I'm a lousy food photographer. Crappy. Stunningly lame.
I work at it, and one parameter at a time, I'm chipping away at the skills it takes to get good food pix. I'm not even going to make a list of what those p-words are. I'd forget something crucial, like focus or composition or...
Actually, lighting is parameter Number One. In the dead of winter, I'm not about to go schlepping plates outside to get a good natural-light shot. There is no good light, and there is, at the moment, no furniture out there to place dishes on. I'm too creaky to crouch down on a frosty, leafy patio (and boy, would the food cool off fast out there).
Incidentally, I've come to the reluctant conclusion that the plummeting temperature of my food, as I jiggle and angle and zoom and pray, should not be an issue of paramount consideration for a food blogger. What's more important: the food or the blog? (If you answered "the food," you are wrong.) Even so, cooled-off food just doesn't look as good; congealed grease is less pretty than melty grease. Word.
Ah. So there are considerations. Many.
But back to lighting. I was finally persuaded by one of my photography mentors to buy a cheap shop lamp with a 100-watt bulb. Two such rigs would be better, says my mentor, but I'm cheaper than a cheap shop lamp, and for now I have just the one.
Here's your pictorial lesson: 100-watt bulb on top; automatic camera flash on the bottom. Both pictures are crudtacular, and I did as much editing on them as I could without turning them into totally faux, Technicolor Harryhausen outtakes. The composition on the top is perhaps better than the other mess, but I confess I cropped it some. I couldn't figure out how to crop the other mess. (And what is it about using flash that makes you want to just aim the lens down onto your plate? Ew.)
In case you are perplexed by the psychedelic nature of the mashed potatoes atop the meat-vegetable mixture, by the way, I will tell you we used pink potatoes. Yep, pink skins and pink flesh. Tasty as heck, but really spooky on a cottage pie photo.
And yet. Look: Much more successful focus on the 100-watt shot. Scary, explosive glare and strange scatter-shot focus on the flash shot. Better color on the 100-watt shot. Blown-out, utter "braaack" on the flash shot.
I'm not going to tell you never to use your flash again, but you've been enlightened.
Now, excuse me. I've got other parameters to work on.