I admit to being the type of person who buys cookbooks based solely on how pretty the photos are. A beautifully executed shot of blackberry cobbler covered in ice cream? That’s not just fruit and sugar, my friends. To me, that is the joy of summer and family vacations gone-by wrapped up in a single mouthwatering image.
For the month of July, see if you can capture your own beautiful food shots. Keep in mind that you don’t have to personally cook the food that you photograph. Bring your camera to the local farmer’s market, bakery, or ice cream store to find your own inspiration. Or consider this your excuse to track down the perfect summer cocktail. You can call it research.
When setting up a food shot, remember that presentation counts. This means you’ll want to pay close attention to lighting, background, and the colors and composition of your subject—just like you would with any other portrait. I recommend photographing with natural light if at all possible. Also, note that we don’t need to be able to see the whole dish in the photo. Focusing on a single detail, color, or interesting texture can sometime be more evocative than a whole plate of food.
For more advice on photographing food, it’s worth reading The Serious Eats Guide to Food Photography, which covers some of the issues with good lighting without assuming that you have a whole lighting studio at your disposal. You can also find some handy tips for setting up your shot over at the Digital Photography School website (Be sure to check out some of the articles recommended in the Further Reading section at the end).
To participate in the July Photo Challenge, simply upload your image to either the PET Subscriber Gallery or the Elements Village Gallery between July 1st and August 1st. Remember that photos should be taken within the challenge month. Please be sure to place the phrase “Photo-Challenge” exactly as shown (without the quotes) in the Keywords field if uploading to the Elements Village Gallery, or in the Caption field if uploading to the PET Gallery. If you’re having trouble figuring out the process, check out our Contests page, which offers more detailed instructions, as well as screenshots.