Food Stories

Documentary shorts — unscripted — featuring farmers, artisans, and others

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The Art of Food Photography (video)

The pictures can be tantalizing. Some even cause us to stop and stare. Join us for a behind the scenes look at a food photographer and his team, as they create sumptuous images out of fresh ingredients that seem to jump off the page.

We’re surrounded by images through billboards, television, magazines, the internet…the list is long. And since food is a part of everyone’s life, in some form or another, many of those images are about food. Some are blah, some are tantalizing, and some go unnoticed. But the ones that do grab my eye make me wonder and I begin to dissect. Why did they choose that background, who designed the arrangement, how did get that cheese get to look so yummy, and the lighting, how was it lit? These questions lead me wondering exactly what is happening outside of that frame.

I visited a food photographer’s studio to find out for myself. And boy, was it an education.

ed gowan cherry tart pie onion tart

The day I spent at Ed Gowans Studio, he was doing a shoot for the Pear Bureau Northwest. In my naiveté, I thought everything was done by the photographer. Wrong. It’s a team effort. Besides the photographer there is a food stylist, or two, and the client pulled up her sleeves and was involved too. Each food item was prepared from scratch on site. Everyone put their 2 cents in. They took as much time as was needed for each shot, and then moved on to the next. It was a full day. Food that is prepared for filming purposes are not intended to be eaten. Food photography is one of the most difficult specialties of commercial photography, getting food to look just right on camera involves considerable skill and experience to get it right.

Ed Gowans with Client Christie Mather of the Northwest Pear Bureau Examining Image Monitor

I feel a kindred spirit with people like Ed and his team. They’re not just technicians, they’re artists. While there are so many images we are bombarded with daily, when it comes to images of stunning beauty, and artistry, there can never be enough!

Recipes from the show: Pear Bread; Ed’s Tangy Eggless Caesar Salad

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4 Comments

  1. DGrub says:

    This behind the scene look at food photography is amazing. So much work that goes on to take one shot. Here’s a related post for beginners in food photography at http://desigrub.com/2010/03/taking-studio-style-photos-on-your-kitchen-table-part1/

  2. Tricia says:

    I am the worst at photographing food. I’m happy to see that there is a lot that goes into it, and that I’m not just a bad photographer!

  3. rebecca says:

    Thanks, Jim.

    As much as I love to do these stories, they really only matter when they connect with an audience. I’m glad that you like them.

    Rebecca

  4. Jim Long says:

    Rebecca,

    You are a PHENOMENAL storyteller! Really, you stuff is SO watchable. Very, very smart TV.

    This particulare episode combines two of my passions!