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Food Photography Tricks of the Trade

This past week has been full of FotoWeek D.C. events (photography, if you didn't guess from the name) and since it's a long trip I selected my areas of participation carefully. This past Wednesday I participated in a Food Photography Workshop hosted by Professor Dan Currier of the The Art Institute of Washington. The class was quite fun and Dan shared several tricks and methods with us that I think I should keep to myself... well, maybe I can share a few of my favorite notes. :-)

I learned this in college, but it was great to be reminded of some tools of the trade - an item that can make or break beverage drinks - fresh ice. The second you make a drink, you barely have seconds before the imagery of a fresh, cool drink looses it's image appeal. There's two main tricks to beverage photography, and it's using fake ice and ice powder. Trengove is the company that makes these props. They're pricey, but they last forever. I wasn't familiar with 'ice powder' - Dan explained that it's the flecks of ice that you might see on bottles of beer ads or as a slushy substitute.

If you go to Trengove's website, you'll see the introduction page has two succulent pieces of fruit. They are so gorgeous and though I do not eat either (cherries and black berries), I want to eat them. I wonder what was used for this fine finish (or maybe they're fake - Trengove sells resin fruit), but something that this image made me think of was a trick for grapes. Spray deodorant gives grapes a desirable frosty veneer.

I think a lot of photographer's know that often when you see images of meat, you know it's not really cooked too much. There's so many steps to make a hamburger look perfect for a shoot, for example. I thought it was really funny that poultry is not cooked (in fact, Dan said you keep it frozen). You should use shoe polish to give poultry that "just-out-of-the-roaster" look.

And the last little tid bit I want to leave you with is how to shoot ice cream. It makes so much sense but I'd never thought about it!!! Substitute ice cream with mashed potatoes or play dough. How cool?

Thanks to Dan again for sharing his knowledge with the group.


Below are a couple of food photos I took this past summer - I wanted to put together a family cook book (well, my favorite family recipes plus other's faves sort-of book) but it's on hold right now. I'm looking forward to picking it back up now.

Photography by Kelly HeckPhotography by Kelly Heck

Friday, November 13, 2009