Slow Cooker Sunday: Special Edition – Food Styling with Ren Behan

by mediocremum on 09/12/2012

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I find it very difficult to make brown gloop look appetizing!  The lovely Ren Behan, a friend and local food blogger, kindly invited me around her house for a session on Food Styling.  I had no idea there was actually such a thing.  Apparently, there are people who do this for a living!  They travel around to different food shoots with a van full of props.  I’ve still got a long way to go but I learned a few things.

Tips for Food Bloggers

  1. Get a decent camera!  Everyone had digital SLRs and there was me with my iPhone.  I got a bit lost when they started talking decimal points and aperture.  However, after the session I came home and found a couple of apps that can help make your photos look like they were taken with an SLR camera.  The first which I’ve been using for awhile is Camera Plus and the new one I down loaded is called Afterfocus.  It allows you to choose the area you would like to focus on then blur the background also known as Bokeh.
  2. Natural light is a must.  This is difficult as we often eat late and it being winter in the UK there isn’t a lot of natural light.  The trick is to set aside a portion and take a photo in the morning.
  3. When presenting food, apparently, less is more.  I’ve had a bad habit of taking photos of it in the slow cooker, which didn’t result in appetizing photos.
  4. Props!  Don’t go out and buy 6 full dinner sets but buy the odd plate, bowls, and cutlery.  Charity shops and places like Matalan are brilliant for this.  Also, start collecting pieces of fabric that you can use to add interest/colour to your photos.
  5. Get a collection of wooden boards.  Look for offcuts at your local DIY store.
  6. When presenting food use odd numbers.  (E.g.  1, 3, 5, 7)

I’ve only been applying these tricks for a week but I’ve already seen a big improvement in the quality of my photos.

Thanks Ren

Now it’s your turn to share your Slow Cooker recipes using the Linky below.  We’re also on Pinterest if you want to see the recipes from past weeks.  The hashtag for Instagram and Twitter is #scsunday

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{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

1 mamacook December 9, 2012 at 9:05 am

Thank you for the tips. I do try and photograph in natural light but I agree, it’s so difficult this time of year. I will try the tip of holding back a portion but if I’m honest, I cook first and foremost to eat and for my family to eat! I also hate photographing cold food that’s meant to be hot, I always think you can tell!

So I might not totally adopt the natural light thing, at least for now but I will start looking around for the charity shop goodies and wooden offcuts. Although my photo I’ve linked is nowhere near perfect, I took the photo against my wooden floor! I’m terrible though for not adding context to my shots and interest so I promise to try!!!

Thank you for the tips!


2 Ren Behan December 9, 2012 at 12:46 pm

Thank you so much Chrissie for the lovely mention and great write up. Just a few simple tips but I am glad some of them helped. You will start to notice and difference and don’t be afraid to add larger images now!

In terms of shooting the next day, as mentioned, I do keep a portion aside sometimes and shoot the next day, but it is re-heated, so shot warm, AND I always eat the food for an early lunch! So that’s just a little tip if there is extra food and if you have time the next day. You can also buy such a thing as a day light bulb but I haven’t tried one of those. Could work though – better than yellow light.



3 Ren Behan December 9, 2012 at 12:48 pm

PS Loving the fresh basil on the rice dish, too, looks nice next to the brightness of the eggs!


4 Ren Behan December 9, 2012 at 12:48 pm

PPS Lovely to see the kife and fork, white napkin, wine, sauce in the shot, too.


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