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How to Take Pictures for Your Blog

So I cook a lot.  I knit a lot.  And I have a compulsion to write about both: but as a blog reader myself, I know that a good blog post is one with piccies in it, so I try to photograph everything.  I’m not a very good photographer: I have a great little camera my parents gave me for my birthday, and it compensates very generously for my general ineptitude.  But it can only go so far.  I have a few sneaky techniques in place in order to try to photograph things in such a way that they look interesting and appealing, so that my blog doesn’t become a wasteland of blurry, awkward photographs strung together by huge tracts of text.

Photographing my knitting generally involves me saying “I’ll do it when the sun’s out, maybe before work tomorrow”, and then completely forgetting to do so.  Then, after the sun has already gone down again and I remember I wanted to photograph my knitting, I get every lamp in the house (or, if I’m lazy, in the room) and point it at the knitting, taking half a dozen or so shots before the knitting starts to smoulder under the heat of all the lamps.  Mostly this works out okay.  If, through some sort of brainfart, I actually remember to take photos of my knitting while the sun is out, I usually drape said knitting over a convenient bush and snap away. Completely unoriginal, I accept.  But you don’t come to this blog to look at my exquisite photos, thank Christ.

For cooking, I’ll hurriedly push everything that I don’t want in the photo out of view; this includes mess, utensils, embarrassingly huge glasses of liquor and anything whose colours clash with the food I’m trying to photograph.  Usually, these things are only a few milimetres out of sight.  If things are really bad, I’ll drape a brightly coloured tea towel over the background and go for a rustic look.  Sneaky, eh?  I jump through a lot of hoops for my beloved public (hi Mum!).mystery-leeks-2.JPG

I really don’t think I’m very good at photographing food effectively, but I’m not sure it’s entirely my fault.  This shit ain’t easy.  I’m sure you’ve heard tales of deviant behaviours from food photographers in magazines and cookbooks (such as substituting ice cream for mashed potato, because it’s so perfectly airy and fluffy-looking, or substituting beetroot juice for raspberry coulis, that sort of thing), and I’m beginning to see why.  Take a look at this.   This dish was fantastic.  That’s chopped leeks, sauteed in garlic butter and white wine, then simmered with a little wholegrain mustard sauce, served over a bed of gruyere mashed potaotes.  Unbelievably delicious.  But then you see this photo: and you think ‘euw, I bet that’s cold and clammy and tastes of old cabbages’.  And I couldn’t blame you.

I was going to blog about M’s Crepes Suzettes, too, but the photos really are atrocious (it was late and we were drinking).  These Crepes were fantastic: light and crisp,crepes-3.JPG with caramelised brown sugar stuck to the edges, with the strong taste of the brandy and Cointreau we had used to flambe them.

And this is what my photo looks like:

Appealing, huh?  Yeah.  Man, that’s frustrating.  To know that I was enjoying piping hot Crepes Suzette and unable to convey their magnitude to you through my blog? Well, I guess I’ll get over it.

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