Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Is It Impossible to Photograph the Tastiest Food?

DSC_0003Or to put it another way, is comfort food homely? I know it's homey. But I get nothing but blurry, boring photos of my most soothing, nourishing dishes.
So, in honor of Rachael's funny post today of horrid phood photos, I will follow up my post yesterday (of my mom's brilliant watercolor of food) with this roundup of some of my own bloopers.
Above, you are looking at potatoes done in a nouvelle Japanese style, from my old dog-eared Moosewood cookbook. The potatoes are boiled in chunks, then finished in a skillet with a mouthwatering mix of sake, shoyu and butter. Yrrngghh! (Translation: ♥)DCP_0463 But ugly!
OK, now this is a wonderful stuffed sugarpie pumpkin (the filling is made from rice and mushrooms and walnuts and onions and I forget what all, because it's a year old. Yes, the camera I used in those days was of the inferior variety, but still. I mean. Hello, focus?)DCP_0629
All righty, now. Fourth of July. Marin Sun Farms grass-fed double-cut rib eye. Gorgeous piece of meat. Ba-a-ad picture. (Folks, that "sharpening" tool on your image editing app will only give you eye-shattering shards of light and harsh outlines. It cannot fix the focus.) Good steak, though. Photo Hosted at
Finally, here you have my turkey-tortilla casserole made with my dad's homegrown Hungarian peppers. (For you less-frequent visitors, Cranky and I cooked a second Thanksgiving dinner after we returned from visiting the folks, so it's not totally salmonella'd.) It was so rico-suave. And it's even in focus. But not a great pic.


sailu said...

See beyond the pics..:)
I want to eat that stuffed pumpkin..its looking cute and yummy.
One can never forgot those starting days.
I just started out with my own food blog a little less than a month ago and use my mobile cam to take the pics of the food I cook...:)

cookiecrumb said...

Hello, Sailu. Thanks for the comment.
Everyone: Can you believe how international this food blogging has become? Fabboo... I love it.

Kalyn said...

Personally I think soup is hard to take good photos of. The photos add a whole new dimension of deciding what to cook. Sometimes I have a recipe in mind for the blog and then think, how will I ever get a good photo of that? I guess the solution is just to cook some things for the pleasure of eating them, even if they aren't very photogenic.

Monkey Gland said...

I usually take a picture of the ingredients if I think the final product is going to be a bit dull.

Jennifer Maiser said...

Cookie, I know exactly what you mean. Some of my best dishes would make terrible terrible photos. Hello? Short ribs and stews? Ick.

Kalyn, I will try to remember to post this on food blog s'cool, but your comment reminded me that I get the best results with soups and spaghetti (scroll down) and such when I only put a little tiny bit on a plate and shoot that.

(cookie - sorry to usurp your thread and turn it into a lesson!)

Jennifer said...

Rico-sauve. HA! You are sooo funny.

I agree with you about the sharpening tool - quite often useless.

cookiecrumb said...

Thanks everyone. It's all a learning process, isn't it? Sailu is just getting going. Kalyn is (teehee) letting the bloggability of a dish get in the way of her menu choices. (No, she's not.) Monkey Gland has a very good plan, for people who bother to, uh -- plan! Jen Maiser has a super idea, and I'm going to Sears and buy a set of toy china just for that. Novato Jennifer is already a super photog, what the heck.

drbiggles said...

You bet comfort food is tough. This is why I take photos all the way though and usually don't show a plated image.
Using stark white bowls, plates and platters helps a bit though. Oh, and plastic farm animals always a plus. Hmmm, yeah. Props!

As far as sharpening goes, it seems to depend. I've got an old image editing program I use on tough jobs, Micrografx Picture Publisher. It's got this un-sharpening mask that is adjustable from 1 to 100%, in 1% increments. This way you can just give it a little nudge. Instead of Photoshops mallet of sharpening, no adjustments. LAME. Although you can get plugins that apparently do world-class sharpening and junk. But who wants to spend 300 dollars on a dumb plugin when all you need is a 110 dollar tripod.


cookiecrumb said...

Biggles: I'm with you on the plastic barnyard animals. It's on my Christmas list.
Buy why does a tripod need to cost that much? I saw one at Ritz for $39. (I will probably want one that can telescope way down to dinky-short...)
(My word verification thingie is "duknte." Isn't today Duke Cunningham's birthday? /snark)

b'gina said...

If you didn't say those were potatoes, I'd have taken them for cubes of pork cooked in some succulent Asian sauce. It's all in the captioning. :G: