Sorry, Bob Dylan – you never wrote about food photographers, did you? Here is my problem Mr. Zimmerman. How many frames must one man shoot before he has the perfect food shot? Allow me to explain, while you strum your guitar
Food photography and eating the same food don’t go along very well. The finished dish is nice, steaming and appetizing the moment it comes out of the works. You want to eat it right then – except if it is a dessert that needs cooling, that is. But then your significant other runs a food blog (this blog, Bob Dylan) for which the dish must be first photographed. And no ordinary photograph it should be. The picture should be attractive enough to start your brain secreting grehlin and you behaving like how Obelix does when he sees wild boars (or Roman armies). Decorating the dish, ensuring the right sized and colored plates are used, throwing in appropriate props all go into making it possible for the final picture to make jaws go touch the floor. Most of the cooking in our house – except for weekends – happen in the evenings, which places an additional burden of ensuring that non-natural lights are correctly placed without having to pump up the ISO settings in your camera. And Bob Dylan, the food’s getting cold while all this is happening – can you imagine? You are with me, Bob, right? ‘cause I’m ain’t not done quite yet.
I never get the shot right the first time. Either I get the wrong angle, or I get the wrong focus or my excitement (and grehlin) has taken me so close to the food that the lens cannot focus. I take several shots, peering into the LCD after each to get a basic understanding of how it has turned up. I show the better ones to the owner of the blog almost in a show-off stance (or user acceptance-signoff if you are the software engineer type). Finally there are about five or six different shots of the dish, which if it were human would have dozed off to sleep by now. And as you are finally done, fix the lens cover back and unsling your camera – you cannot eat the dish, Dylan, not even if you are totally stoned.
This happened as recently as yesterday when significant other made heavenly Afghani Chicken Kebabs (recipe and post coming right up. Oh, mention of that dish woke you up Bob? I notice the livelier rhythm on the strings now). By the time I was done photographing them, the succulent pieces of tender meat had to be sent for another trip inside the microwave to put some life back in ‘em. Not that it tasted any different but you know Bob, the whole thing about freshly tapped beer in that East Village pub versus flat beer elsewhere?
How does one get over this problem, Bob Dylan? Is the answer blowin’ in the wind?
Post Script: Photographers who are much more evolved than I am in shooting food pictures (I feel ashamed to even stand next to them with respect to cooking) – like Nags and Finelychopped – you guys have any suggestions to help Bob Dylan and I solve this problem of life?