Saturday, September 25, 2010

Eat With Your Eyes! Part 1: Picking A Base

The author of Cooking Mama recently asked to see more about food photography and staging on Fro and a Fork.  Obviously I think that's a great idea since the presentation of food and great photos are components of a good food blog.  So...I've decided to write a series, Eat With Your Eyes! that will cover a different aspect of food photography and staging each week, cool huh?

Before I start, I provide you with a disclaimer. I'm not a professional photographer or stager, I'm a social scientist and econ nerd and this blog is for me to have a little fun, eat a lot of food,  and share that with my readers.  With that said, I'm going to tell you things that work for me and  Fro and a Fork.

For my first entry in this series I'm going to talk about the base of any great photos, literally.  I'm talking plates, bowls, cups, and cutlery.  Think about it, does a piece of chocolate cake look more appetizing on Styrofoam or on a crisp, square, white, porcelain plate?  Basically, the same thought put into cooking a dish should go into plating a dish.

Here's what I do, I usually get my plates from two places*.  The first is Target (pronounced tarjay), they have a great a great selection of colorful plates and cups under $5.   They are great if you want something that will pop! in a photo.  Here are some photos taken on my Target stuff:

The second place I go is the thrift store, yes...the thrift store.  I like going to the thrift stores because you find all sorts of unique finds from all decades, for super cheap.  For example, I scored these two plates for a mere 50 cents each at a thrift store in Raleigh.  Don't you think they add to the food and the photo?

Last Saturday, I hit my local Goodwill here in Arlington since most of my blogging supplies are packed away and in a warehouse until I depart for Caracas.  I spent about $20.00 and bought all of this:

Of all the unique items I found, my favorite little treasure is this plate:

I can't wait to make a birthday dessert and use it!  This brings me to another point--When you pick your "base" (plate, bowl, cup, cutlery) have an idea of how you plan to use it.  For example, I envisioned a cool gazpacho in this bowl:

And clearly, these cute little plates were made to hold biscuits, crepes, and scones.

Also, don't just stop plating with plates--be creative! I mean isn't that what food blogging is all about?  For example, who says soups have to go in a bowl? Why can't a cutting board become a platter (ie: the photo of my chips and salsa!)? And why not take a few photos in a cooking vessel?  And sometimes, why even plate? Sometimes a mouthful is just enough.  For example, spoons make ice cream seem more decadent...

...and a fork full of pasta can be more mouth watering than an entire plate.

Okay, that's all I've got regarding base picking--just remember be creative and unafraid to make mistakes...or have an obnoxious amount of flatware and dishes.  Remember, the point of plating is to make the food look more appetizing, as well as add to the artistic value of the photo you take for your blog.  With that said, hit your thrift store, your attic, and grandmas house--who knows what you will find!

Stay tuned for Eat With Your Eyes! Part 2: Set the Stage, Prop it Up...

*I also like getting plates, bowls, cups, and cutlery  from Crate and Barrel, Pottery Barn, and Williams Sonoma when they are on clearance.


  1. Awesome photography! The one with the pasta on the fork is so pretty! Thanks for giving me the shout out. I'm excited to keep up with this series. I need to make it out to some garage sales myself. Foodstylist . .ahem . .hubby has been gone a lot lately so when I have staged something to photograph I have to stumble through it myself. He's a perfectionist--I am not so my stuff looks "eeew" compared to his.


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