Picture this scene: You're just digging into your restaurant meal, the wine is flowing and the ambiance is perfect - and then, bam! Your dining companion swats away your hand, scolding you for touching the appetizer before she could take a photo.
Sound familiar? The trend of photographing one's food, brought about in large part by apps like Instagram, can seem obnoxious on many levels. But Mark Hill, director of photography at Turner Broadcasting Systems Inc., says it's all about preserving memories.
"Meals are special times for people ... the picture of the food is a representation of that moment," he said. "Food is very fleeting in our lives. It's on our plate and 20 minutes later it's gone and we have an empty dish."
Those meals become even more special when they are being enjoyed while traveling. Looking back on a photo of a meal eaten overseas can conjure up the sights, sounds, scents and tastes of the trip.
This spring, chef and author Anthony Bourdain will take his adventure-seeking appetite - and CNN viewers - along on a journey of cultures and cuisine from around the world on his new show, "Parts Unknown."
Editor's note: The Southern Foodways Alliance delves deep in the history, tradition, heroes and plain old deliciousness of Southern food. Today's contributor, Penny De Los Santos, is a senior contributing photographer to Saveur magazine and a contributing photographer to National Geographic magazine. We profiled her on Eatocracy back in 2010. Follow Penny on Twitter @pennydelossantos
I was editing a serious of images from a shoot I did in Minnesota, and I came across the frames in this post. It got me thinking about color and composition, about the elements of what really makes a great food photograph.
For me, it’s several elements:
Editor's Note: Mark Hill is Director of Photography for Turner Broadcasting System, Inc. He's very worth following on Instagram @photomark16
I read an article in the New York Times Dining section last week that filled me with dismay. Helene Stapinski wrote an intriguing piece discussing restaurants that ban photography because it’s a disruption of the dining experience.
Editor's Note: Mark Hill is Director of Photography for Turner Broadcasting System, Inc.
Although I have been in love with photography since I was 12, my first serious relationship with the subject began as a wide-eyed intern in New York City. A well-regarded food photographer took me under his wing and taught me all aspects of the craft, starting with a respect for the food that nourishes us.
For me, the key to good food photography is that whatever you are shooting needs to looks fresh from the kitchen. Not all food is inherently beautiful - a rack of ribs, for example - but if it appears fresh and hot out of the smoker, it will look appetizing.
The plate needs to be composed in the kitchen as carefully as you frame your camera. Look at how the food is plated. Ask yourself if the most important element is highlighted. If not, rotate the plate to make it more prominent. Does the garnish enhance the plate or distract? If it distracts, reduce or eliminate it all together. Don’t be afraid to move things around.
Here are a few tips that will really make food images their best. They all apply if using the fanciest digital single-lens reflex (DSLR) or mobile phone camera.
We're highlighting local and regional bloggers we think you ought to know about. We can’t be everywhere at once, so we look to these passionate eaters, cooks and writers to keep us tapped into every facet of the food world. Consider this a way to get to know a blog’s taste buds, because, well, you should.
5@5 is a daily, food-related list from chefs, writers, political pundits, musicians, actors, and all manner of opinionated people from around the globe.
Sometimes, all it takes is a mere photograph to elicit a rumble in the jungle and make us drool all over our keyboard - after all, the term “food porn” exists for a reason. And, one such man responsible for the aforementioned oogling is Michael Harlan Turkell.
Turkell is an award-winning photographer and photo editor of Edible Brooklyn and Edible Manhattan magazines. Along with documenting the unseen lives of chefs in his “BACK OF THE HOUSE” project, he also hosts a food- and art-centric internet radio show on Heritage Radio Network called THE FOOD SEEN, and photographed “The New Brooklyn Cookbook” and "Clinton St. Baking Company Cookbook."
Now, he's stepping away from the lens in order to share the photography pioneers that forever changed how we look at food - as well as offer his tips on making your own food photos especially drool-inducing.
Hot on the heels of a self-imposed emperor's new clothes-ing kicked off by their recent series of "zOMG, our sauce really does suck!" TV spots, the company has pledged to "photograph only real, honest-to-goodness pizzas," minus the services of food stylists, in their ads from here on out.
Sound like small potatoes? Take a peek at the behind-the-scenes video above, featuring a professional cheese strand-puller, a crust nailer and the 148 other hardworking ad folks it takes to make 30 seconds worth of pizza prettiness.
Or so they say. You buying it?
Can you take a sassy slice snap with one hand tied behind your aperture? Is it that hard to get food ready for its close-up? We're asking, so please sound off and share food photo advice in the comments below. We'll share our favorite responses in an upcoming post.
We're still recovering from jet lag and an unexpected overnight stranding in Denver. But, while we're cooking up our recap from last weekend's Food & Wine Classic in Aspen, enjoy these iPhone Hipstamatic snaps from the weekend.
So we've got this little, um, problem when it comes to the K&W Cafeteria chain. Namely that we want to inhale the entire menu, the whole meal costs about 12 cents, and the closest one is over 350 miles away from where we're sitting right now.
K&W features Southern staples and eccentricities like vegetable congeal, carrot and raisin ambrosia, unabashedly rich chicken & dumplings and, if you have room for it, the cream-topped, blueberry-drenched, obscenely moist blueberry cobbler pictured above. We were yanked back from the brink of a caloric death spiral by a friend's toddler who decided that most of this belonged on his face, but the bite we nabbed was knee-jellying.
Each weekday, Lick the Screen will showcase a food photo that sets our stomach rumbling. If you'd like your work to be featured, submit your pictures to the Eatocracy Flickr pool or leave a link in the comments. We'll get in touch if what we see makes us weak at the knees.
Sometimes you feel like a nut. Sometimes you feel a bit mixed up. On occasion, the twain will meet in a Chinatown candy store, in a riot of colors that make you suddenly realizes there are entire swaths of previously undiscovered holidays you ought to consider celebrating.
The aforementioned confectionary, Aji Ichiban, has also been known to vend individually wrapped cube of candied fish called "Tuna Cutes." One of those two words is accurate. Feel free just to go nuts.
See more of Rachel Been's food photography on her website.
Each weekday, Lick the Screen will showcase one food photo that sets our stomach rumbling. If you'd like your work to be featured, submit your pictures to the Eatocracy Flickr pool or leave a link in the comments. We'll get in touch if what we see makes us weak at the knees.