject. In fact my camera wish list comes directly from Smitten Kitchen. Their photos alone make me drool like a Tom and Jerry cartoon, and I found this article tremendously helpful. Here are a few of my other inspirations:

First up has to be my favorite food stylist Denise Vivaldo at Food Fanatics Unwashed. I assisted her in a master food styling class a couple years ago. Within five minutes I realized I could never be a food stylist (you need the patience of a saint). It was, however, mesmerizing to watch Denise and cohort Cindie in action. A bit like being Merlin’s apprentice with all the tricks, slight of hand, and magic it takes to make food look scintillating on camera.

Freshly torched and painted raw “roast” chickens


I highly recommend joining foodblogforumfor any foodie, but especially for food bloggers. This article by Jaden Hair of Steamy Kitchen really helped me get a better feel for food photography in action. A visual blow by blow lesson on “how to” and “why.”

Flip Cage

I also found this handy dandy tripod called a “flip cage” from the Gary Fong Store there. I of course opted for the pink. The mini tripod keeps the camera still while taking the shot, plus it’s not only portable, but doubles as protection for your camera.

Coming to grips with natural light thanks to Joy the Baker

I deliberately only look at the photos, not the recipes at Joy the Baker, because if the recipes are anywhere near as good as they look, I’d be doomed to shopping plus sizes for the rest of my life.

Tastespotting is great site for coming up with new set decoration ideas, because you can look at so many varying approaches at once and decide what works for you or not. And my latest inspiration came in the form of a book, Super Natural Every Day by Heidi Swanson of 101 cookbooks, given to me today by fellow personal chef Jesse Minor. The pictures are so colorful yet muted at the same time. I immediately hobbled home to check her blog out, and yes, the pictures there are breathtaking too. Thank you so much Jesse!

The budding photographer

I’ve got my work cut out for me to achieve anywhere near the likes of the accomplished stylist and photographers mentioned here, but I am looking forward to the challenge. Who are some of your favorite photographers, and what tips have you learned?
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